* Notes *
Opera Parallèle has put together a double bill of Mahagonny Songspiel with Les mamelles de Tirésias at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Opera Parallèle has embedded the Poulenc between the second and third parts of the Weill. Director Brian Staufenbiel never lacks for ideas and connects the two pieces by setting them in an apocalyptic future, which looks distinctly like Steampunks at Burning Man. The main set piece is a boat on wheels (pictured above, photograph by Steve DiBartolomeo) that is pulled around the stage by the singers. The action includes quite a lot of choreography, especially for the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the OP Chorus, and the Resound Ensemble. The effect of all these elements together is disorienting and utterly surreal.
For opening performance on Friday, Artistic Director Nicole Paiement conducted the ensemble with characteristic poise. The orchestra sounded incredibly together and clean. The singing was exquisite. Aleksey Bogdanov, Hadleigh Adams, Daniel Cilli, and Thomas Glenn all made fine contributions. Gabriel Preisser was amusing as Le Mari in the Poulenc, his voice is pretty. Renée Rapier sang Betty in the Weill, and was haunting in "Alabama Song" with Rachel Schutz (Jessie). Schutz was most impressive as Tirésias/La cartomancienne. Her voice is so bright and elegant.
* Tattling *
The audience members were fairly quiet, though I did notice that the woman in Row E Seat 103 fussed with her purse a few times and also spoke to her neighbor about the cookware that appeared on stage.