* Notes *
San Francisco Conservatory Opera Program is currently presenting Argento's Postcard from Morocco. A co-production with Portland Opera, the set and costumes are entirely professional. The action takes place within a waiting room of a transit station, which has rows of chairs that are easily wheeled about. The concept behind the staging is inventive, though there were certain moments that did not quite make sense with the text. For example, in addition to their attributes, all of the characters have the same suitcases. This was especially confusing for A Man with Old Luggage, as he had both a rucksack meant to signify his old luggage, and the large off-white square piece of baggage exactly like everyone else's. The production matches the opera in being highly surreal, including a possessed slide projector.
Curt Pajer conducted a small orchestra that sounded clear and lively in Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall. The musicians occasionally overwhelmed a few of the singers. The playing for the "Souvenirs de Bayreuth" section of the opera was entertaining. The cast on Thursday night's performance was talented. Laura Arthur (A Lady with a Cake Box) and Sergey Khalikulov (A Man with a Cornet Case/A Puppetmaker) made fine contributions to the evening. Molly Wilson (A Lady with a Hand Mirror) and Mason Gates Neipp (A Man with Old Luggage) were particularly good in the operetta duet. Ellen Preseley impressed as A Foreign Singer. Daniel Cameron was a touch quiet as A Man with a Shoe Sample Kit, but his acting was strong. Woojeong Lee sounded bright as A Man with A Paint Box. His accent was obvious at times but his voice is rather pretty.
* Tattling *
The audience was restless during the instrumental section. A latecomer took a seat in Row L Seat 2, but switched seats at one point, placing herself directly in front of someone in Row J. Not only was the offender's underwear distressingly visible above her jeans, she deigned to talk to her friends in the row of her new seat.