Oct 25

“The Werewolf”: Supernatural Melodrama is Split Open to Reveal Howling Good Time

Photo credit: Sara Haugland; a werewolf, extra fluffy.

Presented by WholeTone Opera 
Based on Le Loup-Garou by Louise Bertin
Fresh Libretto by Teri Kowiak & J. Deschene
New Music by Molly Preston

October 20—31st
The Rockwell in Davis Sq, Somerville
255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
The Werewolf on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Davis Square, Somerville, MA) The Werewolf fooled me. Genuinely fooled me. I don’t know if that was its intention, but it did. It begins wholly in the realm of operatic convention. Alice (Jeila Irdmusa/Katie O’Reilly) wanders through the dark woods, possibly beset by something terrible. She meets her sisters, played by Nathalie Andrade, Elizabeth Clutts, Brooke Dircks, and Rebecca Wright, and they frolic. Then she encounters a handsome young man (played fantastically by Andy Troska through out the play) and they, well, also frolic, though in a much more suggestive way. Then we jump forward to Alice and her sisters preparing for her wedding, where Bertrand (Nick Stevens) reveals a werewolf (or loup-garou) is on the loose and the charming, flamboyant Vincent (Von Bringhurst/Nora Maynard) is referred to as a man of “unusual tastes,” everyone starts kissing each other, and the ethereal aura of the beginning collapses into a riotous comedy of errors with supernatural elements and a prominent queer subplot. Continue reading

Oct 03

Fair is Foul. Foul is Fair*: “Rev. 23: A Hellish, Farcical Opera”

Photo by Kathy Wittman; keep on rockin’ on, kids.

Presented by White Snake Projects
Creator and libretto by Cerise Lim Jacobs
Composed by Julian Wachner
Directed by Mark Streshinsky
Conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya
Dramaturgy by Cori Ellison
Choreography by Yury Yanowsky

Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2017
John Hancock Hall
Boston, MA
White Snake Projects on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”
Revelation 21:23Bible, New International Version  (NIV)

(Boston, MA) White Snake Projects is giving the BLO a run for their money. It’s my sincere hope that artists and their audience will watch the works of both companies but, if one has to choose, WSP may be the winner in the competition for attendees. Its edgy productions are worth the commitment. Continue reading

Jun 26

Give Me What I Deserve ‘Cause It’s My Right: FIDELIO

Photo credit: www.MattConti.com; impatient for reform, the prisoner ensemble takes some sun.

Presented by NEMPAC Opera Project
Opera by Ludwig van Beethoven
Libretto by Joseph von Sonnleithner
Artistic and stage direction by Rebecca Miller
Music direction and conducting by Dr. Tiffany Chang

June 22-25, 2017
Faneuil Hall
The Great Hall
Boston, MA
NEMPAC on Facebook

Sung in German with supertitles, dialogue in German for performer acting and audience comprehension compatibility.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Beethoven nails the human condition with his only opera. Fidelio is about the lengths we go to for those we love. Yet, Beethoven reminds us, it is unwise to underestimate the insecurities of the vengeful. NEMPAC’s production was a challenging joy. Continue reading

Mar 28

“Dangerous Liaisons” is Deliciously Dark

Photo by Dan Busler Photography — with Sam DeSoto, Melanie Bacaling and Andrew Miller.

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music by Conrad Susa and Libretto by Philip Littell
Directed by Greg Smucker
Music direction by Brendon Shapiro
Based on the scandalous 18th century novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.

March 24 – April 1, 2017
The Plaza Theatre at
The Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

Warning: Sexual content and statutory rape.

(Boston, MA) Sex, manipulation, treachery, and high society. There’s a reason the original French novel was mined for a cheesy ‘90’s film about rich, spoiled teenagers.  Continue reading

Jan 11

“Mirror” Immerses Audience in Both Moving Show and Modern Complexities of Womanhood

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Frauenliebe und –leben
Music by Robert Schumann
Text by Adelbert von Chamisso

From the Diary of Virginia Woolf
Music by Dominick Argento
Text from the diaries of Virginia Woolf
Directed by Greg Smucker & Patricia-Maria Weinmann

January 6-8, 2017
Longy School of Music of Bard College
Cambridge, MA
Boston Collaborative Opera on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Two portraits of women, written over a century apart. The first is an idealized character looking to not only marry, but be subsumed by her husband’s identity in a happy, storybook life. In German, she sings of having no desire beyond being this man’s wife. She is the heroine of Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Love and Life) from 1830, itself based on a series of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso. Two men filter the story of a fictional woman, a touching if pastel view of a girl coming of age. Carley DeFranco breathes life into this creature (also played by Susannah Thornton, Rhaea D’Aliesio, and Julia Cavallaro, depending on one’s tour of the Zabriskie House mansion where the show is staged) with a Disney-esque sweetness. Continue reading

Jan 03

Exploring BOC’s “Mirror: An Immersive Song Cycle Experience”

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music directed by Jean Anderson Collier, Patricia Au, Brendon Shapiro, Chelsea Whitaker
Stage directed by Patricia Weinmann, Greg Smucker

January 6-8, 2017
Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall (directions at bottom of page)
Longy School of Music of Bard College
27 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
BOC on Facebook
Twitter: @BostonOperaCollaborative

Preview by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) I love immersive theater when done well. I thought I’d take a moment to explore MIRROR, a one-weekend song cycle show based on Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben and Dominick Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. Continue reading

Feb 22

Short, Sweet, and Gory: “La Zombiata”


Presented by WholeTone Opera
Opera by Jillian Flexner
Based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi and Francesco Maria Piave.
Stage Director: J. Deschene
Music Director: Ian Garvie

February 12 – 14, 2016
Davis Square Theater
Somerville, MA
WholeTone Opera on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Somerville, MA) The few times I’ve been to an opera, I noted that if you took out a lot of the notes people sang, you would end up with a bloody, sexy tale. Being that I’m generally inclined for a bloody, sexy tale over a lot of notes, I daydreamed of a streamlined opera that didn’t take itself so seriously. (Have you gathered I don’t usually like opera?) 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
BLO on Facebook

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

Jan 30

That Which Makes Us Different Makes Us Beautiful: BREATH & IMAGINATION

Elijah Rock, Nehal Joshi and Harriet D. Foy Photo credit: Mike Ritter

Elijah Rock, Nehal Joshi and Harriet D. Foy
Photo credit: Mike Ritter

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Created/written by Daniel Beaty
Directed by David Dower
Music directed/accompanied/arranged/additional music by Jonathan Mastro

Jan 27 – Feb 08, 2015
Paramount Center Mainstage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Roland Hayes (School of Music) on Facebook, Wiki

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Black lives matter: Racism is alive and thriving everywhere. “But it’s 2015,” people will cry. Right, it’s 2015 and racism is still alive and thriving in Boston. To prove a point: check out which art makes the most money. For an institution greatly concerned with artistic expression, remaining significant in an ever modernizing world, and pushing boundaries, opera tends to steer clear of non-White people. Opera includes POCs in its casting but its stories are mostly about White people. Roland Hayes, first Black man to sing a concert at Symphony Hall would be an excellent subject for an opera.  Thank the great goodness that there’s Breath & Imagination to educate the masses. Continue reading

Oct 27

Bravo: “La Tragédie de Carmen”

Presented by the Boston University Fringe Festival
Adapted from Georges Bizet’s opera by Marius Constant, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Peter Brook
Stage Directed by Jim Petosa
Conductor: William Lumpkin

October 8 – 26, 2014
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210
264 Huntington Avenue
BU Fringe Festival on Facebook
CFA School of Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Opera might be opera, but you’ve never seen opera like this before. The Fringe festival’s production of La Tragédie de Carmen is a fresh, energetic take on Brook’s gritty adaptation of Bizet’s piece with exciting voices full of promise.

One of the exhilarating things about seeing students perform opera is that they are singing machines. Conservatory, as a general rule, makes from semi-trained talent lean, mean, professional instruments with clarity and utterly perfect precision. As such, performances by these students are chock full of those qualities, as well as an exuberance and boundless energy that is simply thrilling to watch. These students are hungry to perform, and this brings the stakes of their performances through the roof. Continue reading