Written by Guys and Dolls' Frank Loesser, I expected it to be simple and toe-tapping (don't get me wrong - I love Guys and Dolls!). The two grand pianos that served as Skylark's fearless orchestra, music direction by Carson Schneider, provided a sound not of the fun loving Runyon musical, but a mixture of Rodgers and Hammerstein with a dash of Leoncavello.
"It seems to be quite a non-standardized industry, so many people think they can dictate how 'the industry' is run, and they can tell that to young, inexperienced, bright-eyed bushy-tailed students, and do whatever they want."
This production is feast for the eyes and ears. So much to see and listen to, full of emotional highs and lows, and a stage full of amazing talent.
With Rigoletto, Edmonton Opera connects with a wide spectrum of themes that most people will identify: the danger of power that goes unchecked, the fear when those closest to you are threatened, and the purity of love and being loved. If you've never seen an opera before, this is a production that will definitely get you hooked.
For those paying attention, Ivany's libretto only updates details, the kind that are in place to connect character with audience. If we were to strip away the hipster scarves and references to manscaping and BMV, we're still left with the original personalities from the libretto by Illica and Giacosa.
Frida and Diego encounter many struggles, the communist revolution turning against Diego, the pair travelling to New York, their struggle to carry a pregnancy to full term, and their return to Mexico, which led to Diego’s many affairs.
"The hard part is when I lock myself in a room and go over the score, figure out who the character is, make sure I get every pianissimo and forte, and accent and legato. When I come here, it's already engrained in me. I can just go where the director tells me to go."
At one point, I tried to express how uncomfortable I was, my teacher told me that I was an adult and I could have left at any time. I was 20. On my way back home, my teacher's husband told me that they had decided to increase John's paycheque for all of the extra work he had put in.
While in the first act, the singers interacted awkwardly, with little to no dramatic commitment to their movements or singing, in the final moments of the show, the principals all rose to the occasion, singing and acting with dramatic impetus that temporarily stopped time.
"Each rejection only affirmed this belief; if I really had talent, someone would want me. On the other hand, each time I did manage to be cast, I was afraid it had been a mistake, and wondered if there was some other sort of agenda. To this day I find it difficult to trust mentors."