"I am also excited to have a predominantly female production team around me, made up of inspiring women with strong ideas and the conviction to realise them."
Audience stereotypes, flute-sex toy jokes, the inflated power of theatre ushers - it was all coming at me like a good roast. It was like that weird experience where someone tells you about yourself, picking out details that seem random or unexpected.
This was an example of intelligent, thoughtful programming, a wonderful way to showcase Ensemble Modern, and an opportunity to feature the work George Benjamin, a true household name by now.
This Ariodante exemplifies what I hope to see more of from the Lyric in future seasons: creative, specific staging performed by committed and compelling singer-actors, with top-notch direction in the pit.
"I've been singing from the time I was three. Singing has always been a great comfort. As a child I had a wild imagination and I was always creating little scenes. If I was playing with leaves, I would make pathways and roads."
If we look too closely with our 21st-century lens, Montezuma could be seen as problematic. Why champion the Spanish, when their colonialism was so vicious?
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.