MMDG's L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato
June 01, 2009
* Notes *
The Mark Morris Dance Group just finished a run of L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato at Cal Performances. It seemed to be a success, the audience was entertained and amused. The dancing struck me, however, as sloppy. Many of the angles as far as arm and leg positions were not consistent on different dancers, and it did not help that the body types were so disparate. Even the running was not clean, at least one person tripped, though she recovered quickly and did not fall. The choreography itself seemed to prolong the music, and except for the very beginning, when everyone dashed around on stage, it was not surprising. Morris goes for all the cheap laughs, so naturally, simulated canine urination, spanking, and the like.
The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra lilted under the direction of Jane Glover. The woodwinds had some moments of imprecision, but the strings sounded fine. The chorus sounded beautiful and unsullied, in contrast to the soloists, all of whom had issues. Soprano Christine Brandes gasped and was shrill, though her last air was pretty. Soprano Lisa Saffer had too much vibrato at times, but did sing well for the most part. The tenor, Iain Paton, sounded as if he was running out of air, though his timbre was bright and lovely. James Maddalena's baritone was slightly shaky and thin.
* Tattling *
It seemed that everyone in attendance was having a grand time. There was quite a lot of talking and giggling, but no electronic noise.
For some reason, the lights were left on during the overture, but were turned off once the singing got underway. It was not possible to follow along with the libretto, but at least this meant less noise, as there was less incentive to leaf through the program.