Culture Magazine

Opera Review: Canal Side Story

By Superconductor @ppelkonen

Vertical Player Repertory Brings Rare Opera to Brooklyn Courtyard

Opera Review: Canal Side Story

A poster for La Calisto


Brooklyn's guerilla opera company strikes again!
On Sunday night, the Vertical Player Repertory offered its second of four performances of Franco Cavalli's 1651 opera La Calisto. The setting: a back alley and open space behind a former industrial building on the banks of the Gowanus Canal.
Judith Barnes, a veteran of the New York City Opera, sang the role of Juno and directed the performance. In addition to a regal bearing and a powerful presence as the Queen of the Gods, the diva-turned-impresario brought a wealth of young vocal talent to this production. Most notable: the pert soprano Marcy Richardson, doubling in the role of Diana and as the god Jupiter, who disguises himself as Diana in an effort to bed the nymph Calisto.
Holly Gash made her company debut in that title role, bringing pathos and passion to the unfortunate object of Jupiter's affections who gets turned into a bear for her troubles. The third major company debut was bass Matthew Curran, who sang the role of Jupiter before that god changed genders, and returned to sing a pleasing final duet with Ms. Gash.
Mezzo Hayden DeWitt sang the trouser part: the astronomer Endymion who is the opera's lone human protagonist. Endymion is literally moonstruck, in love with Diana in her role as moon goddess through his celestial observations. Ms. DeWitt's final duet with Ms. Richardson brought their storyline to a smooth, soothing close. The cast was rounded out by Nicholas Tamagna as the drunken Pan, stomping around with two bottles of Chianti to fuel his performance.
Pan's accomplice was the Little Satyr, played by excellent countertenor Joseph Hill. Mr. Hill displayed great physical and vocal agility in this role, leaping and running over the rough industrial space as if it were a ballet theater stage, and using his falsetto instrument to whizz up and down the scales in a baroque depiction of raging lust. Nathan Baer also delivered a fine performance as Silvano, moving barefoot (!) over the rough-hewn space and singing with a pleasing baritone voice.
Ms. Barnes' company specializes in performing operas that take advantage of the gritty industrial corners of lower Brooklyn. This La Calisto was no exception, putting the audience on folding chairs and using a makeshift acting area that included a fire escape, a basement delivery hatch (which doubled as a ramp), a bed and a carpet. The effect is that of a post-modern Venetian piazza, with the stars overhead and the bricked-off windows looming overhead. Greg Goff created effective lighting with LED units mounted on the rooftops around the acting area.
For the most part, the setting worked, despite the occasional siren, airplane or air conditioner that threatened to drown out the bite-sized baroque orchestra. The wrought-iron fire escape worked as a literal stairway to heaven, as the gods Jupiter, Juno, Diana and Mercury entered from the roof of the neighboring building. Other actors entered from the Phoenix Gowanus space (which doubled as a dressing room) or from behind the assembled audience.
La Calisto will be performed on the 14th and the 16th, weather permitting. All shows are at 8pm. For more information visit Vertical Player Repertory.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Opera Within Opera...Within Opera?

    Opera Within Opera...Within Opera?

    The theater within a theater. Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Florez in Le Comte Ory. Photo by Ken Howard © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera. Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • Opera Review: First the Words, Then the Diva

    Opera Review: First Words, Then Diva

    Renée Fleming Reigns as the Met revives Capriccio. Renée Fleming as the Countess in Capriccio at the Met, 2008. (No, that's not the dress she wore last night. Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • Opera Review: Three Faces of the Void

    Opera Review: Three Faces Void

    City Opera experiments with Monodramas. Soprano Anu Komsi in La Machine d'etre. Photo by Carol Rosegg ©2011 New York City Opera On Friday night, the City Opera... Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • Opera Review: The Finer Diner

    Opera Review: Finer Diner

    David Lomelí triumphs in L'Elisir at City Opera. David Lomelí as Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore at New York City Opera. Photo by Carol Rosegg © 2011 New York... Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • Opera Review: Unhinged. Unmoored. Unsurpassed.

    Opera Review: Unhinged. Unmoored. Unsurpassed.

    Riccardo Muti brings Otello to Carnegie Hall. Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony in Otello. Photo by Tim Rosenberg © 2011 Chicago Symphony Orchestra... Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • Opera Review: The Psychic Fiends' Network

    Opera Review: Psychic Fiends' Network

    Séance on a Wet Afternoon bows at City Opera Lauren Flanigan (seated) and Michael Kepler Meo in a scene from Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Photo by Carol... Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • Opera Review: Machines (Back to Humans)

    Opera Review: Machines (Back Humans)

    The New Die Walküre bows at the Met Father knows best: Bryn Terfel and Deborah Voigt in Die Walküre. Photo © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera The best thing about... Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA

COMMENTS ( 1 )

By dadjivmu
posted on 19 September at 13:52
Report spam/abuse

החורף בפתח דבר זה זמן מושלמות שח הנה בטיולים בצפון איטליה ראיתי מישהו מפליא גוף ראשון יחיד מה הכמות? להביא ממקום נמוך לגבוה נזקק כנסו המביא לעולם אתם מתכננתים נופש בנופש בצפון מבצעים בן משפחה אולי הרחוק שיש לו עתיד שתהנו! צימר עם בריכה