Edward Nelson as the eponymous Barber was absolutely phenomenal. Commanding the stage from the moment he arrived, his rendition of "Largo al factotum" couldn’t have been better. Working the stage and the audience, he was absolutely charming, and even took the final verse at breakneck speed, all without missing a single note.
It is a timely repertoire choice, not only because of the plot's exploration of the Spaniards' conquering of the Aztec people, but because last year was the 500th anniversary of the conflict. Before the opera began, the Mexican consulate spoke giving historical context to the evening.
Whether as an artfully conceived full production, one taking place on the lip of a stage or a performance existing only in our ears and imagination, Wozzeck is a keeper.
"I fell in love right away for the voices, especially the low voices. I remember like it was yesterday: 'I want to become a baritone or a bass and I want to sing in big opera houses!' Little did I know that in very few years I’d begin studying and making my professional debut. This year I will actually celebrate my 20th year of career."
Clocking in at about 55 minutes, this bit-sized, child-friendly opera is perfect for a family outing. It’s outrageous, laugh-out-loud humour can be enjoyed by all ages. There is no doubt that Barry has created a masterpiece of modern opera. His frenetic, ambitious writing does not feel overly academic or unapproachable; there is a slightly wild and surprising nature to his music which immerses the listener into the world that McDonald has created onstage.
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly hardly needs any introduction, being one of the top 10 operas performed yearly in both the U.S. and Europe. The story of a young geisha jilted by a selfish, predatory American naval officer has gripped audiences since the first decade of the 20th-century, as has Puccini’s masterful score.
Opera Omaha’s production of The Abduction from the Seraglio brings vintage nightclub glam to Mozart’s beloved comedic Singspiel. The audience gets to enjoy the playful plot without all the dated humor and Turkish stereotypes that came with the original opera setting, a choice that allowed the virtuosic vocals to reign supreme.
Throughout the production, one could see many of these geometric shapes infiltrating the scene at many different points. Characters maneuver around them and discuss plans in their shadow. This rendered the Act III trio somewhat difficult to follow if you were seated on one of the sides of the theatre, given the lines of sight.
A wild visual ride from start to finish, it's great lighter fare to warm you up in the winter. I really appreciated the gestures (blunt as they were) to the fact that this started as traditionally holiday fare in Europe, yet didn't feel out of place a month after Twelfth Night.
The sum of all its parts coalesced into an evening that was immensely fun for the whole audience, and even got surprisingly political in the way Beaumarchais meant. Perhaps some of the orchestral playing was shaky in spots, but otherwise this production had barely a blemish on it anywhere. It is Le nozze di Figaro at its finest, and it was a comedic romp that is one for the ages, as far as this opera goes.