* Notes *
Cal Performances presented Castleton Festival's The Rape of Lucretia this week. The opera itself struck me as highly contrived, even for an opera, framed by not one but two narrators. There was a lot of telling rather than showing. The production was not particularly illuminating, though it did have moments of beauty, especially the lighting of the scene in Lucretia's room. On the other hand, the use of flashlights at the beginning of Act II was obnoxiously blinding.
The cast featured a host of fresh, youthful voices. Marnie Breckenridge and Alison Tupay sang Lucia and Bianca clearly. Ekaterina Metlova's contralto was impressive, her low notes had such richness and her high ones soared. Her accent in English was noticable, however. Michael Rice was strong as Collatinus, as was Michael Weyandt as Junius. Matthew Worth (Tarquinius) was terrifying as the villain. "Within this frail crucible of light" was incandescent, and Arianna Zukerman sang the female chorus smoothly. Vale Rideout (male chorus) also sang well. The orchestra played steadily under Lorin Maazel, never overwhelming the singing.
* Tattling *
The backstage noise was distracting. Many stage directions were completely discernable from the audience.