Des Moines Metro Opera's cutting edge production of Bluebeard's Castle breathed new life into an underrated opera, blending the digital and traditional in a seamless immersive display.
Carmen is an audience favorite for a reason, so why change what already works? The historical setting is familiar and expected, but the themes of this passionate tale still hit hard.
The relationship between Bob, Mary and Nate is completely convincing thanks to the outstanding performances of Mr. McNichols Jr., Ms. Crump and Mr. Morgans, respectively. Their voices are ascendant; they master both the height and width necessary for composer Still's score.
New Amsterdam presents works in a concert-style, with performers at music stands, and the only staging is the exits and entrances of principals who are in each scene. This leaves them free to invest donors' dollars in the music and that certainly pays dividends to the audience.
Dahl's portrayal is filled to the brim with tension and menace. He never truly believes that he will be free from his curse, and his torment is relentless, which helps carry the tension of the entire show. Vocally, Dahl for formidable and dark, bringing a vocal power that lent authority to his character's plight.
This production, under the direction of up-and-coming stage director Robin Hahn, is a refreshing departure from the 'prim British Aristocrats meet dainty fairies' that you would expect. Instead, this production has drag fairy queens, gender-bent High Chancellors and Lords, queer romance, and fairy selfies.
Unmemorable tunes, a certain lack of dramatic forethought, and far too prolific for his own good, I can really only enjoy Donizetti in small bursts.
To say the singing was excellent is an understatement. The line was solid through the whole range and completely unfazed by whatever physicality Kelsey took on. He managed the dramatic journey with great finesse as well. Macbeth, although a noble, and later a King - he's somewhat content to be in his position.
Your skin crawled when he spoke to Tosca. You wanted to cheer when his carcass hit the floor in his office. Yet, besides all of this, it has to be well-sung. Wood's handling of the Baron's music was excellent. His tone evenly matched throughout his range, and a fantastic use of his dynamic colour palette to really dig into the darkness of Scarpia.
Parassidis gave what is perhaps one of the most electrifying performances I have ever seen at the opera house, and considering the amount of opera I have seen that is no small feat.