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.
The music is beautiful and speaks for itself. French Baroque rarities by Rameau, Dandrieu and Courbois dance with subdued, exuberant and often tremulous elegance around the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Garden of Vanished Pleasures is available to stream through October 10, and you should watch before it's gone. I'd say this is one of the more mature, well-produced digital items I've seen, and I'm not really surprised that it comes out of Soundstreams.
I think the night, strangely, was best summed up by the opening act: BLO elected to open the evening with the prologue from Cavalleria's much-beloved double-bill partner, I Pagliacci, with Arrey singing Tonio's line.
Wilson may be my new favourite interpreter of Wagner. Her Isolde did things to me, made me stop and zone in. Wilson always impresses me in her attention to detail; it's very clear that in the practice room, she has given attention to each note she sings.
The Tongue & The Lash features some of the night's best singing. Markel Reed as Baldwin orates with a steely baritone that comes with some bite; tenor Jonathan Johnson exudes an easy power that's slightly unnerving — even a bit colonialist — in his portrayal of Buckley, fan of racial segregation.