|The talented crew from Heartbeat Opera|
There are two kinds of people on Planet Opera--the people who make it happen and the people who support them. Before we brought our own website into being we wrote reviews for The Opera Insider which aimed to provide a forum for both populations to exchange ideas. The Opera Insider is no more but we still relish the opportunity to mingle with and exchange ideas with young artists. Last night at the stunning sky-high apartment of Jill Steinberg (an artist herself in the field of interior design) we got a more intimate look at one of our favorite small companies--Heartbeat Opera.
This is Heartbeat Opera's third season and they have distinguished themselves by their unique approach of including visual artists right from the very start. This team approach is all-encompassing and amounts to a 21st c. version of Richard Wagner's gesamtkunstwerk. Anyone who attends one of their productions is destined to become a loyal fan. We well recall our first exposure to Heartbeat Opera. It was Jacques Offenbach's Daphnis and Chloe and it impressed us with its imaginative staging as well as fine singing.
Since then we have seen all of their productions and always recognize a special spark that brings the work into the 21st c. without betraying the intentions of the composer and librettist. This is exactly what it takes to bring opera into the entertainment sphere of young people. Affordable tickets and stimulating productions ensure a new young audience.
Last night's soiree introduced a select audience to the fine work of Heartbeat Opera and also introduced two female stars who will be appearing in the Spring Season. If these two young women did not knock your socks off, you must have been barefoot to start out with! Sichel Claverie absolutely sizzled as the gypsy heroine Carmen from the Bizet opera of the same name. Banlingyu Ban touched our heart as Cio-cio San in "Un bel di" from Puccini's Madama Butterfly.
These two operas are favorites that have become cliches. But in the hands of Co-Artistic Directors Louisa Proske and Ethan Heard we feel confident in expecting a fresh look at both and we feel equally confident in urging our readers to get their tickets early before they are gone. We hate to see opera-lovers disappointed.
There was plenty more entertainment last night. Ms. Ban treated us to a very sexy "Meine Lippen sie kussen so heiss" from Franz Lehar's Giuditta and then Ms. Claverie dazzled us with "Carceleras" from Ruperto Chapi's zarzuela, Las Hijas del Zebedeo which she performed with extra sazon.
There was also a lovely performance of Elgar's "Capricieuse" perfomed by Jacob Ashworth on the violin and Lee Dionne on the piano.
So far, half of the funds needed for the Spring season (May 20-28) have already been raised and if you have been looking for an opportunity to make a difference on Planet Opera, now's your chance to support a daringly innovative company. It sure beats banging your head on a wall trying to change the current abhorrent political situation. Make a difference!
And don't forget to read the enthusiastic article in Opera News!
(c) meche kroop