We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


The Hot Box Girls (plus one)

We just can't stay away from Opera Burlesque performed by The Hot Box Girls! The part of their performances that amazes us is that they can produce such exemplary singing while artistically disrobing. Singing alone requires attention to so many details--breathing, phrasing, diction, communication, dynamic control, etc.  Throw a little ecdysiastic action into the pot and one wonders how these lovely ladies can be so successful.

We have enjoyed their shows, at the opulent and intimate Duane Park on The Bowery, a number of times but this is the first time we got to hear Founder and Artistic Director Rebecca Greenstein, freshly arrived from Vienna, where she is enjoying a great artistic success.  She tells us that the Viennese have edgier taste than we New Yorkers do.  Here in the Big Apple, the material is largely confined to arias that we know and love.  Nothing wrong with that!  We are willing to bet that some members of the audience came for the T&A and left with a taste for opera.

Presenting opera in new ways, in new places, and directed toward a new audience, is all the rage these days. So, we sit on wooden bleachers drinking beer and we sit in elegant nightclubs drinking champagne. All for the sake of art.

The cast of Opera Burlesque changes from month to month.  Who knew there were so many opera singers with ecdysiastic talent! One favorite of ours is Trixie La Fée (née Francesca Caviglia) whom we have requested to never ever drop her act with the two huge red feathered fans. Her artistic manipulation of these props have interesting resonances as wings of a bird or a butterfly.
Not only that but she has a scintillating soprano which she showed off well in "V'adoro pupille" from Handel's Giulio Cesare; she has a commendable coloratura as well as a way with feathers.

New to us this time around was Ladybird Finch (née Rachel O'Malley) who was lovely in "Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle?" from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.

Dixie DeLight (née Kacey Cardin) is always a delight and we particularly enjoyed her "Ah! non credea mirarti" from Bellini's La Sonnambula. Regular readers will recall our affection for bel canto and Ms. Cardin did justice to this gorgeous aria.

Also on hand and well-remembered from prior performances was Sean D'Leer (née Melanie Long) who put a lot of pizazz into Rosina's aria "Una voce poco fa" from Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Ms. Greenstein herself, appearing as Jessica DoRight, worked the audience well as Musetta in "Quando m'en vo" from Puccini's La Bohème, strolling through the audience and teasing the men, just as Musetta would have done.

It occurred to us how well the selections were chosen in that they mostly all provided an excuse to flirt, entice, and seduce.

Even the lone male in the show, Lance-a-lot (née Brad Lassiter) was seductive as Escamillo in the "Toreador Song" from Bizet's Carmen and as Sergeant Belcore in "Come Paride vezzoso" from Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore.

Seth Weinstein as Count von Bang-it-out produced the always reliable piano accompaniment.

Allyson Webb (as Ally Cat) had a non-singing role as a French maid who assisted the singers in unlacing their corsets and picking up discarded garments. She put a lot of personality into the role.

The closing number, sung in English, was the bubbly "Champagne Chorus" from the beloved operetta Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr.  We raise our glasses as well to toast new forms, new venues, new audiences,and new converts to opera.  PROSIT!

(c) meche kroop

No comments:

Post a Comment