At the end of the performance, the audience was served the very chocolate cake depicted in the opera, bringing the experience full circle. A decadent finish to a decadent evening.
On Friday, July 19, Wolf Trap Opera opened their second opera of their summer season with Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. An opera within an opera is always a difficult feat in my opinion, and the creative team made it an entertaining and comical evening.
The staging and direction of this song cycle by Cara Gabriel was versatile and imaginative. The singers moved seamlessly between songs. I had absolutely no idea what the music would sound like, and I was pleasantly surprised. There were some minimalist crunchy 20th-century moments, but overall the melodies were beautiful and catchy. Some sounded very operatic, and some had a flower child, Simon and Garfunkel vibe.
This beautiful period production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw, directed by Louisa Muller, is no exception. The newly and rather cleverly built Opera Pavilion borrows from Japanese architecture, creating a space which ambiguously walks the line between the indoor and the outdoor.
Certain characters and scenes were exaggerated and grotesque, accentuating Wozzeck's unreliable interpretation of reality. Other moments, however, were unsettling precisely because they felt so realistic. The omnipresent menacing atmosphere was palpable throughout the opera, and McIntyre did not pull any punches when it came to the pivotal murder scene.
The music throughout was also brilliant. Perri Lo did a masterful job as the music director, especially with the ensemble scenes. Congratulations to everyone involved. Macbeth was a highly memorable top-notch production overflowing with talent and polish.
There was a palpable feeling of euphoria when the storm finally clears and Noah and his family realise, they have been spared. Their surprise, relief, and gratitude was genuine and infectious.
Somehow, though now over two hundred years old, it maintains a certain freshness. Even a standard production like this 2006 David McVicar classic which this season sees its sixth revival run at the Royal Opera, still feels relevant.
The main factor that makes or breaks a production of La bohème is the cast. The six lead characters must have comedic timing, dramatic chops, and believable chemistry. This opera is so popular precisely because all the characters are realistic and likeable.
If you're looking for a theatrical farce that will leave you with a lot of questions about the human condition, then look no further than Des Moines Metro Opera's charming production of Candide.