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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wow is the word

for today's events.
First an incredibly beautifully done opera.
Then a delightful fishy early dinner.

And to top it all off, Aeros win over the Manitoba Moose with 6..yes 6.. goals in the third period. A franchise record, per the Voice of the Aeros which came loud and clear to us here in Sarasota! What more could I ask, opera and hockey! Good Job, guys!

Now to the afternoon performance of THE CRUCIBLE by Robert Ward, a hugely successful opera based on the drama by Arthur Miller with just some abridging done by librettist Bernard Stambler.

Sarasota Opera house
 IMO this performance stands way above last night's.

The orchestra performed very well under the baton of Maestro David Neely.
Staging, sets, costumes and lighting matched perfectly to form a visible whole.
An opera like this must have performers that can sing expressively but also must be able to act expressively.
And the singers in this cast did so.

The biggest surprise IMO was an apprentice singer, not even listed in the bio pages,
young Mezzo Soprano Kaitlin Bertenshaw sang and portrayed the aged Rebecca Nurse with insight and conviction.

The other women were , in order of excellence:

Heather Johnson
Mezzo soprano Heather Johnson as Elizabeth Proctor conveyed vocally, and with her acting, a woman and wife torn between jealousy and love.

Contralto Nicole Mitchell as Tituba, sang with a rich, deep chested voice the slave who plays to whichever side will keep her safe.

Soprano Lara Michole Tillotson as Mary Warren, the easily influenced servant girl who tries to do the right thing.
She sings with just the right intensity to show her fear.

Soprano Lindsay Barche as Abigail, the accuser and once lover of John Proctor, does rather well, but IMO needs a bit more seasoning to truly present a 'Puritan Lolita", devious, fraudulent, sexy.
Sean Anderson
The outstanding male performances vocally came from
Bariton Sean Anderson who as John Proctor was simply stunning showing solid  maturity in his interpretation of the man.

And from  Bass Jeffrey Tucker, who vested the Reverend Hale with powerful feelings, first as accuser and hangman, which he is more and more reluctant to do, until he realizes that all these trials may just be based on execution of private revenge.

And IMO, I found another gem in Heath Huberg as Giles Corey.
His pleasant tenor voice seems misplaced as coming from an older tottering man, but he manages this portrayal rather well.

The cast is large, with tiny roles such as the afflicted girls and burgers.

Larger roles such as The Putnams, Ann and Thomas, Rev. Parris, and 'hanging' Judge Danforth were well cast with soprano Lindsay Ohse (sang Viclinda last night), Bariton Dimitrie Lazich, Tenor Steven Uliana and Mathew Edwardsen (sang Arvino last night) who all did real justice to these roles.  
Heath Huberg

Other small but pivotal roles, such as Francis Nurse sung by high bass Bradley Smoak;  Ezekiel Cheever sweetly, at times, sung by tenor Bernard Holcomb; and Sarah Good who had a few high notes in the jail scene, sung easily by soprano Carolina Castells, another one of the apprentices.

The history is known to most:
The Salem Massachusetts Witch Trials of 1692.
Events during the McCarthy years, another kind of witch hunt in the 1950's,
surely inspired playwright Arthur Miller to expose the insanity such persecutions can and did cause. The insanity may range from religious fervor, mass hysteria, virulent accusations to outright fraud and lies.

'The Crucible' lays it all open with its moving, rather lyrical music based on high dynamic drama.
It is as relevant today as it was earlier.
And will remain a stirring reminder what human greed, jealousy, can cause.
It also serves as testament to love, sacrifice, personal convictions and deep conscience.

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