Sunday, June 19, 2005

i know, i know, i'll never work in this town again

or anywhere else for that matter.

this appeared in today's paper, or so i'm told.....not in my paper, just online.

Review: Debut a valiant effort
But 'Don Giovanni' proves difficult for the Living Opera

11:34 PM CDT on Saturday, June 18, 2005

CHISM / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

was a bold move by the Living Opera to program a heavyweight masterpiece such as
Mozart's Don Giovanni as its first production.

It was also a rash move. Friday night's debut performance fell well below professional standards. At its best, it was like an opera workshop production by a school of music with funding difficulties. At its worst, it was not even that good.

The cast was earnest and in some cases charming. But too many of them lacked the vocal heft necessary for their parts and the technique to handle the big numbers. None of the scenes carried the punch you would expect of a professional company, and a few cases of vocal difficulty left you squirming in sympathy for the soloist.

The Don Giovanni, Kirk Eichelberger, has a robust voice capable of projecting the commanding presence necessary for the part, but even he was not without some problems Friday night.

One bright spot was the playing of the orchestra, which was conducted by Dr. Stephen Holcomb. It was a capable ensemble, though the sound was a little thin and clearer articulation in some passages would have been welcome.

Company general director Michael Chadwick was the stage director. He is a traditionalist (no Eurotrash, thank you) with a few clever new twists to old situations. He played up the comedic elements in this unusual hybrid of drama and comedy without stepping over the bounds of taste.

No doubt owing to budget problems, the company had to make do with makeshift sets. One element was computer-generated scenery dimly projected onto a large screen at the rear of the Eisemann Center stage. Early on, somebody forgot to move the arrow-shaped cursor, which appeared onscreen and occasionally changed to an hourglass.

That was the only high-tech element. The rest of the scenery had to be moved by stagehands with the curtain still up. Because of this, there were some long pauses between scenes in an opera in which they usually flow into one another. One result was that the opera, which started at 7:30 p.m., lasted until 11. It seemed as long as a
Wagnerian opera, but without the impact.

Maybe the Living Opera should consider less demanding works and pay closer attention to voices and their pertinence to parts.


um, yeah. the only thing that makes me wonder, is his praise of the orchestra!? they couldn't follow the conductor out of a paper bag! want to know why the show was extra long, why maybe there were some uncomfortable moments for vocalists? it's called the orchestra not following the conductor. anyhoo, only other question is why sit on this and file it three minutes after a reveiw of a dso concert. or do i misunderstand the time/date stamp?