Saturday, August 22, 2015

Another Nozze di Figaro

I simply adore Le Nozze di Figaro. This is a good thing, because I'm in the middle of a Nozze binge. Last week I saw dell'Arte Opera's excellent production, and on Friday night I saw OperaRox perform the same delightful work. On Saturday I am privileged to see dell'Arte's other cast perform Nozze. Let me be clear--badly performed Nozze is more boring than Wagner and more painful than, well, Wagner. Fortunately, I haven't faced that problem.

Michael Maliakel and Devony Smith
Photo (uncredited) courtesy of OperaRox
OperaRox is a rather new group that grew out of an Internet community of opera lovers. This is the group's first production, and I must say to them, well done! The entire production seemed very professional, including the performance space, lighting, direction, and even the programs.  In terms of funding this project, they knew what they were doing.

The performances were on a young professional level. These young singers are cutting their teeth, paying their dues--whatever metaphor you like for gaining experience while honing skills and polishing technique--but I had very few complaints, and quite a lot of praise.  The Figaro and Susanna of Michael Maliakel and Devony Smith were charming, fun, and a pleasure to hear. Michael Hofmann's Count Almaviva was delightfully blustery and frustrated, and also quite nice to hear.  The Cherubino of Kimberly Feltkamp was a treat to see, with all the awkwardness and dumb enthusiasm of a teenage boy. Special mention goes to Maayan Voss de Bettancourt as Marcellina and Eric Alexieff as Don Basilio/Don Curzio. These two delightful comic actors inhabited two roles that are sometimes throwaways, and made them very funny.

Music Director Dmitry Glivinsky kept things moving with brisk tempi and judicious cuts. Stage Director Amber Treadway deserves kudos for traffic control and for some very effective stage business. I have never laughed out loud at the Act III sextet the way I did with this performance. The awkwardness between Figaro and Don Bartolo (cleverly performed by Kevin Miller) was priceless.

With this sort of production there is never enough rehearsal time, but it was clear every singer had done the work and learned his role well, performing with enthusiasm and understanding. I left wanting to hear every one of the singers again after another year or two of training and experience. I'm sure many will go far.


HeldenMommy said...

Lovely review! ...I'd like to prove you wrong about the Wagner sometime, though .. :)

Christine Goerke

Taminophile said...

Christine, to hear you sing, I'd put up with even post-apocalyptic Wagner.