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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!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Maria Stuarda

by Donizetti. A Bel Canto Opera and so it was.
Two unfortunate events made this an interesting rehearsal:
1) Tenor Cutler was indisposed and HGOStudio member Touhy sang from the side while a staff member mimed action on stage.
2) Bass Gradus sang with less than usual fervor in order to conserve HIS voice.

But the result was the same: an incredibly beautifully realized opera, sets, staging, lights, costumes, music, and ABOVE ALL singing as it should be (Bel Canto !!)

Here a clip from 2005:Di Donato as Maria and Cutler as Leicester

BIG LIKE: Joyce Di Donato as a mesmerizing Maria Stuarda, oh, boy, can she sing, can she act, and CAN she keep the audience so enthralled during her pianissimos that nor a rustle, sniffle or any other sound was heard. The orchestra took a break and only she was heard even when she just barely whispered (pianissimo of pianissimos!).

Katie Van Kooten, as Elisabeth I, was imposing and did real justice to her role as the vindictive queen. And yet one could almost, almost, feel sorry for her being so tortured as she appeared to be, too strongly influenced by Cecil (Oren Gradus- who labored mightily overcoming a vocal problem due to?? and so sounding much less imposing than he usually is).

Van Kooten: Photo
OPERA today
Eric Cutler, slated to sing Leicester, was announced to be ill, and so Brendan Touhy of the HGO Studio vocally stood in for him from stage right (audience view) and truly sounded very, yes, very well!
To me, admittedly predisposed to like deep voices, Robert Gleadow as Talbot was just right. Of course that he had a very sympathetic role may have something to do with being liked!
At least by me. I cannot, of course, speak for others.
Opera IS so much a subjective art form, after all.

Since is it BEL CANTO.. the singing must be in the forefront, IMO.
And so it was.

Sets and staging were simply (I am not saying cost effective LOL) and nothing, really detracted from the singers!

A beautifully copied coffered ceiling with movable columns (sets by Neil Patel) seemed just right to me! Stage was frequently empty and stark, but that too, seemed just right! After all the play/opera is stark.  About emotions of love, hate, evil incubus (Cecil?) and so forth. The lightning by Wood/Clark was also simple and stark and effective.
Costumes by Jessica Jahn were period and - that was a real pleasure! (after the other mish mash as posted before. Especially so).
Patrick Summers honed (it was the last rehearsal remember) the HGO orchestra to perfection, while Richard Bado managed the chorus well, especially during the last act to give much pleasure.
It will be a fitting end to a great season at HGO IMO.
As I am neither singer nor musician, my feelings are strictly due to having seen/heard many operas in many houses.

If you did not like it DO feel free to comment!

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