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

Dec 15

Perfectly Charming Air Ship “Pirates of Penzance”

Presented by The MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
Produced and Directed by Emma Brown
Orchestra Directed by Johnnie Han

December 2-10, 2016
La Sala de Puerto Rico
Cambridge, MA
MITGSP on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) What is happiness? “Steampunk pirate opera” is an excellent answer.

This year, the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players opted for a pleasing, energetic performance of one of the best operettas of all time. The warmth and enthusiasm on display is heartening. Continue reading

May 31

La Donna è divertente!

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Looking fierce.

La Donna Improvvisata
Presented by ImprovBoston
Starring, improvised by Lisa Flanagan
Musical accompaniment by Mike Descouteaux

May 29, 2016 @11pm
Improv Boston
Cambridge, MA
La Donna on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MAMusical improv is a special permutation of improvisational comedy.   I think it appeals to people who both love comedy and have a lot of experience in listening to different genres of music.  I’ve certainly been subjected to short form musical improv in which the creation of mostly unrelated individual song-scenes  felt much longer than the allotted two minutes.  Stringing short song-scenes together into a long form musical improv set can be challenging even for mid-sized groups to tackle.  Musical abilities and frequently a pianist are required.  One supporting piece that can be useful is the addition of a premise.  In “La Donna Improvvisata,” Lisa Flanagan did a unique send-up of opera tropes entirely with the help of one accompanist on keyboard. Continue reading

Apr 19

Britten’s Opera is a “Dream”

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Presented Boston University College of Fine Arts
Benjamin Britten, composer & Peter Pears, librettist
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
William Lumpkin, conductor
Tara Faircloth, stage director

April 14–17th, 2016
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
BU Arts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) I enjoy myself most with adaptations of Shakespeare’s comedies when their sense of fun and lightness remain intact. The direction in Boston University Theatre’s production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream didn’t fail me. This vision is every bit the dream of the title. Fairies wear blue wigs and polka dot suits, columns of giant, white flowers are moved across the stage, Puck (Elizabeth Valenti) brings Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) her morning tea, and King Oberon (Wee-Kiat Chia) smugly points out his wife slept with an enchanted donkey-man (Joseph Hubbard) the night before. One scene flows into the next elegantly. For the most part, it’s a perfectly realized vision. 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

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

Nov 20

“Love Potion” Number Nine

Photos by Eric Antoniou, Boston Lyric Opera 2014.

Photos by Eric Antoniou, Boston Lyric Opera 2014.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Frank Martin
Based on Joseph Bédier’s 1900 novel Roman de Tristan et Iseut
New English translation by Hugh Macdonald
Stage Director David Schweizer
Conductor David Angus (Ryan Turner on Nov. 22)

November 19 – 23, 2014
Temple Ohabei Shalom
1187 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA
Boston Lyric Opera on Facebook

Of all the art forms out there, the slowest to adapt to the shifting sands of time is theatre. This is true for many reasons (how long it takes to produce a piece of theatre, how many fingers have to be in the theatre pie, and how many minds have to be shifted about the fundamental precepts of the art form just to name a few…). Some might call this a devotion to tradition; theatre (after all) does have a long and vibrant history to honor at every step of the production process. Others might call it a weakness which, Darwineanly, will be the very demise of the art form if it doesn’t find some way to evolve. 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

Oct 23

Not your Momma’s Mozart: “The Magic Flute”

Created by the Isango Ensemble
Adapted and Directed by Mark Dornford-May
Music Arrangement by Pauline Malefane and Mandisi Dyantyis
Based on the opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Emanuel Schikaneder
Presented by Eric Abraham and ArtsEmerson

October 21 – 26th
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont street, Boston
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Isango Ensemble on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Dispense with any ideas you might have about corseted Victorian Opera when you walk into the Culter Majestic to see The Magic Flute. This modern (perhaps even post-modern) adaptation of a classic piece of canon receives energetic, vivacious, and absolutely infectious treatment from its cast of boundless performers. This is absolutely not your momma’s Mozart. Continue reading

Jun 17

OperaHub Announces: DER VAMPYR

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OperaHub Announces June 2014 Show:

Heinrich Marschner’s

DER VAMPYR

in a new English-language adaptation
Boston’s “opera punks” say, “Bite me!”

Librettist: John J King
Stage Director: Christie Lee Gibson
Music Director: Lina Gonzalez

June 19 – June 26, 2014

FREE ADMISSION!
In the spirit of accessible opera for all, tickets are absolutely free, and may be reserved in advance online here!

 

BOSTON, MA – OperaHub broadens their ambitions with their June 2014 production: a new adaptation of Heinrich Marschner’s 1828 gothic opera DER VAMPYR. Though the work had its American premiere at the Boston Conservatory in 1980, it has not been seen in Boston since. Several companies around the world have produced it in recent years, including the American Symphony in Spring 2013 and the New Orleans Opera last fall. Hailed by the New York Times as a “gem of an opera,” it falls stylistically between Weber’s DER FREISCHUTZ and Wagner’s FLYING DUTCHMAN, with a thematic debt owed to Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI.

In the original version of DER VAMPYR, Lord Ruthven, the blood-sucker in question, has not been sucking his fair share of blood. The other vampires in his coven gather at the witches’ dance to charge him with taking three virgins by the end of the third day, or he will perish as a mortal. Tragedy ensues in the local village until the vampire is vanquished. Continue reading