Sunday, November 01, 2009

OK OK Opera Atelier Again - Iphigenie en Tauride 11/1/0

I suspect I could simply say "Yada - yada- yada". All my posts about our seeing the Sunday matinee of an Opera Atelier production are roughly of the form, "We just saw the latest production and it is the best one yet, and amazing!" I was not so sure of "the best one yet" but all the rest works well describing their wonderful production of Iphigenie en Tauride. Very very well. There were several rounds of curtain calls, not necessarily separated by the curtain, but repeated insistence by our audience to recognize pretty much everyone involved. The sad thing is we could not recognize either Euripides or Christophe Willibald Gluck.
I am now deeply accustomed to watching Opera Atelier productions, so it may be that some of the productions jump out less at me now; this is not to say I do not bathe in the magic on the stage, but that I am more familiar. And much did jump out at me; what is lovely is that the company is getting very good at using the Web and creates a very useful discussion of what they are doing differently, and it hits beautifully much of what struck me.

Opera Atelier's Iphigénie en Tauride from Opera Atelier on Vimeo.

This is a bit long but NOT boring at all if you have ever considered seeing a Baroque Opera.
Now, one great thing they do is get people in to talk about the operas; normally it is some musical expert, but this time it was a classicist, and she was quite helpful to me, as I had forgotten the Atreid stories, and she counterpointed Euripides and Aeschylus, and the wonderful thing Euripides does with Iphegenia, changing her from an utter victim to a vital actor. And the opera made me love this story.
And next, Gluck. It is only recent productions by Opera Atelier that have ever made me really listen to Gluck, and my gosh, it is fine. He matches the music to drama so beautifully, and can produce such stunningly lyrical arias.
For me the two greatest arias were Plyade's commitment to Oreste in the second act (in another opera the love leads would have had this one), and then Iphigenie's aria just after Oreste has told her what has happened to her family.
The scenes mentioned in the OA discussion above were also great.
The themes - again this was about taking the Atreid story into a tale where self-sacrifice replaced the tribal "barbarian" story, carried out by Greeks, that preceded it. There is much in the text balancing the murderous barbarian interpretations of the tribal requirements of the gods with a more balanced respect for nature (I'd like to think human nature, but not all the humans are there yet).
And now on to the implementation. Every performer was great - I am used to seeing most of them now, so perhaps am less impressed by how completely naturally Peggy Kriha Dye performs; she was superb. Other ensemble members, also excellent, were Olivier Laquerre and Curtis Sullivan.
And Pinkoski's notion that he was doing this production FOR Kresimir Spicer is a fine one; he (Kresimir - I know that behind the scenes Pynkowski is always blowing me away) blew me away last year, and was a fabulous Oreste. Bring him back!
So let me sing the praises of the new guy, Thomas Macleay; woo-hoo! A fine performer (if you cannot act and get the gestures, you won't get used - he did both), but also a wonderful singer, and his French diction was the best in show - sometimes I did not need to read the surtitles. Great find!
OK - I REALLY LIKED IT. And Yes that is screaming not just Caps Lock. So anyone who might want to see - it is running all next week and you have all the links you need.
And as a last resort, if you want to see eight young guys, barely dressed, with utterly ripped bodies, jumping all over a stage. Get a ticket.
(Other OA shows I would have MORE recommended the women dancers, but not this one.)


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