|Photo by Felix Sanchez- Houston Grand Opera web site|
Enthusiastically, really, very enthusiastically conducted by Patrick Summers. Enticing all present-audience as well, to repeat Old Man River at the very end of curtain calls.
Better hurry to get your tickets, they are flying out the ticket windows! Really!
A cast, seemingly of 1.000 s.
On a brightly lit, colorfully painted stage cavorted several sets of lithe dancers (12 in all) in Gypsy like costumes and skimpier ones.
Against a background of gingerbread Mississippi side wheeler boat singers and actors did the score and the libretto honors.
Sasha Cooke was a delightful high mezzo, Magnolia Hawks to the seemingly deeper (she is billed as soprano) shaded sounds of Melody (apropos name - real or ?) Moore as Julie LaVerne.
Marietta Simpson, a real mezzo, queened it wonderfully as Queenie,all singing "Fish gotta Swim..".
Minor supporting roles were taken on with various degrees of acting/singing talent by Frankie and Jacqueline Hickman, Christina Keefe and - hold onto you hats, chers readers - socialite par excellence Lynn Wyatt, looking very svelte and gentlewomanly, although she should have been miked. One could hardly hear her in the first 5 rows!
Now the men:
first off 'The Man of the hour(s)' lol... as JOE, football player turned basso profundo. Morris Robinson enchanted with his gravelly sung (he sounded like singing from the deepest catacombs of St Stephen's Cathedral in Wien) a most appreciative audience, female, and male :-).
And here I thought the late William Warwick had this song locked up!
We shall hear and ENJOY equally thrillingly - I am sure - his interpretation of the Commendatore in Don Giovanni. Proof of his versatility (reminds me of Winton Marsalis' talents in Jazz and Classical trumpet)...ponderous applause at the end for sure!
The debonair Gaylord Ravenal was Joseph Kaiser and was he ever... debonair as a singer, and his dance moves were not shabby either! No wonder Magnolia succumbs at first glance ;-)!
Houston's Tye Blue, voted 'Best Entertainer in Houston' for the last 3 years, proved it in his role as Frank Schultz, singing, acting and dancing!
Lara Teeter, as Cap'n Andy Hawks was hilarious; agilely kicking up his legs with the best of the dancers! Yes Sirree! He sure could swing and dance!
Rutherford Cravens had the double roles of Sheriff and Maitre D',
while David Matranga appeared double cast as Steve Baker and Max.
Patrick Harvey, Andrew J. Love and Steven Hale acted and sang as Jake, Pete/Emcee and Backwoodsman, respectively.