Sunday, June 9, 2024


 Tickets, Please!
(Photo by Brian Long)

Dear Reader!  We are halfway through Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble's exciting Spring season and having a fine time. We would, however, want you to have an even better time than we did, so we urge you to prepare yourself before the upcoming double bill of  Tickets, Please and The Seven Deadly Sins. We make it a point to avoid reading about productions before attending, hoping that the works will speak for themselves. In this case, some preparation would have been helpful.

What we enjoyed at the double bill was some excellent singing and acting and some highly astute direction by Jessica Harika. Maestro David Štech conducted and Maestro Chris Fecteau provided keyboard accompaniment. What was missing was a program with a synopsis. There were no projected titles and one's ability to understand rested heavily on the clarity of each singer's enunciation. The setup was a stage with areas of seats facing each other, somewhat reminiscent of "theater in the round" in which actors are often facing away from you and not clearly audible.

The best preparation for Tickets, Please would be reading the short story with the same title which was contained within D.H. Lawrence's compilation England My England which was published in 1922. Lawrence had plenty to say about the effects of The Great War on British society, particularly about the absence of men on the home front and the masculinization (liberation) of women who were allowed (needed) to take on "man's work". Part III of the story was adapted by Sidney L. Berger and set to some agreeable music by Robert Nelson.

The work is accessible and can be experienced as social commentary with amusing moments and rueful ones. In the past century, the battle for gender dominance has not been won, making the work relevant. A group of women employed as transit workers gang up on their supervisor who has been careless with the affections of Annie (the excellent Allison Deady). The boss John Turner (effectively portrayed by Dicky Dutton is beaten and humiliated by his crew, comprising Rachelle Pike, Sadie Spivey, Helen Sanchez, Kaitlyn Tierney, and Carlyle Quinn. You will have to see for yourself (and we do recommend it) to learn whether Annie gets vindication, or...........

Elisa Toro Franky and Elizaveta Kozlova
(Photo by Brian Long)

The second half of the double bill is a "ballet chanté" entitled The Seven Deadly Sins, composed by Kurt Weill to a libretto by Bertolt Brecht, so you know it is going to be biting and satirical. The man who commissioned it wanted a piece for his dancer wife and thus we have the role of Anna shared by the wonderful soprano Elizaveta Kozlova and dancer Elisa Toro Franky who were coiffed and dressed ( by Angela Huff) in nearly identical garments. Anna I, for those unfamiliar with the work, represents the superego, rational and practical and judgmental, whilst Anna II represents the free spirited id. 

Anna has been sent abroad to seven different cities in the USA to earn money so that her family can build a house. Each city represents a different adventure (sin) which, in real life, does not correspond in any way. The family was portrayed by Jeremy Sivitz, Thomas Walters, Renato Estacio, and Jason Adamo as "Mother" in a dress and apron. There is a delicious variety of musical styles and enough satire to tempt the blasé.

Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble is dear to our heart, sharing our wish to assist young artists in their development. It is unfortunate that so many of our beloved small opera companies have folded or strayed from the path. We honor Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble for soldiering through these difficult times.

© meche kroop

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