This opera is a rather simple affair, where the entire storyline is 'Valcour loves Leontine and absolutely cannot spit it out until their mutual friends and a young peasant couple in love inspire him to do so', and… that's it.
While the direction was creative and clear for the most part, I felt the show was trying to tackle too many struggles in a way that I think somewhat detracted from what I assume the primary allegory is: the need for feminism.
The set and design were a technical marvel. The massive stage was filled with a giant cube, with morphing walls and configurations set on a revolve. There seemed to be an endless amount of staircases.
Together, Pulliam and Brown form a powerhouse duo, breathing life into the timeless narrative of I pagliacci.
Cecilia Violetta López's portrayal of Violetta Valéry was a _tour de force_. Her nuanced performance effortlessly traversed the character's emotional complexity, delivering a portrayal that was both vulnerable and powerful.
Vocally breathtaking, with phenomenal control, [MacKinnon] would effortlessly float high notes above the orchestra, and then tackle larger passages with incredible vocal strength and size. An absolute force of nature who brought the house down.
'When [you ask me why] I sing, I get a wonderful release, a release of stress, an emotional release. I also I like the giving to people and I like making them feel goosebumps. I like making them feel emotional, want to cry or want to throw something. I like eliciting an emotional response from them.'
The tenor's wrenching interpretations of the cycle's 14 songs while performing strenuous physical movement left no doubt that he was as wholly committed to the rigors of Doppelgänger as he was to the rueful Schwanengesang.
Eschewing any trace of strained posturing or winking high-art condescension she embellished each group of songs with a musical aura; a subtle shift in posture, a theatrical gaze reflecting her oneness with the music and a spot-on sense of purpose.
It remains essential to engage in a nuanced conversation about the intricate legacy of the man behind the music. The Flying Dutchman, with its timeless themes of love, redemption, and eternal yearning continues to captivate audiences, even as we grapple with the enduring shadows of Wagner's beliefs.