The composite was a perceptive and refreshingly theatrical portrait of a complex and insightful woman, a musically shimmering, angry and sometimes languid conclusion to an extraordinary Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall.
Musically, Only an Octave Apart has no business being so clever. The aria/song mash-ups are the product of a lot of thought and respect for the original works, but they're also so much fun.
The company has a triumphant opening night in spite of off-stage challenges.
I have to admit, after a while, the music did draw me in. This is an opera I suspect some people will have to sit with, but it will pull you into its language. And when it does, it does feel remarkably transformative afterwards.
On this night, the company’s full roster of emerging artists (now branded as the McPhee Artists in honour of the company’s longtime Artistic Director and CEO) enchanted the audience with a whimsical production that the whole family would enjoy.
Service Provider is essentially an opera all about cell phone use; the characters are on cell phones for most of the run-time, pretty much ignoring everything around them.
Under Mary Birnbaum's assured direction this harrowing and cerebral story moves in a refreshingly linear way. The extraordinary melding of music, voice, dance and photography, not to mention Plato's philosophical discourse, have melded in a way that leaves us artistically and emotionally sated.
Everything about this production went out of its way to imbue the whole with artistic cohesion and integrity, even the elements that might have seemed vaguely avant-garde out of context.
I chose my words very carefully when I call this Curlew River a transcendent experience: I am afraid I cannot fully explain the power that this particular production had and why it had that power, but I remember leaving the Cathedral Church of St. Paul feeling somewhat transformed by the experience.
La traviata hosts what is probably opera's most well-beloved idiot plot: all of the characters make some fairly idiotic choices for the plot to progress as it does, and some characters can really come off as extremely unlikable as a result.