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by Mike Telin
When Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance premiered in New York on December 31, 1879, the two-act comic opera was immediately popular with audiences and critics alike. Today Pirates remains one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most-performed operas. This weekend, Opera Per Tutti will present three performances of the amusing pirate story at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre on Friday and Saturday, September 12 and 13 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, September 14 at 2:00 pm. Steven Eva will conduct the Chagrin Studio Orchestra in this fully-staged production.
Given the popularity of Pirates of Penzance, how does a stage director add his or her own artistic stamp to the work? “That’s a good question,” Opera Per Tutti artistic director Scott Skiba said during a recent telephone call. “I don’t know if I have a stamp to put on it. I just want audiences to become immersed in the work and not be aware of the director. There is a lot of slapstick and there are a lot of funny gags, but they are all driven by the characters and their relationships with one another. I think Pirates is absolutely brilliant. Audiences don’t have to get the political humor from Gilbert & Sullivan’s time in order to understand the opera.” Read the rest of this entry »
by Daniel Hathaway
Warning to all witches: you’re courting danger if you try to turn children into gingerbread in Northeast Ohio. You’ve been punished for that many times recently — at the Cleveland Institute of Music (March 2012), at Youngstown State University (April 2013), at the Oberlin Conservatory (November 2013) and at Baldwin Wallace University (February 2014). The children rebelled once again last weekend at the Barlow Center in Hudson, as Nightingale Opera Theatre staged three performances of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. And once again, the witch didn’t survive the trip through her own oven. I saw the show, which was sung in English, on Sunday, June 29.
It was talented student casts who turned the tables on the sorceress in those previous performances. Nightingale, a company of professional singers, brought an especially high level of vocal prowess and acting experience to Humperdinck’s retelling of the famous fairy tale, while retaining the feel of a community production by casting young human beings as children and angels. Read the rest of this entry »