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.
Though still young, Higgins is a seasoned composer; and though there are learning curves to writing for the voice, he wisely keeps his eyes on the final product: an opera for families.
"You know, thank goodness that we're beginning to deal more and more with questions and issues of diversity. But Young Artist Programs can't deal with the diversity questions if there isn't a pipeline beforehand."
Every bit of this production was beautifully and intricately crafted; from the dazzling, elaborate costumes, to the evocative colour palette, it was a fully immersive experience that was moving in the most unexpected ways.
For those looking to escape into a Shakespearean fantasy world filled with fairies, comical misunderstandings, and top-notch singing, this production of Midsummer is not to be missed.