Monday, Oct 20, 2014
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 40 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 9 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 19
Fun, fun, fun at Seattle Opera with the engaging Tales of Hoffman
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Fun, fun, fun at Seattle Opera with the engaging Tales of Hoffman

by Rod Parke - SGN A&E Writer

THE TALES OF HOFFMAN
SEATTLE OPERA
MCCAW HALL
Through May 17


Seattle Opera's current production of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffman) is an excellent example of how engaging opera can be when all the right elements come together at the same time. It's a complete show; music, voices, acting, visuals ... all work to make the story compelling and the trip to the theater rewarding.

These elements worked especially well together in the first act, during which the poet E.T.A. Hoffmann falls in love with a beautiful animated doll, which he mistakes for human. Direction by Chris Alexander was tight and very effective. As in all the best moments of this performance, the actors/singers enlivened their roles with telling movement and expression. Norah Amsellem, portraying all four female leads (one silent), was a delight as she acted like a machine imitating life.

This opera was the first I ever saw live, back in 1956, at the Old Metropolitan Opera on West 39th Street in NYC. In those days, the three soprano parts were usually sung by three different people ... and for good reason: their music is of three different types. Act One: high coloratura. Act Two: lyric soprano. Act Three: mezzo-soprano of an especially warm, sensuous timbre, as befits a seductive courtesan. (The last two acts were also in the opposite order at the Met.) Nowadays, as in the current production, a single soprano often tackles all three roles. Norah Amsellem did about as good a job of meeting the dissimilar vocal demands of these three roles as one could expect. She even had a real trill! But I prefer to revel in the three types of voices that used to be cast, because the one-size-fits-all approach has got to be less than ideal in at least one of the three parts.

Seattle favorite, William Burden, handled the long, demanding tenor role as Hoffmann with apparent ease. His attractive, bright tone poured forth in perfect legato lines, full of passion that was heightened by his shimmering vibrato. Still young in appearance and agile on stage, he left little to be desired. As his muse/sidekick, mezzo Kate Lindsey made a most welcome return to Seattle and got the biggest ovation of the evening (other than Speight Jenkins ... but more about that below). Lindsey could not have been more natural on stage, and her singing was flawless.

Playing the evil villain in all three acts was bass-baritone Nicolas Cavallier in his Seattle debut. I cannot flaw his performance either dramatically or vocally (omitting the often added high note at the end of his 'Diamond Aria'), but I'll admit to being spoiled by memories of John Relyea at the 2005 performances here or, for that matter, George London coming up out of trap doors at the above-mentioned '56 Old Met performance. Another debut performer, tenor Keith Jameson, deserves special praise for making each of his four character roles memorable. His sound while singing an aria by the deaf servant Frantz was perfectly shaped to sound indeed like an old man, but was at the same time absolutely lovely in tone and lyric ease.

Seattle Opera veterans tenor Steven Cole and bass Arthur Woodley were, as always, about perfect in their parts, with Cole giving an especially sharp characterization to his role as Spalanzani, the creator of the mechanical doll of Act One. One could not but also notice the lovely tenor of Eric Neuville, formerly of the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program. All this talent was more than ably supported by the superb Seattle Opera Chorus, the pliant but urgent conducting of Yves Abel, and the excellent visuals of the sets by Robert Dahlstrom and costumes by Marie-Therese Cramer. As usual, the members of the Seattle Symphony lent perfect shading to Offenbach's delightful melodies and never drowned out the singers.

To finish the curtain calls, retiring Director Speight Jenkins received a thunderous and well-deserved ovation for his 31 years of inspired and tireless dedication to both the art of opera and to everyone who helped him achieve such heights. He entertained us with three short stories of unforgettable moments from his long adventures at Seattle Opera. (New General Director Aidan Lang takes over this summer.)

Reviewer Rod Parke can be reached at rmp62@columbia.edu.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

That girl from Once: An interview with Dani de Waal
------------------------------
La Femme Magnifique Seattle drag pageant and competition to be held at Neighbours on May 18
------------------------------
Brent Amaker turns 50; celebrates with The Rodeo
------------------------------
Elton John books Seattle date in November
------------------------------
Fun, fun, fun at Seattle Opera with the engaging Tales of Hoffman
------------------------------
Nice room - OK view
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
LETTERS
------------------------------
Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins lays it on the (dotted) line
------------------------------
2014 Translations Film Festival preview
------------------------------
Haunting Ruin a gothic American tragedy
------------------------------
Bawdy Neighbors worth getting to know
------------------------------
2014 Summer Preview - May & June
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2013

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News