May 03

Successful Marriage of Romantic Comedy Eras in “Figaro”

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Conducted by David Angus
Directed by Rosetta Cucci

April 28th – May 7th, 2017
John Hancock Hall
Back Bay Events Center
180 Berkley Street
Boston, MA 02116
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Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) A 1950’s-style screwball comedy proves its compatibility with a comic opera from 1786 in this brilliant production. It’s layered, creating the idea of a show-within-a-show as stage hands help along the action, feeling like Kiss Me Kate with Mozart as source material rather than Shakespeare. With the help of charming, self-aware direction from Rosetta Cucchi and conductor David Angus, the story of two servants who outwit the wandering eye of a less-than-noble nobleman feels universal, familiar, and luminescent.  Continue reading

Oct 03

“Carmen” Triumphs, Seduces, and Saddens

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© T Charles Erickson Photography; Carmen (Jennifer Johnson Cano) scrawls “love” on the chest of solider Joseph Yonaitis.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera and San Francisco Opera
Conducted by David Angus
Production by Calixto Bieto
Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

September 23 – October 2, 2016
Boston Opera House
539 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
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Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) So, okay, say you know this girl, right? More of a “broad,” maybe—flirts with the boys but won’t take shit from them, never lies to appease some dude’s ego, takes lovers and throws them away with ease. Say she gets in a tough situation—but it’s hard to say what’s tough for her, really, she’s not from a great background. But she’s in this situation, right? And it’s either go to prison or go home at the end of a long work day at the cigarette factory. So she flirts some with the poor, idiot small town officer that has her captive. Naïve guy, sweet enough. Continue reading

May 07

Hate the Player, Not the Game: DON GIOVANNI

Costume Designer Tilly Grimes, © T Charles Erickson Photography, Set Designer Laura Jellinek, Each ticket holder receives free admission to Rock’s Gun Show.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Conducted by David Angus
Stage Directed by Emma Griffin
Fight direction by Andrew Kenneth Moss
BLO Concertmaster: Sandra Kott
BLO Chorusmaster: Michelle Alexander

May 1 – 10, 2015
Boston Lyric Opera
The Shubert Theater
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Opera singers are gifts that keep on giving. Along with my usual attendance of BLO’s Don Giovanni, I had the pleasure of experiencing a bonus adventure the Friday evening before while out with my wife. She and I were supposed to be on a romantic date. We did not count on a cameo by a premier performer. I was to be well-compensated for my diverted attention. Continue reading

Oct 16

Fyre, Fyre Burning Bright: LA TRAVIATA

Photos by Eric Antoniou.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Conducted by Arthur Fagen
Stage directed by Chas Rader-Shieber
Assistant directed by Nathan Troup

Oct. 10 – 19, 2014
Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: Racism, Rape
Sung in Italian with English supertitles. There is one intermission.

(Boston, MA) There were many good things about BLO’s La Traviata. There were a few bad. Overall, it was a grand production.

A gentle disclaimer: Vocal technique will not be reviewed. Technique is highly personal. Reviewing it would be like reviewing hygenic habits: rude. Continue reading

Mar 17

Awareness is Key: RIGOLETTO

Michael Mayes as Rigoletto and Nadine Sierra as Gilda; Photo by Eric Antoniou for Boston Lyric Opera

Michael Mayes as Rigoletto and Nadine Sierra as Gilda; Photo by Eric Antoniou for Boston Lyric Opera

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Directed by Tomer Zvulun
Conducted by Christopher Franklin

March 14 – 23, 2014
Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
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Sung in Italian with projected supertitles in English. Performed in 2 “acts” with 1 intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) The vocals of BLO’s Rigoletto are simply stunning. In particular, Michael Mayes as the title character and Nadine Sierra (Gilda) were a treasure to hear and watch. Audrey Babcock (Maddalena) smolders! This vocals of the male chorus were powerful but difficult to watch. It appears that they can only emote when given specific direction to do so. The sumptuous costumes by Victoria Tzykun mostly made up for this. Conductor Christopher Franklin leads his orchestra with admirable humility and confidence. His reverence for Verdi is evident from his first step into the pit. Continue reading

Nov 26

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here: LIZZIE BORDEN

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Photo Credit: Eric Antoniou for Boston Lyric Opera © 2013. It’s all downhill from here.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Jack Beeson
Libretto by Kenward Elmslie
Based on a scenario by Richard Plant
Realized by Todd Bashore (orchestration) and John Conklin (dramaturgy)
Conducted by David Angus
Stage directed by Christopher Alden

November 20 – 24, 2013
Opera Annex: The Castle at Park Plaza
Boston, MA
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Sung in English with projected text (because the diction of the vocalists is excellent but the space eats sound like Cookie Monster eats a baker’s dozen).

(Boston) This is not an opera hoping to experience the heavenly glories of the human voice through song. Lizzie Borden is an impressive piece of theatre that will shock the pants off of audience members expecting traditional operatic fare. Beeson’s opera is beast heavy with repressed sexuality, anger and desperation. Although it was not an enjoyable production per se, the artists involved created a brilliant evening of artful music. Continue reading

Nov 13

BLO Opera Annex: “Lizzie Borden”


BOSTON LYRIC OPERA continues the 2013-14 season with its Opera Annex production of Jack Beeson’s riveting masterwork:

LIZZIE BORDEN

Sung in English with projected text
Based on a Scenario by Richard Plant
Composed by Jack Beeson
Libretto by Kenward Elmslie
Realized by Todd Bashore (orchestration) and John Conklin (dramaturgy)
Stage Directed by Christopher Alden
Conducted by David Angus

 

 

FOUR PERFORMANCES ONLY: November 20, 22, 23, 24, 2013
The Castle At Park Plaza
130 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
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BOSTON (November 6, 2013)—Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) continues its 2013-14 season with a production of Jack Beeson’s operatic masterpiece, Lizzie Borden, for BLO’s Opera Annex series, in a world premiere chamber version in seven scenes, specially commissioned by BLO and directed by the acclaimed Christopher Alden. Running four performances only, November 20-24, Beeson’s riveting opera captures the dramatic, claustrophobic family portrait based on the sensational Fall River, Massachusetts axe murders that gripped the nation in 1892.

Lizzie Andrew Borden was tried and acquitted in the 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts, but here has been controversy ever since about her guilt or innocence. In their opera, composer Jack Beeson and librettist Kenward Elmslie leave no doubt about her murderous culpability, while changing a few details of the well-known story for theatrical reasons. An older sister, Emma, becomes a younger sister, Margret. A suitor for Margret is created, the sea captain Jason McFarlane, and a psychologically convincing backstory for the stepmother, Abbie (her subservient and deeply resented role as a servant-nurse to the dying first Mrs. Borden, Lizzie’s mother) is developed. The Beeson piece was first performed in 1965 as a three act opera.