Glimmerglass Opera

Lost in the Stars at Glimmerglass

KarliCadel-LostFinalDress-1765* Notes *
Lost in the Stars, composed by Kurt Weill with book and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, opened at the Glimmerglass Festival (Act I pictured left with Sean Panikkar as The Leader, photograph by Karli Cadel) on Sunday afternoon. This opera is based on South African author Alan Paton's novel Cry, the Beloved Country. Somehow the opera feels a little naive, the characters are not particularly nuanced. This co-production, directed by Tazewell Thompson, is with Cape Town Opera, where it was performed last November. Michael John Mitchell's set is clean and his costumes attractive.

The orchestra sounded spirited under the baton of John DeMain. The chorus was strong. Chrystal E. Williams sang a hilarious "Who'll Buy?" in Act I, and the list of fruits and vegetables were amusing to hear. Sean Panikkar (The Leader) sounded bright and powerful throughout the performance. Eric Owens convinced as Stephen Kumalo, though the role seems to sit a bit high in his range perhaps. He was very good about keeping the South African accent in his voice even whilst singing.

* Tattling * 
There was too much talking in the balcony when only the orchestra played. The audience appeared rather moved by the performance, however.

Armide at Glimmerglass

KarliCadel-ArmideFinal-9838* Notes *
The opening performance of Lully's Armide at the Glimmerglass Festival (Act I pictured left with Peggy Kriha Dye as Armide and Colin Ainsworth as Renaud, photograph by Karli Cadel) occurred last Saturday. The opera takes its plot from Torquato Tasso's epic poem La Gerusalemme liberata and shares several characters with Orlando furioso by Ariosto. The co-production here is with Opera Atelier, and was performed in Toronto last April with the much of the same cast and crew. Marshall Pynkoski's direction is ridiculously delightful, and Gerard Gauci's layered, flat set is charming. The jewel-toned silks and rich velvets Dora Rust D'Eye used in costuming look appropriately Baroque, as did the choreography from Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg.

David Fallis conducted a jaunty orchestra that did not overwhelm the singers. The chorus sang beautifully. Most of the principals were also perfectly fine. The physicality of the dancers and singers was impressive. João Fernandes (Hidraot) and Aaron Ferguson (Chevalier) were entertaining. Tenor Colin Ainsworth sounded bright and blustery as Renaud. Peggy Kriha Dye gave a vivid portrayal of Armide. Her rage and anger were particularly scintillating.

* Tattling * 
Artistic and General Director Francesca Zambello introduced herself to an assortment of young people milling about before going into the hall, and also addressed the whole audience before the music began.