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

vampyrwebgraphic

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

Oct 15

The Artist is Human: BARITONES UNBOUND

Photo Credit: ArtsEmerson Facebook Page

Baritones UnBound: Celebrating the UnCommon Voice of the Common Man
ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage
Conceived by Marc Kudisch
Created by MarcKudisch with Merwin Foard, Jeff Mattsey and Timothy Splain
Performed by Marc Kudisch, Jeff Mattsey, Ben Davis, accompanied by Timothy Splain on piano
Music Direction by Timothy Splain
Directed by David Dower
Production Design by Alexander V. Nichols

Oct. 8 – 20, 2013
Review is based on the Oct. 12 performance
Paramount Center Mainstage
559 Washington St. in Boston’s Theatre District
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) I’m not going to go on about how famous the three baritones in Baritones Unbound are. I’m not going to compare this production to The Three Tenors. These baritones and those tenors have different interests. This production isn’t just about the glorious voices of Marc Kudisch, Jeff Mattsey and Ben Davis (and they do sound seraphic). It is a living history of the baritone in popular music as they worked and performed through the ages. It’s also a boys night at the Paramount Center (complete with Act 2 “man cave”). Continue reading

Oct 08

Catfish, Opera Served Cold: SIREN SONG

Presented as part of the Boston University College of Fine Arts Fringe Festival
Based on the novel by Gordon Honeycombe
Composed by Jonathan Dove
Libretto by Nick Dear
Stage direction Jim Petosa
Conducted by William Lumpkin

Oct. 4 – 6, 2013
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210
Huntington Ave
Boston, MA
BU Fringe on Facebook (directions at bottom of page)

More Fringe Works
Dark Sisters playing Oct. 11 – 12, 2013
Back Bog Beast Bait playing Oct. 22-27, 2013

Review by Kitty Drexel

**Not suitable for kids. Sex is for grownups.**

(Boston) In Homer’s The Odyssey the sirens were mermaid-like creatures with a voice so intoxicating that sailor’s ships crashed into land. Outdated slang defines a women so gorgeous that she drives sanity from the minds of men. Jonathan Dove and Nick Dear’s opera combines the myth of olde with the modernized definition in their rarely performed work, Siren Song. Continue reading

Apr 02

Properly and Honestly: MASTER CLASS

Amelia Broome as Maria Callas; Photo: Rob Lorino

Presented by New Repertory Theatre

A play with music by Terrence McNally
Directed by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman

Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA 02472
March 31 – April 21, 2013
New Rep Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) Amelia Broome doesn’t use a Greek accent in her portrayal as international treasure and opera superstar, Maria Callas. The audience doesn’t have the luxury of knowing why Broome chose not to use an accent. Broome’s performance is effective without one so the reasons don’t matter.

Master Class is a grand opportunity for non-Classical singers (plebes) to experience the horror and joy that is operatic study. It is a (relatively) cheap vocal coaching for its length and history wrapped in a convenient package. The dialogue is only slightly dramatized for the benefit of the audience. The majority of Callas’ lessons and helpful hints are comments that any voice teacher could and would give her student. The majority of these same lessons and hints are conveyed in a similar manner as well. Continue reading

Feb 11

“Cinderella” Goes to Harvard

dunster

presented by the Dunster House Opera at Harvard University
Cendrillon by Jules Massenet

Directed by Katherine Moon ’14
Music Directed by George Fu ’13
Produced by Stephanie Havens ’14 and Marina Chen ’15

February 9 – 6th at 8:30 p.m.
Dunster House, Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Review by Nicola McEldowney

(Cambridge) The thing about going to a college production is this: it takes place at college. Therefore, coming into this production, I felt a great sense of trepidation, because I recently got over my own bout with college and I am still susceptible to triggers. Fortunately, I only have a few symptoms left: occasional twitching, a diploma and a pair of college-apparel socks. But here, it was dangerous: there were post-college stress disorder triggers everywhere. There were all the trappings of university life: the dining hall (where the production took place), the ill-rendered student council campaign poster deftly incorporating the “M-F” word, and of course, the nearly-full take-out container of sushi casually tossed in the trash. This kind of thing can transport you back to your own college days with the kind of nostalgia so profound it requires Kaopectate. Continue reading