Sunday, June 9, 2024


 Curtain Call for Guilty Pleasures

Friday night, Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble gave us two one-act pieces that made us think. Last night, they gave us an evening of pure entertainment. Is pure entertainment a guilty pleasure? LOL! We refuse to feel guilty about pleasure. We had a wonderful time, as did our companion. 

We think it's a great idea for opera singers to try their hand at cabaret; the need for gesture and facial expression should serve them well on the opera and concert stage. And from the audience standpoint, it was a real treat to hear the natural voice singing  the kind of music we usually avoid due to an intolerance of amplification.

Every artist was excellent and appreciated by a most enthusiastic audience. Some made a greater impact than others and only one interfered with audience engagement by the use of the loathed music stand. Let us mention a few of our favorite performances.

Mezzo-soprano Allison Deady, so effective as Annie in the previous night' production of Tickets, Please! showed a real flair for Offenbach in "Last night" from Christopher Columbus, an operetta with which we are not familiar and was equally impressive ending the show with the rousing "One Touch of Venus" from the eponymous Kurt Weill show.

From the same show, mezzo-soprano Rachelle Pike performed a sexy rendition of "Speak Low". Earlier in the evening, she delighted us with "Toothbrush Time" by William Bolcom, sharing an interesting anecdote with the audience.

Also from that show, Olivia Ericsson gave an expressive reading of "I'm a Stranger Here Myself", needing only to move around the stage more to take her performance to the next level.

Kaitlyn Tierney scored points for "Good 'n' Evil" from Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll and Hyde. Helen Haas did a great job using gestures and voice to build up to a climax in some French songs that were completely new to us. 

Elizaveta Kozlova, so effective as Anna I  in the prior night's performance of Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins, showed a completely different side of her artistry, having fun with "Whatever Lola Wants" from Adler and Ross' Damn Yankees. Valerie Filloux's charming performance of a pair of Schoenberg songs from his Brettl-Lieder reminded us that the composer wasn't always atonal. The songs were most accessible.

We enjoyed Thomas Walter's rendition of the "Alabama Song" from Kurt Weill's Mahagonny because he made every verse different. And Maestro Chris Fecteau tossed off an impressively novel arrangement of "Mack the Knife", making the old trite song fresh to our ears.

It was a fun evening and the audience left smiling. What more could one ask for on a Saturday night!

© meche kroop

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