* Notes *
Opera Boston's delightful production of The Bartered Bride opened yesterday at the Cutler Majestic. The setting of the opera was updated to Spillville, Iowa, just after the Great Depression. Most of the text was sung in an English translation, though some of the choral parts were in Czech, and somehow, this actually worked. The sets were simple, but inventive, involving many platforms that will pushed around by cast members and various flat objects hanging from the ceiling that could be raised or lowered to change a scene.
The costumes were attractive, except for Mařenka's, which just did not look like it fit the period. Perhaps it was the particular shade of green. The circus performers looked incredible, however. The clowns, acrobats, and dancers all looked great. Daniel Pelzig's staging was completely adorable without becoming cloying and the choreography was done quite well.
The orchestra sounded thoroughly rehearsed under Gil Rose, and played admirably, despite their rather small-scale. The singers, likewise, sounded very together. James Maddalena was a hilarious Kecal, and though his voice is a little thin, he did not miss a beat in his comic timing. Jennifer Aylmer also acted in the title-role quite excellently. Her voice is appealing except in her highest register, which is somewhat shrill. Patrick Miller's Opera Boston debut was hopeful, his Jeník was perfectly charming. His Act II aria was certainly a highlight of the evening.
* Tattling *
Watch alarms went off at each hour, and there was some talking in the audience.
"Grazing juicy bacon makers," from the first act trio, was perhaps the most amusing line of the opera.
October 23-27 2009: Tancredi
February 26- March 2 2010: Madame White Snake
April 30- May 4 2010: La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein
Ewa Podleś sings the title role in Tancredi and Stephanie Blythe is La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein.
October 17-21 2008: Der Freischütz
February 27- March 3 2009: The Nose
May 1-5 2009: The Bartered Bride
Opera Boston is certainly not following the herd next season.