27 reviews

operareview300b
March 2018

27

Sally – Ann Arbor

What a delightful opera!  I really enjoyed it. Thought the singer that played Alice B. Toklas was superb.

 

Pirooz – Ann Arbor

The pre-performance talk by the composer, Ricky Ian Gordon, was illuminating and engaging. He is a genuine person with no pretension.
I am a bit familiar with Gordon’s music but had never heard this particular opera. I was interested in it because of the subject matter. I found the music very moving. To my ears there are elements of Puccini and Strauss.
What impressed me most was how the music and staging were handled in performance. It was a reduced orchestration for a small theatre and yet the musical and theatrical impact was overwhelming.
What I want to emphasize most is excellence of the singers. I was unaware that MOT had a young artists program component headed by Richard Leech. Based on what I saw and heard last night, the young artists program is doing a superb job. Those young singers were magnificent: great singers, great musicians, and so very adept at acting and characterization. The male singers had the added responsibility of jumping in and out of different characters and they did so expertly. The women created a solid through line to the story. I LOVED those singers.

 

Dennis – Saginaw

And I’m gonna do a shout-out for Briana Elyse Hunter who pretty much carried the load as Gertrude Stein. But, even more so, I want to commend MOT for bringing this modern opera at this accessible price. (And, just on the off chance that someone from MOT actually reads these, how about bringing Missy Mazzoli’s opera, Breaking the Waves, the Michigan?)

 

Mary Ellen – Ann Arbor

What a rare treat! A charming and incredibly moving portrayal of Alice and Gertrude and the era in which the women lived and loved. I enjoyed the humor, the set and props, the intimacy of the venue, and the wonderful voices of the entire cast. The “Ring” duet was lovely. Bravo, please do this again!

 

Lisa Marshall Bashert – Ypsilanti

The singers were outstanding and the complex portrayal of an outsider love was so deeply moving to my spouse and I. We so rarely get to see ourselves in popular culture. The Ring duet had us both in tears. It makes me want to choke up right now. It was really well staged — simple yet communicative. We loved the male “Greek chorus.” The seniors who played Gertrude and especially Alice were superb. Thank you so much for this production.

 

Jack C – Ann Arbor

Everything about the production was excellent. Monica Dewey especially excelled not only in singing but also in acting. The occasion was made all the more special by the intimate setting in the Arthur Miller Theatre. It was as close as we are going to get to actually being present at Gertrude and Alice’s salon! I do hope finances will permit more MOT performances at Arthur Miller.

 

Mary – Auburn Hills

Well Done Well Done

 

Melanie Helton – East Lansing

Truly one of my most memorable evenings in the theatre. Ricky Ian Gordon’s stunning, gorgeous, heartfelt and honest music created a mood of love, conflict, horror and resolve. The singers were uniformly excellent – a big shoutout to MSU alum Harry Greenleaf in a myriad of roles. The duet “Ring, bells” will ring in my ears for long to come. Now MOT should do Grapes of  – Wrath!

 

 

Newt – Fenton

Repetitious, boring. Same music, same register and tempo all the way through with no changes for world wars or visitors like Hemingway. Little dialogue. Simply statements. Over and over the opera stated: “Two women. Two women.” About the lesbian relationship between Stein and Toklas more than about the salon and artists. An interesting time in history not reflected in the opera. A reductionist performance. Singers were fine, voices wonderful. Limited roles, repetitious.

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