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Behind the scenes with lyric tenor Eric Margiore as Rodolfo, bass Ricardo Lugo as Alfieri, and the Michigan Opera Theatre chorus as they rehearse A View from the Bridge.

overview

A View from the Bridge

Opera in two acts

Music: William Bolcom
Libretto: Arnold Weinstein and Arthur Miller
Premiere: Chicago, 1999

Running time: about 2.5 hours
Sung in English

Eddie Carbone is an Italian American longshoreman in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn in the 1950s. When Rodolfo immigrates to America and falls in love with Eddie’s niece, Eddie is unable to come to terms, which leads to tragedy. Libretto by Arnold Weinstein and Arthur Miller, based on Miller's play of the same name. Music by Grammy and Pulitzer winner William Bolcom. Not to be missed!

   

Starring

 
     
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KIM JOSEPHSON, Eddie
“It will be such a pleasure to work with Kim Josephson again in the role of Eddie. Kim was an original cast member in the opera’s premiere and has performed it many times – he really owns the part. What a happy surprise it is that his daughter Kiri will be playing the role of Eddie’s niece Catherine in this production.”

– William Bolcom

     
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KIRI DEONARINE, Catherine
Kiri Deonarine… not only sang it with abundant sweetness but acted it with a bubbly charm.

-Chicago Tribune

     
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ERIC MARGIORE, Rodolfo
Ripping into his role with brilliance and style, brio and high-octane vocalism… uniquely Italianate voice … American Idol looks.

-Opera News

     
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BEVERLY O'REGAN THIELE, Beatrice
The strong cast was led by the bright-voiced soprano Beverly O'Regan Thiele.

-New York Times

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JONATHAN LASCH, Marco
Lasch delivered a complete portrayal ... while projecting a voice of arresting color and heft. His performance was a tour-de-force.

-Cincinnati Enquirer

     

ARtists

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KIM JOSEPHSON
Baritone
Role: Eddie

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KIRI DEONARINE
Soprano
Role: Catherine

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ERIC MARGIORE
Tenor
Role: Rodolfo

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JONATHAN LASCH
Baritone
Role: Marco

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BEVERLY O'REGAN THIELE
Soprano
Role: Beatrice

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RICARDO LUGO
Bass
Role: Alfieri

 

 

 

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SUZANNE MALLARE ACTON
Conductor

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TAZEWELL THOMPSON
Director

 

Video

Kim Josephson and Kiri Deonarine:

 

BEHIND THE SCENES

With lyric tenor Eric Margiore as Rodolpho, bass Ricardo Lugo as Alfieri, and the Michigan Opera Theatre chorusin rehearsal.

Please note: Singers sometimes choose to mark (sing half voice or an octave down) during rehearsals in order to save their voices when they are working a scene.

synopsis

Act I

In Red Hook, Brooklyn, in the 1950's, the lawyer Alfieri leads a chorus of neighborhood people in telling the story of dockworker Eddie Carbone.

Eddie has arranged for two of his wife Beatrice's cousins from Italy to come to America illegally, as "submarines", and work on the docks. Beatrice's niece Catherine lives with them; Eddie is overprotective, complaining about her clothes, and only reluctantly agrees to let her take a job as a stenographer.

The submarines arrive, Marco and Rodolfo. Marco has a wife and children in Italy, but Rodolfo is single, attractive, and "practically blond"; Catherine is immediately attracted to him. Rodolfo tells of his plans to return to Italy with enough money to buy a motorcycle to deliver messages on, and explains that he once got a job singing in a restaurant. When he starts to sing, Eddie warns him to keep a low profile, but Catherine is clearly impressed.

As the weeks pass, Catherine and Rodolfo are spending more time together, and Eddie complains to Beatrice that Rodolfo only wants to marry her so he can be a citizen. But Beatrice has a different problem; Eddie has been neglecting her for months. Eddie confronts Catherine when she gets home, but Beatrice comforts her, warning her that Eddie's attitude may be jealousy.

Eddie goes to Alfieri to see if the law can help him stop the marriage, claiming that he thinks Rodolfo is gay. But Alfieri warns Eddie that he has to let Catherine go, telling him that the only way to stop the wedding would be to report Rodolfo to Immigration, which the neighborhood would see as a betrayal.

Instead, Eddie taunts Rodolfo with his effeminate ways, and under the pretense of teaching him to box, knocks him down. Marco, annoyed with Eddie, challenges him to a contest of strength and wins, as Rodolfo dances with Catherine.

Act II

While Beatrice is Christmas shopping and Eddie and Marco are at work, Catherine and Rodolfo are left alone in the apartment. Rodolfo reassures her that he loves her, but refuses to return to Italy with her to starve. He tells her she has to leave Eddie's house.

When Eddie returns, drunk, and sees the two of them coming out of the bedroom, he tries to throw Rodolfo out. When Catherine tries to stop him, he grabs her and kisses her passionately; when Rodolfo intervenes, Eddie kisses him as well, claiming that "he likes it."

Later, Eddie tells the lawyer that he's sure now that Rodolfo is gay. Alfieri warns Eddie of what will happen if he turns the submarines in to Immigration, but he still makes the phone call. When he learns that two more submarines have arrived, he tries to get them all out, but Immigration arrives before any of them can escape. As he is taken away, Marco spits in Eddie's face, accusing him in front of the crowd. Eddie claims to be innocent, but his neighbors turn away and refuse to speak to him.

In prison, Marco is angry that the law has no punishment for Eddie, who is sending him back to poverty and dooming his children to die of hunger.

Beatrice tries to convince Eddie to come to Catherine and Rodolfo's wedding, but he refuses, until Marco apologizes for accusing him. Rodolfo tells Eddie that Marco is out of prison and looking for Eddie, but Eddie refuses to leave. Beatrice tries to tell Eddie that what he wants is not Marco's apology but Catherine, but it is too late; Marco has arrived. The two men fight, and when Eddie pulls a knife, Marco forces it back into Eddie's chest. As he dies in Beatrice's arms, Alfieri and the chorus reflect on the uselessness and inevitability of Eddie's downfall.

Bolcom

WILLIAM BOLCOM is an American composer and pianist born in 1938.

His works include:

  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience (won Multiple Grammys)
  • Twelve New Etudes for Piano (won Pulitzer Prize in Music)
  • Four operas: Lucrezia, McTeague, A View from the Bridge and A Wedding
  • Symphonies, concertos, chamber music, songs, and film scores.

RECENT PREMIERES

  • 2013: Suite No. 2 for Solo Violin (Gil Shaham) and Games and Challenges:  Something Wonderful Right Away (Time for Three and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Krzysztof Urbanski)
  • 2012: Second Piano Quintet (Pro Arte Quartet and pianist Christopher Taylor); Chestnuts [4 songs]  (Emalie Savoy, soprano, Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, Dimitri Pittas, tenor, Joshua Hopkins, baritone, and Warren Jones, piano); Gettysburg, July 1, 1853 (Nathan Wyatt, baritone and Lucas Wong, piano); Ninth Symphony (Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra [Rice University], Larry Rachleff, conductor); and The Jersey Side (soprano Christine Brewer and pianist Roger Vignoles)

PIANIST

As a pianist he has recorded for Advance, Jazzology, Musical Heritage, Nonesuch, Vox, and Omega. For 40 years throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad, he has performed and recorded with his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris.

AWARDS

Various awards throughout William Bolcom's career include:

2011: Recipient of American Music Center Letter of Distinction
2010: Inducted into American Classical Music Hall of Fame
2010: Recipient of the Eddie Medora King Award from The University of Texas at Austin, Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music
2010: Honorary Doctor of Music from University of Hartford
2007: Named "Composer of the Year" by Musical America
2006: National Medal of Arts bestowed by the President of the United States
2006: Named Outstanding Classical Composer at the Detroit Music Awards
2006: Honorary Doctor of Music from Baldwin-Wallace College
2006: The recording of his Songs of Innocence and of Experience received four Grammys for Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance, Best Classical Contemporary Composition, and Best Producer of the Year/Classical
2004: Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from New School University in New York
2003: Recipient of the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award from the University of Washington
2001: Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts from New England Conservatory of Music
1997: The University of Michigan's Henry Russel Lectureship, awarded to a senior faculty member
1995: Honorary Doctor of Music from Albion College
1994: Honorary Doctor of Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music
1993: Koussevitzky Foundation Award for Lyric Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (written for James Galway)
1992: Investiture in the American Academy of Arts and Letters
1988: The Pulitzer Prize for Music for Twelve New Etudes for Piano
1977: The Henry Russel Award, the highest academic prize given by the University of Michigan
1976: Koussevitzky Foundation Award for the First Piano Quartet

1966: The Marc Blitzstein Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters for Dynamite Tonite, an opera for actors written with Arnold Weinstein
1965, 1968: Two Guggenheim fellowships
1953: BMI award

In addition:
Several Rockefeller Foundation awards
Several NEA grants
The Michigan Council for the Arts Award
The Governor's Arts Award from the State of Michigan

Article

A VIEW FROM WILLIAM BOLCOM

bolcomScore212.jpgWhen first offered the commission, William Bolcom wasn’t sure he even wanted to compose A View from the Bridge, based on Arthur Miller’s play. He had grown “allergic” to Miller, a condition brought on from seeing too many “heavy-footed, didactic and preachy” productions.

Miller, Bolcom laments, has “been the victim of more bad directing than any other playwright.”

But assurance came from his long-time collaborator, Arnold Weinstein, who with Miller would co-write the libretto. “Those directors,” Weinsten told him, “are missing the whole point of Arthur. Go back and read the play.”

In doing so, Bolcom discovered what the directors had been missing: Miller’s humor.

“Even in the darkest moments, there’s a bit of humor,” he says.

Bolcom’s advocates the approach of an English director who announced to the cast: “We’re going to play it as if it were Noel Coward.” In other words, explains Bolcom, “use a light touch because the thing’s going to be heavy all by itself.”

“Room” for an opera

Certain plays can be enhanced by musical treatment, others are stubborn. And then there are those where it simply doesn’t belong, Bolcom says.

Setting Shakespeare, for example, never grasped his interest. “You’re stuck with the original; I don’t want to gild the lily,” he says. Nor would he ever want to set a Tennessee Williams play as an opera. “There’s no room for anybody else in his plays. I have to find some reason to do it. Otherwise, while bother?”

Bolcom recalls that someone once proposed to Arthur Miller a Broadway Musical version of Death of a Salesman. Miller politely listened to the entire presentation, “and when they finished Arthur said ‘No,’ and that was the end of it.”

But A View from the Bridge had elements that invited operatic treatment, such as the chorus. In the stage play version, Eddie Carbone’s neighbors don’t talk. “It’s too expensive to give them lines. But in an opera, not only can the neighbors talk; they can sing.” Thus, librettists Weinstein and Miller treated the Red Hook community like a chorus in a Greek tragedy.

And when Bolcom decided that Marco needed an aria, Arthur Miller wrote A Ship Called Hunger. Bolcom had actually written the music for that aria two years earlier, not knowing where it was going to fit in. “Amazingly,” says Bolcom, “when I got the text for Marco’s aria, it fit my music perfectly.” Miller and Bolcom also expanded Beatrice’s line from the play, “When am I gonna be a wife again?” into an aria.

In his way, Bolcom has restored the notion of the numbered opera. “I didn’t want to do a through-composed opera. If there’s no chance to breathe, or easily change the rate of the words going by, what has been added? What are we getting from the music that we didn’t have with the spoken word?”

“I did what I could to make Rodolfo’s number extractable.” That aria, New York Lights, now enjoys a life of its own outside of the opera.

The future of Opera

When asked to predict Opera’s heading, Bolcom first repeats a pithy bit from his legendary teacher: “Darius Milhaud always said ‘The direction will go in the direction of the next great composer,’” before continuing soberly: “Now that’s what he would say. On the other side, I would say that a problem in classical music is the disparity between the venue — essentially a 19th century one — and the 21st century atomization of our audience. You know what you want Opera to do, and what it should be able to do, but the machinery is oriented differently.”

Bolcom recalls that when he was writing McTeague, (his 1992 opera based on the American novel of the same name) someone on the street asked him if the opera was going to be in English: “They assumed that McTeague might be in Italian!” Nevertheless, Bolcom’s three major operas are thriving. A Wedding, his comic opera based on the Robert Altman movie, is performed regularly, especially at colleges and conservatories. McTeague gets a fresh production at the new opera house in Linz in 2016, and A View from the Bridge has survived varied treatments throughout North America and Europe, including a German language translation.

“I’ve even seen a production of A View done at a Brooklyn store front with two pianos.”

-Mitch Carter

Opera Reviews

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A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

April 2014

 

 

 

 

 


CorinneO - Bingham Farms

Sensational! Fabulous! Moving!  I loved the whole opera--the music, the singing, the cast, the chorus, the orchestra--I was in tears at the end.  I am so glad that I purchased a second ticket to see it again!  Thanks to Dr. D and MOT for bringing that to us.

 

Margaret - Detroit

I'm glad a Spartan didn't write it!

 

MarytheK - Detroit

It felt so special to see this production. You're not humming on the way home; you're thinking about the stellar performance of Kim Josephson as Eddie...an opera memory was made tonight!

 

Thomas - Lake Orion

I did not like this opera.  The performers did a good enough job, but the material was lousy.  I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.  A waste of money and time.

 

HonestAbe - Garden City

This opera was more of a play, a real snoozer. Do not waste your time or money on this one unless you need somewhere to sleep for the evening.

 

Linda Pallone - Detroit

It was the greatest of privileges to witness the opening performance of A View from the Bridge. I flew up today from the State of  Texas in order to keep a promise I made many years ago to Kim Josephson (Eddie Carbone) and his (real-life daughter) Kiri Deonarine (Catherine). I told them, "The day the two of you perform in the same opera, I will be there!" What an experience! It was a tremendous performance and a great evening. Its been an amazing journey. Love you Kim and Kiri!

 

James - Northville

This opera is strictly for the seasoned opera goer only and nobody is going to walk out of the house humming their favorite tune from this work. 

David DiChiera has established Michigan Opera Theatre with a well-deserved repuation where modern composers can find a voice. In recent years, Michigan Opera Theatre has commissioned works like Margaret Garner and Cyrano along with staging works such as Anoush and Dead Man Walking in a market where a less daring soul would have stuck safely to La Boheme, Carmen, La Traviata and Madama Butterfly.

Knowing that, I gladly purchased a ticket for the performance of Saturday April 5th knowing there was an excellent chance I would probably not enjoy it. I was not "disappointed" in that respect. The score is harsh, strident, and dissonnant with a greek style chorus that lends itself to nothing more than chorus on - chorus off entrances and exits and "park and bark" staging. The roles for the 2 sopranos in particular quite shrill and screechy.  Hard to blame the singers Kiri Deonarine and Beverly O'Reagan Thiele too much for that. The disjointed score has the soprano roles singing wildly through the extremes of their registers throughout the performance and their modest sized voices were often covered over by the heavy-handed orchestration. 

Then there was the issue of the text which would have been largely unintelligible had it not been for the projected surtitles. It's quite one thing to go a foreign-language opera and rely on the projected text to understand what is being said. But there is something profoundly uncomfortable about going to an English language production and having to almost totally rely on the projected text. Certainly the singers bear part of the blame for this. That said, it's a formidable enough task for a singer to get an unamplified voice out into a 2700-seat auditorium as is is without the added burden of such a disjointed dissonant score and thick orchestration.

On the plus side, the singing highlight of the evening clearly went to Jonathan Lasch in the role of Marco for his second act Soliloquy "A Ship Called Hunger" which was deliver with depth, passion, and vocal power which easily carried over the orchestra for one of the very few time during the evening. Mr.  Lasch is classified as a Baritone in the program but the coloring of the voice and the tessitura of the role was much closer to that of a deep bass.

In all, I give MOT an "A-," for the nobility of the effort. I have mixed emotions about the score so I'll give it a B for the effort to stay true to the original source material and an "F" for accessibility.

The cast gets a C. While they were clearly superior musicians to learn and sing such a difficult score, in the end, with the exception of Mr. Lasch, they were unable to deliver the text intelligibly.

The conventional staging gets a B. Nothing ground-breaking and no real mistakes.  The singers for the most part just stood / sat and sang which was again more a product of the material the director was working with. The two fight sequences, the first with Eddie and Rodolpho, and later between Eddie and Marco were cheesy and clumsily executed.

Overall Grade: D

 

David - Rochester

An excellent production--intense, gritty, visceral!  Makes you stop and think about the Brooklyn of times gone by and of the ups and downs of the families that lived there.

 

Disappointed Opera Fan - Detroit

A very disappointing evening of opera. The content was redundant and predictable. The orchestra appeared to struggle with the music or perhaps it was simply the dystonic composition. On the other hand, the vocal artistry and acting was exceptional. The opera failed its very talented cast of artists.

 

Mel Lester - Franklin

Outstanding - Always fun to see new things, particularly when performed by talent like this.

 

Annarborite - Ann Arbor

While I didn't particularly enjoy this (I enjoy the classics far more, and maybe in 200 years the public will love the View), the musicianship was superb.

 

Martha - Ann Arbor

A wonderful night at the opera due mainly to the uniformly stellar cast. Beautiful voices, great acting. A Greek tragedy set in an intimate 1950s living room. Buy a ticket while you still can!

 

Detroit - Detroit

Great, intriguing production. It is new compelling opera about our lives now. The theme of 'illegal' immigration was especially relevant. It is not familiar music, but it is a work you want to befriend for a lifetime. The music, voices, libretto and musicianship were STELLAR. Do not miss it if you are in the least musically open. Go.

 

Paul - Huntington Woods

It is true that you will not go home humming the tunes from A View from the Bridge, but then I have never found myself humming tunes from Hamlet, King Lear, or Othello either.  In the aftermath of all of these tragedies one is left with a moving complexity of feelings not easily reduced to words such as one frequently gets when viewing great art.  In A View From the Bridge, Arthur Miller's intent of making timeless  tragedy out of everyday life is profoundly realized.  The plot, staging and music all work together to foreshadow and intensify the production to a height of great tension. The spareness of the music, and its subtle strains and discordances, capture and intensify the sense of simple beautiful life gone terribly array.  Opera of course does this in more classical time distant dramas, as well.  Perhaps it is that distance which adds some unreality, together with the lush melodic sound, which make "classic operas" more to the liking of some. A View From the Bridge is a unique opportunity to see the painful yet magical and  distracting effect that an opera can have on its contemporary society.

We are lucky to have David DiChiera and the wonderful company he has built here,  Without him we never would have had the opportunity to share this marvelous experience.

 

Harriet-Detroit - Detroit

Strongly recommended - although I have some reservations about the opera as a whole.  It's not an "easy" opera to experience, and I understand why some opera goers would not like it. 

It is important for us to have the opportunity to experience operas written in the 20th century such as this.  While I can't say I loved it, I am glad to have seen it and would even see it again.  It's dissonance (noted by other reviewers) fits the story.  It reflects the Red Hook of the 1950's - and, actually the situation in terms of immigration in our society today, and the complexity of interpersonal relationships that can take place in a family.  

There were two beautiful arias (for the brothers Rodolfo and Marco) and I wish Prof Bolcom had given each of the other main characters one such aria to express the depth of their feelings and at the same time allowed the full range of their voices to show.  Kim Josephson's Eddie was perfect. He looked, he projected, and he expressed beautifully the depths of this tortured man who could not recognize -or admit- what he was feeling and why. 

It was a true tragedy - you know what's coming and you know you can't stop it- and the music's continuous rhythmic driving reflected the story well.  I thought the Second Act was more powerful than the first - perhaps because the characters were well developed by that time, and I was more used to the music's dissonance. 

So, I am glad to have had the opportunity to experience this opera and look forward to continued exploration of newer (and new) operas in the future under MOT's new President/CEO, Wayne Brown. 

PS I'd welcome the opportunity to see Dr. Di Chiera's Cyrano again!

 

Marguerite Polidori - Bingham Farms

This opera was well done & sung but I longed for some beautiful arias. However, my husband liked it. I am always open to new operas and stories as long as we still see some with beautiful music.

 

Steve Doyle - Troy

Overall I liked the opera.  The story was great and the singers were outstanding.  The use of the chorus was very inventive and the set was more than adequate.  The only downside, and this is a big one, the music did not appeal to me.  The only song with any hope of being memorable was "New York Lights" which was very well done.  I think more time and effort should have been spent by the writers developing a musical identity for the opera and including some songs with melodies rather than the sing-song approach of delivering the players lines.

 

Kinch - Pleasant Ridge

I quite liked this opera in spite of myself.  Before the intermission, the melodies--if you could call them that--were more like chants, flat and tuneless.  ("Gregorian chants without the charm.")  However, the cast had uniformly fine voices and were convincing actors.  The orchestra score had much more interest and variety than the vocal score.

After the intermission, the vocal score warmed up and included a couple of quite lovely arias.  The tenor in particular had an excellent voice and a moving aria.  The drama and the orchestra continued to be convincing and consistent with one another. 

All in all, despite my initial skepticism (I usually don't warm up to anything written much after 1800.), I am really glad I heard it, and I would go to it again if it were offered.

 

Critical Barb - Southfield

Absolutely sensational, from every point of view: story, music, singing, acting, staging, orchestra, in that order and in every other possible order.

The whole audience was just floored by the experience.  Don't miss it!

 

Suzanne Curtis - West Bloomfield

Absolutely superb! The story, voices, and especially the acting were outstanding.

 

Jack - Ann Arbor

Excellent! All opera lovers should see it but especially younger opera fans.  This is contemporary opera at its best.  The music is modern but both powerful and listenable.  Singing and acting was excellent.  Don't miss it!

 

CorinneO - Bingham Farms

It was even better the second time to see it.  Every member of the cast does a superb job.  I so enjoyed the chorus and narrator.
  
Thanks again to MOT for giving us the opportunity to see this fabulous opera in Detroit.

 

Judith Szefi - Troy

 I thoroughly enjoyed the performance.  The singing and acting were exceptional.  The orchestra and Ms. Acton's musical interpretation created a totally unified and artistic musical experience. Thank you Michigan Opera Theatre for continuing to bring interesting and new works to enhance our musical life.

 

Margaret Raben - West Bloomfield

A terrific presentation of a story that is universal.  You can tell this is an Arthur Miller story--the dialogue rings true even when sung. The arias are lovely and so right for the characters!  I hope people take a chance and see this opera.  I think long time opera goers will be pleased by an opera in a more contemporary setting and newbies will see why we long-timers enjoy opera so much.

 

Mary Mazure - Rochester Hills

A marvelous experience.  Mr. Josephson's performance alone made the evening. The opera involved you completely and gave everyone much to think about and discuss. The music carried the performers and the audience.  Thank MOT for such a wonderful chance to expand our horizons.

 

sam & barb subscribers - Sterling Heights

This was not an opera but a weak Broadway play with bad singing and horrible music.  People go to the opera to go back in time and enjoy beautiful music and singing with the great masters and to escape 21st century issues and problems.  They can read the papers for that or watch the six o'clock news.  Let's keep the opera house for real opera

 

Dan - Rochester

The opera A View from the Bridge is a deep psychodrama about a working man and his somewhat unusual family. The demons that haunt the main character Eddie Carbone are dark and destructive and convert a seemingly normal everyman into a controlling, paranoid tragi-figure. This is not Italian or German or European opera though. It is pure American – with libretto and music that feels very America. It even includes a little (very little, but unmistakably some) doo wop music and other popular American music forms. Like most great opera it explores human feeling - some good, some bad and some ugly – in words and music that leave a deep impression.  Go see this American opera – it is a great way to expand how we think and feel about this unique art form.

 

sandy watson - Redford

The actors and the theme of the opera were really good. But, the words, it was like kids wrote it. The words in an Italian opera are so beautiful and poetic. If the wording was just rewrote, it would be wonderful. There could have been more heartfelt expressions.  Disappointed.

 

S.Smith - Birmingham

It was a wonderful performance.  The music and the performers were pitch perfect in every sense,  and the overall effect was strong and moving and mesmerizing.

 

NotVeryModernOperaFan - Rochester Hills

I am no fan of modern music.  I like melody, lyricism, and beauty.  A View from the Bridge lacks all of these. The music is, to my ear, pretty awful.  I can sympathize with many early 20th-century opera patrons when they had to put up with "new" music; it's just not to my taste.  I also thought that the acting, while not always very important in opera, was, if not lacking in talent, at best was only as good as the music.  "Banal" and "lifeless" were terms that came to mind.  But that could have been because I hated the music so much.  Given the lack of grandeur and beauty of the setting, costumes and the staging, however, SOMETHING has to be there to keep my attention, to engage me, to involve me.  Sadly, there was nothing.  We left at the intermission because we were suffering from a combination of sensory deprivation (nothing to listen to, nothing to watch) and sensory assault (awful music, banal lyrics, ugly people).  My only possible regret is that 100 years from now people will read this review and say "What was he complaining about? It's a lovely opera. Now TODAY'S operas, they are REALLY terrible!"

 

Maurice Easton - Birmingham

I have always liked Arthur Miller's work. The opera was an interesting transposition. The music and the orchestra complemented the action on stage nicely. The chorus seems needlessly large. The Greek chorus concept could be accomplished with fewer people and still express the shunning of Eddie.

The cast and singing was strong. I believe that Eddie could have had a stronger acting presence as a sexually confused male with incestuous desires and a dock workers bluster.

All in all an interesting theatre experience.

 

John Callaghan - Clinton Township

 It was a great combination of drama and music even more so than many of the traditional operas.  I was deeply moved by Jonathan Lasch's aria in prison.  What a voice!

 

Conrad Donakowski - Okemos

Like all great opera, VIEW had many dimensions.  There were a couple show-stopping arias.  Allusions to American idioms--like found in Bernstein's WEST SIDE STORY and Gershwin's PORGY & BESS. Because the story was sometimes pretty dark, dissonant passages like you find in WOZZECK were appropriate, too.  Best of all, the theatrical cohesion we love in MOT productions fit a work that embraced, explained, and enlarged our feelings about a subject universal to the human heart.

 

Dina Soresi Winter - Grosse Pointe Shores

"A View from the Bridge" 
I saw this production twice: once on opening night and again last night, Wednesday. And I'm planning to go again on Sunday.  This is one of the most powerful and riveting productions I have ever experienced. Outstanding in every way:  the voices are excellent, the acting incredible, the orchestra powerful.  What greatly impressed me was the Chorus acting like a Greek Chorus, reminding, warning, the main character, Eddie, what he should not do before it was too late.

This is theatre at its best.  One could not but be drawn into the drama. The wisdom and understanding of the human condition was there for each and every one of us.   Shouldn't be missed!

 

Gloria - Detroit

I relay enjoyed the story and the music. I like seeing new operas and this one did not disappoint me.

 

Roxann - Clinton Township

It was NOT good at all.  For the first time ever, we left early.  Very talented musicians, and singers.  It was sad to hear them sing this opera.  It was painful to listen to.

 

George Port - Grosse Pointe

Wonderful presentation and performance, we would be well served with more modern operas.

 

John B - Beverly Hills

Very good performance! Second act is dynamite. First act is a little weak.  Too much directionless sung dialog.  Perhaps the composer was trying to stick too closely to the original play.  Lots of missed opportunities for duets.

 

Tatyana - Oak Park

Great job, MOT! Even though the music was far from "traditional" melodic opera I'm used to, I soon found myself taken by it and by the wonderful performance of the soloists and the chorus. Two acts flied by like two minutes! We loved the most Ms. Deonarine as Catherine, such a beautiful voice! I hope we'll see her in big roles in classic opera, too :)

 

Dismayed at Emperor's Clothes - Rochester Hills

This is not Opera. No wonder I get appeals to make donations to MOT if they insist on chasing away opera lovers and try to persuade us that we should admire the Emperor's New Clothes. Highest compliments to the performers but unfortunately, their material was lacking. As DiChiera pointed out, our classic operas are the distillation of thousands of scores over many years. I do not need to be fed the dross so I'll appreciate the classics. Please separate such experiments from the season ticket package so I don't feel forced to give up our season tickets after more than 20 years. Let those who want such stuff pay to support it and don't subsidize it from the classic opera lovers!

 

Andrea - White Lake

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this production.  For those, like me, who are aspiring opera singers, this is a must see...this is the future of opera.  For those here saying that the opera is only for beautiful music and poetry, I feel sorry for you.  This is a work that goes beyond just beautiful music and lyrics.  Arthur Miller's story is no cliche opera plot.  The story is real, timeless, and it leaves you reflecting on the characters and the choices that were made.  It is a story we can all relate to in some way as each character goes through their own faults, and struggles which are a part of our human nature.  To top it all off, the acting and singing are superb, and Kim is perfect as Eddie.  I challenge you all to go into this opera with an open mind, and I think you will find it to be an incredible experience.  I saw this on opening night, and I am thrilled to see this production again tonight!

 

Sawyers London England - London

A wonderful evening in a beautiful opera house. The production was professional and modern the orchestra on top form and the players gave there all in moving poignant and thoroughly fulfilling performance

 

NEURONS2 - Macomb

I thought this was entertaining but it did not capture my attention like Aida, La Traviata, or La Boheme. It was good to see something different from the more traditional operas.

 

ypsibobbyg - Ann Arbor

I thought it was a stunning production all the way around and I do not agree with others who have have expressed complaints about the tenor playing Rodolfo and the conducting of Ms. Acton.  My only objection had to do with the orchestra sometimes overpowering the voices.  Bravo to Bolcom and MOT!

 

Dick - Plymouth

I can't say I enjoyed A View from the Bridge though I admire the staging and production. To me, opera is music and I didn't find enough melodic music to enjoy, just the one song about New York. The rest of the score seemed more like noise than music. It seems more suited to be a play than an opera.

 

Lou Petro - Sylvan Lake

Very good story and presentation.  The cast was superb!

 

Chas - West Bloomfield

Think of the operas you love, and why you love them and it’s not rocket science, it’s the MUSIC!  

Regardless of how good the cast, how good the production, the lighting, the costumes, etc., if the music’s not there, it’s not gonna go!

Will this opera stand the test of time?  Reluctantly, my guess is, probably not.  There’s just not enough music, outstanding arias, or choruses in order for this piece to go into the standard canon.  

MOT did a fine production; hired fine singers, and did not scrimp on the costumes or sets, including a rather large “Greek Chorus”.  The “problem” is that something in the vicinity of 90 percent of the production is recitative, rather than outright song.

While the second act is far more dramatic and engaging than the first, it’s still not traditional aria/song.  It appears the libretto/dialogue/story was more important than the music.  This is converse to what most opera goers (including this opera goer) come to expect and appreciate.

It’s surely not for everyone, but if you’re a Wagner fan, you might go for it…

Chas.

 

Bob Mulcrone - Rochester Hills

Although the story line was good (although a bit too busy for opera), and the singing was good (for the material they had to work with), the music was so consistently harsh and dissonant that it made for a down night for me.  Why do modern composers think that their music needs to attack the listener?

 

Ron Smith and Eric VanPoucker - Detroit

We loved this opera.  The voices were splendid, the orchestration was well done, and the story line kept our interest throughout the production.  We just wish that Catherine could have had a longer aria in the production.

 

SteveM - Northville

Great production, great singing, great opera!  Thank you for doing the work of a living composer especially one from Michigan!  I would go again next week.

 

Independent Reviewer - Grosse Pointe Farms

It was terrible.  I had been a MOT supporter for many years, but I am considering withdrawing my support.  We are season ticket holders, because we like opera.  I do not understand what is wrong with the persons in charge of scheduling the operas.  It is very obvious that when they have a traditional great opera, the house is full.  Yesterday, the Opera House was almost empty, and many of the people (who were there because being season ticket holders) left as soon as they could, after the first act. It is not the first time, every time, they bring a “new opera” or not a popular one….you fail to bring people to the opera house, and you are starting to alienate those who love opera and had been loyal supporters!

 

Carolyn - Dearborn

The text stays very close to Miller's play; and opera is the perfect way to heighten this tragedy. The moments of lyricism in 'ordinary' people's lives, was very moving. I particularly liked the integration and use of the chorus, and the sparseness of the orchestration.

 

Sam - Grosse Pointe Park

Fantastic production. Really awesome singing, especially the tenor. Very interesting and timely story; really inciteful and thought provoking about modern life in a very deep way. Not a lot of melody, but really excellent music; modern but accessible.

 

madforpuccini - Plymouth

I don't mind modern music per se, I enjoyed Phantom, Les Mis, Wicked, and many other new musical shows. What I mind is modern music with no melody. However, I  appreciate what Dr. D. is trying to do in getting us all exposed to new works, so we gladly attended " A View" and I cannot say I regretted the decision.  This was a very powerful story, well-acted, with simple,  spare sets that seemed to fit the story well. Kiri's acting is perfect for  the role of Catherine. I suppose the cast sung well, too, but was hard to tell as there seems to be  little real singing in it. MAybe I'll get used to it eventually, but  We'll be back for Turnadot!

 

Joel Boyd Jr - Kalamazoo

It was a wonderful experience. There is such joy in watching performers present a fascinating story with such professionalism. Thanks for helping me to learn more about current opera.

 

Dr.James Allen Jones - Detroit

The production was superb, fast paced and it held my attention throughout the performance. It was a distinct honor and pleasure for the audience to meet Wayne Brown and we look forward to seeing more of him. JAJ

 

Esther - Lansing

My husband and I really enjoyed it.  The singers were spot on. The music, although contemporary was not too dissonant. The staging was effective, and the chorus helped the story along.  Excellent to MOT.

 

Cynthia - Royal Oak

Fabulous!!! It took a minute to adjust to 'English' but after that minute, all fell into place.

It is opera for the new era. Loved every minute.

 

mevaydik - Saginaw

It's hard to evaluate an opera so different (read "modern"?) from the norm.  Certainly the operatic drama and the tragedy are there, but the spectacle isn't and the arias aren't--so how do we observers make fair comparisons?

I wanted to applaud more often than opportunities presented themselves because only 2 characters had true opera opportunities to sing arias--and only one of the 4 leads.

I love William Bolcom and am True Blue in other areas; but I wanted more from this opera.  I realize that the story line is Arthur Miller's and that the story's end can't deviate from his; but if Eddie has to die, can't we at least know (even in superscript) that Catherine and Rudolfo live on?

 

Mary Andrews - Farmington Hills

One must thank MOT and Dr. DiChiera for the vision and good business sense of bringing to the stage such modern productions as Dead Man Walking and A View From The Bridge.  Both productions were excellent.

And although many opera lovers may prefer the 'safety' of their beloved classics,   nevertheless, these modern operas are stunning because of their immediate high intensity impact upon an audience.

 
While a time frame may change, these modern operas continue to  expose the audience to the classical themes of conflict, love, and tragedy.  It's all there no matter the setting. 

And so, as is said: The more things change the more they stay the same.

Classic or Modern.  Yesterday or Today.  Opera has it all and always will.

 

Tom Henningsen - Wheeling, IL

This was truly one of the best nights I've ever spent in the theater. Both Ms. Deonarine and Mr. Josephson turned in world-class performances. I hope that MOT is smart enough to book them back in the VERY near future. If opera is music and drama, this was O-P-E-R-A!

 

Rhoda Raider - West Bloomfield

Outstanding.  Beautifully staged, acted and sung.  A real treat. I felt like I was watching opera history being made.

 

Bonnie - Dearborn

Very talented singers and orchestra members.  This opera demands the best.  Excellent singing and acting, although it's not my taste . . . . yet.

 

richard grinstein - Birmingham

This opera was one of my favorite performances that we have seen at MOT.  The quality of the acting made it deeply moving and engaging.  Although there was not a great deal of memorable music, there were two standout arias- The Hunger Ship was powerfully sung.  Probably not an opera for everyone, but its echoes of Pagliacci made it quite accessible.

 

Shelley - Waterford

I'm not an opera buff but have enjoyed some of the classic, more melodic, operas in the past. "A View from the Bridge" made me want to jump off one. Neither the story nor the music engaged me. There was some great talent on the stage but it was wasted on this production, in my uninformed opinion. I left feeling that I had lost close to three hours of my life that I could not get back again.

 

PlainBrown - Detroit

"A View from the Bridge" was a wonderful American opera. Modern music, complex themes, and it was not over staged like so many MOT productions.

 

Meg B - Huntington Woods

I didn't know how I would feel about an opera in English. For me, it was almost easier to connect with the characters because I spent less time looking at the screen for translations.

What a beautiful and heartbreaking production. I enjoyed the levity of the barbershop quartet. A pleasant reprieve right before the gut-wrenching final scenes.

Thank you for a beautiful production.

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