The sense of companionship the chorus seemed to share extended to their singing which was some of my favourite of the afternoon. Together with the 7-piece ensemble led by conductor Valentina Peleggi they created some absolutely sublime, stylistically considered music.
Even though, of course, I knew of this story's roots in Romeo and Juliet, I was nonetheless shocked and heartbroken by these characters' deaths in the Rumble scene and then watching the rapid unraveling of Maria and Tony's lives in Act II.
We are talking about an indeterminate and ever-changing tradition that has been developing for over four hundred years. Perhaps it is time to cast form aside entirely and explore where it is headed for the future.
Brooklyn-based Regina Opera has taken on Verdi's Il Trovatore and though they clearly have limited resources, they have staged a first-rate, fully-realized production.
The singers playfully (or angrily) splash about, shoot each other with squirt guns and finally land dead in the (unheated) water for the violent finale.
To me, Tosca is just about a perfect piece of theater. I think it's funny that it often gets dismissed as absurdly over-the-top melodrama, especially in this moment in time when Game of Thrones is so wildly popular, and the latest Avengers instalment is the highest grossing movie in theaters.
The preparation for this single show can stretch over an entire season, with input from the multiple teachers and coaches who come to work with the young artists throughout the year.
There is so much to like musically because Ruders stays true to Atwood's novel while finding time to let the music tell the drama on its own that it is indeed a good thing that it has finally found its cultural moment.
Violetta's most vulnerable moments were during the overtures behind a scrim. In the initial overture Violetta was seen revving herself up for the party between coughing fits, and before the final act Violetta dreams that Alfredo is still with her.
The austere, dark sets and costuming were paired with relatively austere stage direction from François Racine. While the intention may have been to let the music speak for itself, in this case it seemed to slow the pace of the show, and gave the performers little to do on stage.