|Murchison Performing Arts Center|
University of North Texas
However, there were some standout performances that charmed even my creaky old heart. I don't have any complaints about the singing or musical preparation, with the exception of the occasional imbalance between orchestra and singers. My two favorite cast members were Travis Wiley McGuire, who lent his considerable acting skill and resonant bass to Jackie "Tiger" Brown, the police chief; and Jamille Brewster, who played Brown's daughter Lucy with spunk and a capable singing voice that was woefully underused. I also appreciated the shining vocal talents as Emily Hueske as Mrs. Peachum and Matthew Parker as Macheath. Dagny McCartney gave a fine acting performance as Jenny, the prostitute who turns in Macheath. Although Wei-Shu Tsai and Meng-Jung Tsai both seem to be good singers, I fear they were miscast vocally as Mr. Peachum and Polly Peachum, respectively--the roles didn't highlight the best parts of their voices. Young Martin L. Clark gave a respectable performance of "Mack the Knife" in the introduction as the Ballad Singer.
Surely if there is no adequate English version of the score available, then an opera program of the stature of UNT can commission one. This kind of a show needs to be in the language of the audience. And it seemed like much of the dialogue simply seemed underrehearsed, and there was far too much of it. Some judicious cuts would have made a long show shorter and some seemingly interminable scenes more bearable. However, these were my only major complaints, and I call it an admirable university-level summer opera production. Students gained valuable experience, audience was entertained, and this blogger got a post out of it.