The program's narrative is constructed from carefully monitored, highly produced confessionals. Applause signs and sensational graphics provoke tailored reactions from the studio audience, which itself seems on the show's payroll.
In her program note, McIntyre wrote that Don Giovanni is an opera "replete with grey areas, starting with Giovanni's own moral ambiguity." But in reality, the libretto couldn't be clearer, from the violent rape in the very opening scene to his refusal to repent in the grim finale.
It was very much a young person's opera and was therefore theatrical in a way that is rarely seen in large scale opera productions. Though it is meant for a younger crowd, it wasn't overly simplified or polite. It was gritty, honest, and unapologetic.
If anyone doubted the longevity of Opera Atelier's plans to commission new works, they've been quick to prove themselves. It makes me more curious to hear their mainstage season, knowing that the company has more than one baroque trick up their sleeve.
Accompanied by a chamber orchestra seated on stage, the show had all the grand, theatrical trappings of opera, sized down into a portable, affordable package.
Director Arin Arbus returns to re-mount her production of La traviata from LOC's 2013-14 season. Conductor Michael Christie, making his own LOC debut with this run, brings his expertise in new music to bear on this classic score, leading the LOC orchestra with urgency and dramatic sensitivity.
The POV chorus deserves a huge shoutout for this production, the chorus numbers were incredibly precise, blended perfectly, and the choreography in the large number of dance routines they were given was brilliant.
While The Elixir of Love is a comedic masterpiece, Donizetti's music ranges from brilliant and bubbly to languid and lush. The orchestra, led by David Agler, showcased this mercurial ambiance with clarity and nuance.
The schtick tightened up during the second half and the story leavened. The actors seemed to relax into their characters' inner lives once their outer circumstances had a discernible logic. Liberated from conceptual mumbo jumbo, the score and libretto timed better with the on-stage action. Finally, things made sense.
Their voices pulled and pushed at Gluck’s music and Calzabigi's text, stretching and pulling and coloring every last note that made practically their entire run through the opera feel important.