* Notes *
Show Boat (Heidi Stober as Magnolia Hawks, Patricia Racette as Julie La Verne, Angela Renee Simpson as Queenie and Morris Robinson as Joe with chorus in Act I, Scene 2 pictured left; photograph by Cory Weaver) opened at San Francisco Opera today with a matinée performance. The production, directed by Francesca Zambello, is spectacular. Peter J. Davison's set must be characteristic of his style, employing many of the same devices as his Porgy and Bess as far as creating or changing scenes. The costumes are fetching and the choreography sharp. It is delightful to see the San Francisco Opera corps dancers looking so exuberant.
John DeMain does a wonderful job with the orchestra, and the music sounds fluent and natural. The chorus is mostly fine, though perhaps not precisely on the beat at the beginning of Act II. Harriet Harris is a funny Parthy. Bill Irwin is an elastic Cap'n Andy, his physical comedy is perfect for this role.
Though one may have been skeptical of Patricia Racette as Julie, as we have heard quite a lot of her this season, she is moving in this, and her vibrato is not bothersome. Angela Renée Simpson sings Queenie with verve, though she was a touch quiet in "Hey, Feller" in Act II. Morris Robinson is incredible as Joe, his dignified voice has such depth and power.
Michael Todd Simpson makes for an expressive Gaylord Ravenal. Heidi Stober's physicality is impressive, she plays the young Magnolia with sprightliness and is able to capture the maturity of an older woman as the piece progresses. Her accent may not be exact at all times, but her singing is lovely.
* Tattling *
Someone sitting on the back bench of the balcony had a noisy mobile phone.