Photo: Lisa Hancock
This was the opening performance for the Sunday cast. (The Saturday cast was featured in this New York Times review.) The characters, as brought to life by Benjamin Spierman's directing and the talents of this energetic young cast, were vivid, likeable, and richly defined. And, in nearly every case, one could understand exactly what was being sung. This is not always true when hearing opera sung in one's own language!
The gentlemen of the cast deserve even higher praise, for the opera seemed to give their characters more personality. Patrick McNally gave Jack Absolute, Lydia's dashing love interest, delightful swagger while lending his lush baritone to some of the most interesting vocal writing. Blake Friedman, seen in these pages before in LOTNY's Mitridate, was delightful as the overwrought Nicholas Astor, unsure of Julia's love for him, singing the passionate and soaring vocal lines with great ease.
Mrs. Malaprop was sung quite well by Julie De Vaere. Her many malapropisms would have benefitted from more clear enunciation. Her love interest was Baron von Hakenbok, portrayed with appropriate blust-o by C. David Morrow. Chad Cygan gave Jasper Vanderbilt (of the Kentucky Vanderbilts) great comic charm.
|The full Saturday cast, with Caroline Tye as Mrs. Malaprop|
Photo: A.G. Liebowitz/WrightGroupNY