Culture Magazine

Opera Review: Farce, In Any Language

By Superconductor @ppelkonen
L'heure Espagnole and Gianni Schicchi at Juilliard

Opera Review: Farce, In Any Language

Costume design for Don Iñigo Gomez in  L'heure Espagnole.
Design and drawing by Vita Tyzkun  © 2011 The Juilliard School.


On Wednesday night, the Juilliard Opera finished their strong season with an unusual pairing of one-act comedies by Ravel and Puccini. Juilliard alumna Keri-Lynn Wilson conducted both operas in razor-sharp performances, expertly played and timed.
Time is at the heart of Ravel's L'heure Espagnole ("The Spanish Hour.") This is the story of an unfaithful clockmaker's wife (Cecilia Hall) who juggles three suitors while her husband is out setting the city clocks each week. This is pure French farce, with two of the would-be lovers hiding themselves in large clocks, while the studly young muleteer (Andreas Andriotis) carries them up and down the stairs.
Ms. Hall shone as Concepción, the young wife who is considering the poet Gonzalve (Daniel T. Curran) and the banker Don Iñigo Gomez (Alexander Hajek) who finds himself locked in his clock. The opera was lightly played, with crisp ensemble singing and a tight account of Ravel's intricate score.
This fine cast switched places for Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, with Mr. Hajek taking the title role. He made a brash, memorable Schicchi, with good comic acting and a commanding presence. He made Schicchi's ode to Florence (where he warns the gathered relatives of the perils of their scheme to rewrite the will of the deceased Buoso Donati) the emotional heart of the piece, displaying a fine lyric baritone laced with poisonous wit. And the idea of having Schicchi cue the light changes and set the scene? Perfect.
The Korean soprano Jung van Noon, a student of the great Renata Scotto, made a stellar impression as Lauretta. Her "O mio babbino caro" was sung with such melting beauty that half the audience (not knowing where the piece ended) applauded early. She made the prospect of throwing herself into the Arno River a realistic one, arching into the high phrases and pouring out the heartfelt emotion that is required for convincing Puccini.
Schicchi and daughter were surrounded by a memorable group of players. Daniel T. Curran was Rinuccio, Lauretta's suitor and the one good egg in the rotten Donati basket. Timothy Beenken and Carla Jablonski were strong as Simone and La Cieca, the oldest members of the family with their sights set on the biggest shares of the estate. The other members of he company gave good comic performances, including a brief, hilarious cameo by character tenor Said Pressley as the hapless Doctor.
Andreas Aroditis returned as the notary Amantio, a shady figure in leather and aviators. As appropriate for this modern-dress program, he was flanked by two straight-outta-Brooklyn witnesses: Pinnelino "the cobbler"(Drew Santini) and Guccio "The Dyer" (Philip Stoddard. This comic trio upped the level of humor and intensity. As this comic confection whirled to a close, the audience was cheerfully prepared to forgive the hell-bound Gianni Schicchi for his schemes. And with singing like this, why not?

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Keto-Cooking Tips for Busy Parents

    Are you interested in the ketogenic diet, but not sure how to cook? Then you'll enjoy this interview with Maria Emmerich. Having struggled with her weight in... Read more

    9 hours, 18 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • The Production of Ignorance

    Production Ignorance

    What the media gets wrong about trans people, how misinformation is perpetuated, and what we can do about it. The first chapter of Trans Like Me: A Journey for... Read more

    9 hours, 28 minutes ago by   Cnlester
    LGBTQ, SEXUALITY
  • Competition: SilentNight Pillows

    Competition: SilentNight Pillows

    For everyone who loves a bit of night time comfort, SILENTNIGHT are giving away a set of their - PURE COTTON PILLOW PAIR. These lovely pillows have a 100% cotto... Read more

    9 hours, 49 minutes ago by   Evette Garside
    FAMILY
  • Listen: the Walls Group Releases New Single “my Life”

    Listen: Walls Group Releases Single Life”

    ChristianNews Stellar Award winning gospel group, The Walls Group which consist of four siblings ((Darrel Walls, Rhea Walls, Paco Walls, Ahjah Walls) has... Read more

    10 hours, 3 minutes ago by   Firstladyb
    SPIRITUALITY
  • But I Wasn't Even Drinking!!!

    Here is a straight from the headlines story that all parents should use to talk with their teens. Erin is a 17 year old senior in high school, honor roll studen... Read more

    10 hours, 13 minutes ago by   Joanigeltman
    FAMILY, PARENTING
  • “This Is the Absolute Best I Have Felt in Years”

    Is the two-week low-carb challenge a game changer? This is what life-long weight struggler Jasmin has to say after stumbling upon it: Hi Team, My name is... Read more

    10 hours, 19 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Khao San Road: A Perfect Place for Solo Travelers

    Khao Road: Perfect Place Solo Travelers

    Sometimes all we need is a place where we can breathe, to exhale all the problems and to inhale all the positivities of life. You’ve heard this before “try to g... Read more

    10 hours, 41 minutes ago by   Vinzsalvador23
    PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY