I am by no means an Orff scholar, so my analysis may be subjective. The collection of twenty four poems from a larger collection written by medieval monks with varying themes, yet this production seemed to hone in on just one: lust.
The Schubert-song recital is a staple and one that I find, for the most part, to be overdone. There is no denying the composer’s immense and invaluable contribution to the lieder repertory. His songs are like golden threads in the intricate tapestry that is the history of German lieder, but personally, I find that a recital programme of unrelated Schubert song to be lacking in imagination when there is a wide variety of song repertoire to be programmed in interesting and new ways.
It was Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly, backed by Le Chimera Project - the unusual-for-Lieder band of clarinet, trombone, accordion, and violin - staged by director Roy Rallo. The group of artists seem to have come together precisely to develop this take on Schubert's Winterreise, and to do so from as blank an artistic slate as possible.
With 2020 underway, Hued Songs can only look forward to more exceptional work carving a unique and necessary sphere within the South Florida music scene. Moreover, Spirituals & Òrìṣàs should challenge the region’s longstanding classical music institutions to think innovatively in the new year.
"Their stories broke my heart and invited me to see the world from another's perspective; to be moved by people who I would not ordinarily encounter," writes Nottage of Sweat. "As a Black woman from Brooklyn I hadn't expected that I would be so profoundly moved by their predicament."
And ultimately, it's indicative of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's approach: he chooses to supplement the wordplay already present in the source, and when it works the result is delightfully cheeky in the best way. One need look no further than the way the music swells with the punchlines, the subversively domestic sounds he gets from his orchestra of two pianos and percussion, and the text setting that remains declamatory almost to a fault.
I was very much taken with Stuart Laing's production design. It felt quintessentially Parisian and conjured up all of the sights, smells, and senses one comes to expect but did so in a very understated way.
This year it's Johann Strauss II's The Gypsy Baron (Ziegeunerbaron). Directed by Silva-Marin with Music Direction by Derek Bate, The Gypsy Baron tells a classic operetta-style tale of a prodigal son, mistaken and hidden identities, prophecies, treasure, and of course, wine.
Though Otello may be the title character and tragic hero of the story, in truth it is Iago who is the most alluring character on stage. For four hundred odd years, Shakespeare’s infamous villain has captured the imaginations of audiences everywhere. Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez played him with chilling ease.
The men indiscriminately abuse Pénélope and the women of her kingdom, theatrically throwing them around like amateur wrestlers. Yet their violence succeeds as seduction and they are rewarded with sexual favors. The men are thinly drawn, each portraying a single affect – incredulity, apathy, viciousness and predation. The women are sexualized totems who have little effect on the larger story.