Keith Otis Edwards – Dearborn
THE END OF THE DROUGHT
Opera lovers are painfully aware that the lyric tradition in opera has sadly withered away, if not specifically with the deaths of Puccini in 1924 or Giordano in 1948, but due to a disdain among sophisticates for music which could be called beautiful or which might express emotions such as love. (Hate, maybe, but certainly not love.) Music critics and public intellectuals have set forth theories about this phenomenon and quote Theodor Adorno that, “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric,” but I believe that the reason for this absence of beauty is more basic.
All composers are now the product of academia. They are given exhaustive training in theory to the degree of debating which way the stem of a note must point, but how can emotion be taught? What university or conservatory teaches a course in how to create a lilting melody? Such things are not necessary to earn a degree and be hired into the system, so they have become irrelevant. Modern composers are thus no more able to devise a merry jig than they are of dancing one.
Then too, the influence of Richard Wagner steered opera away from strictly musical values. (Wagner said that he wrote “music dramas.”) Traditional operas were more like Broadway musicals: a series of songs (arias) which highlighted the story of a play. At first, the spoken words were replaced by recitatives, then everything was sung, but Wagner abandoned the set-piece aria which could just as well be sung on its own. Eventually, modern operas have come to resemble people hollering at each other, as if they were reading newspapers in sing-song voices. (After your next bottle of wine, try doing that: hold a conversation in operatic voices. You, too, can be an opera composer! It’s great fun, but be sure the windows are closed, lest a SWAT team be summoned.)
David DiChiera, though thoroughly trained, is instead more a person of the opera house than of the academy. Rather than the four transformations of a tone row, he is concerned with how music can induce emotions in the audience, something a strictly academic composer would dismiss as vulgar and unsophisticated. In addition, he has the gift of being able to create what was once called a “haunting melody,” one which stays with you. It’s a lost art, and you will notice that the audience is grateful for its return.
Although a few modern operas have their moments (“Batter My Heart” from “Doctor Atomic” by John Adams is a great aria), only “Cyrano” keeps the audience moved for its duration. It’s for this reason that it’s likely to be the only modern opera to live on and be performed by future generations, and I predict that no matter how many opera performances you have attended and will attend in the future, “Cyrano” will always stand out in your memory.
Diane – Riverview
Beautiful! The cast and orchestra worked beautifully together. The costumes were lovely. Although a tragic love story, there were many moments of laughter throughout. The theatre is so special and the singing and music of this opera filled the theatre particularly well. It was longer than typical operas but I enjoyed it so much the time flew by. If you like opera, I highly recommend seeing Cyrano.
Derrick Rogers – Detroit
Thought the show was amazing. The wedding science was the most touching. When the priest, Roxanne and Christian were all singing together. Outstanding.
Schatzi – Holly
A great performance! A beautiful story presented by outstanding artists. The best part (if you even can say that) was the orchestra.
All this in conjunction with the unique atmosphere of the Detroit Opera house made this an unforgettable experience. My wife and I always enjoy theses events and never miss the Opera Talk prior to the performance. The story explained in a unique and sometimes humorous way is a must for every Opera lover!
Derek & Karen – Birmingham
This was our 4th Cyrano and was definitely the best ever. If you have never seen and heard this wonderful production you are missing the opportunity of a lifetime. Passion, emotion, awesome orchestra, an outstanding cast and wonderful sets make it memorable.
Fernando – Troy
Beautiful story and great performance. Romanticism at its best.
Eleanor – Harrison Twp.
Marvelous! Marion Pop, Sarah Miller, and Sebastien Gueze all made DiChiera’s melodies come alive. This should become a standard in every opera house.
Julia B – Madison Heights
The production of the opera Cyrano yesterday was wonderful: beautiful music, beautiful singing and acting (especially Sarah Joy Miller and Marian Pop), beautiful story!
Thank you again David D. for composing such a great opera!!
Ron – Bloomfield Hills
Outstanding all around – opera, actors, staging, costumes, sets – definitely a must see!!! Truly a magnificent and beautiful opera.
WNW – West Bloomfield
Miriam Imerman – Bloomfield Hills
I came to MOT on opening night of the final production for the 2016-17 season ready to celebrate David DiChiera’s farewell as Artistic Director, but with expectations firmly under control. Cyrano is one of my favorite (actually, my favorite) play. I studied it in the original French, and cried copiously at the end. I still bear a (mild) grudge against Steve Martin for his rendition of the timeless story. While I knew the tale of impossible love was operatic in its sweep and over-the-top romanticism, I nonetheless thought the task of translating Rostand’s classic to opera would be an impossible task. I missed the 2007 debut of Cyrano at MOT, so this was my first exposure to the opera. I can only say: was I ever wrong. DiChiera captured the tone, the joys, the sorrows, and most of all – the romance – perfectly. I was a tough sell, and I left the theater (wiping away my tears) completely taken with Cyrano. Not only has David DiChiera created a cultural institution that has taken its place among the premier opera companies and which will endure long beyond his tenure. He has given opera audiences a work that will continue to delight for generations to come. One observation: I could not help but notice something about the audience on opening night – it was a remarkably diverse crowd. Diverse in age, ethnicity, formality of dress (jeans to gowns). And this, I believe, was due in large measure to DiChiera’s extraordinary work in bringing a formerly (at least, in the midwestern U.S.) elitist institution to all strata of society. Bravo, MOT! Bravissimo, Dr. DiChiera!
Marianna – Grosse Pointe Park
EVERYTHING about the production : OUTSTANDING ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Sandra Tornberg – Shelby Township
It was fabulous in every aspect! It was my first time seeing Cyrano and I will never forget rhis memorable evening! I was so moved by the well-deserved ovation received by Dr. DiChiera.
Mimi – Clinton Twp
Very impressive! Staging was weak at one or two points but overall wonderful performance! Beautiful sets costumes and voices
Ed Guttman – Novi
I got the tickets because my wife wanted to go. Being of French nationality, she thought the opera would be more in line with a “Alexandre Dumas” story. She thought it was too serious. That was based on her expectation it would be more “Muskateer’ish” Personally, I thought it started of very slow. More recitation than singing. But the last half was wonderful. Both of us enjoyed it immensely. The Roxanne character had a fabulous voice. We loved her, although I thought her character very shallow. The singing was five stars.
Ann Marie Bokatzian – Harper Woods
Fabulous!! Loved the orchestra, scenery, costumes, singing and audience. Beautiful mood in the theater!! Appreciation and respect!! Everything was perfect!!
Terry – Grosse Pointe
I saw CYRANO twice in 2007 and enjoyed it very much. I was looking forward to seeing it again but last night’s performance surpassed my expectations. Dr. DiChiera’s music is lyrical and dramatic . It advances the story and culminates in a moving final scene. In addition, there were laughs (intentional!) . I really had the feeling that the audience was WITH the performance and they gave it a well deserved standing ovation. When Dr . D made his appearance during curtain calls , the applause was thunderous.
Some of the outstanding elements of the performance included absolutely beautiful scenery and costumes which any opera house in the world would be proud of. Bernard Uzon wrote the excellent libretto and well as directed the show. Marion Pop was the original Cyrano and sang it again last night. I think that his voice is much stronger now than before , his acting more nuanced. Both Sarah Joy Miller’s Roxanne and Sebastian Gueze’s Christian sang and acted their roles beautifully. Both certainly possess the physical requirements of their roles. All of the other roles were well sung with Kyle Albertson making an especially strong impression. Susan Acton’s chorus was outstanding . What really raised the level of excellence was the conducting of Steven Mercurio who additionally revised the orchestration. I would love to know just exactly how much Mercurio tinkered with the orchestration. The results were quite audible. His conducting was alive and exciting. He really SHAPED the score, giving it dramatic thrust. Mercurio has always been a strong conductor, but he surpassed himself with this CYRANO . Simply brilliant.
I spoke to several audience members who told me how moved they were by the performance. One lady was still wiping tears away long after the audience had exited the theatre. Her husband told me that he normally didn’t like opera but he loved the show.
Cyrano is a real winner in my opinion and I hope that audiences will attend. They will not be disappointed.
Michael – Birmingham
Exquisite:touching,captured the play’s turns with understanding and provided excellent selection of the poetry.
Dina Soresi Winter – Grosse Pointe Shores
Cyrano was an outstanding performance, exquisitely sung , beautifully performed. It is a masterpiece.. A deeply moving story. wonderful orchestration. Marion Pop was superb as Cyrano; Sarah Miller was exquisite as a singer and as an actress. The whole cast was excellent.
The story is beautiful and deeply moving. . Di Chiera chose a great conductor for this deeply sensitive and very powerful work, Steven Mercurio.
I suggest everyone who possibly can, see it! One of the best.
Don’t miss it!
Bill Betz – Clinton Township
Bravo, Bravo, Bravo David, hail Mary to you and the entire production company. It was thrilling. The sets and costumes were some of the best ever, but oh, the music it was out of this world. the singing, staging, chorus and orchestra were all outstanding. We have been coming to MOT since the days at the Music Hall and this was one of the best ever. The music between the scenes in act 1 and 3 reminded me of the music of John Williams.
Tom Klaban – West Bloomfield
Cyrano is a wonderful opera set in France with spectacular stage settings and a complex story line. The music is fabulous and the character development contributes to the immense sorrow that one feels for the characters, and it’s this identification with the characters that makes the opera so special and endearing; a must see for any opera lover.
John Goshawk – New York
Cyrano was an incredible night!!!
The singers were wonderful, the emotion all along was unforgettable and the story was told with an incredible truth, thanks to the director and libretist!!! So close to Rostand and so touching and the orchestra under maestro Mercurio was outstanding.
WE NEED more evenings like that in the opera today.
Thank you MOT
Paul Beer – Canton
Delightful performances from the cast & orchestra on opening night coupled with a gracious audience who love Dr. Dichiera.
Awesome massive sets, beautiful costumes and outstanding production value coupled with such a compelling love story engage the audience from start to finish.
Thrilled to be able to enjoy this great work from Dr. DiChiera!
sandy – Canton
We loved Cyrano. We thought it was the best opera we have ever seen. Something was going on all the time. It was a long opera, but we were so engrossed the time just flew. The voices were outstanding. We can’t say enough good things about it. Thank you, David DiChiera. We will miss you, enjoy your retirement.
Dan – Rochester Hills
Prague has Don Giovanni, New York has Gershwin and West Side Story, and Detroit has Cyrano! Not only has Dr. DiChiera achieved an amazing legacy of accomplishment here, but he also has given us a generous slice of Art – with a capital “A” that will always be strongly associated with Detroit. Who would have seen this coming so many decades ago? We owe it to the good Dr. to make sure that this rich, romantic work is prized as much as Rivera in the DIA, the great architecture of Albert Kahn, the wonderful places of worship of the olden neighborhoods and everything else that makes Detroit Detroit.
Cathie – Westland
We enjoyed it. It was light, silly and fun. And the music was an integral character so that it was part of it and not just something added to it. I enjoyed the flute and other light instruments. They rang so clear and lovely. All in all it was an enjoyable three hours!
Elaine Leslie – Grosse Pointe Farms
Three of us went Wednesday evening to see and hear Cyrano and were treated to an opera of the highest caliber. Every aspect of the production was wonderful: the voices, costumes, sets, orchestra and the music was divine. God bless Dr. DiChiera for giving Detroit both an opera house and now Cyrano!
Ginny Geheb – Bloomfield Hills
Rarely do we get such an emotional story with such poetic language that stands up to and compliments such glorious music. I wish Cyrano would become a regular in the opera rep. Thank you David. Quite a legacy.
SKM – Southfield
From beginning to end fantastic. Bravo Maestro
Jeff Marraccini – Troy
I enjoyed the touches of humor, reflected in both the dialog and music. The sets in each act were also beautiful and did not impede view of the performance. Incredible cast!
David’s music is impressive, and we are really fortunate to have such a wonderful orchestra, facility, staff, and volunteers to pull off an all-around superb Opera. I highly recommend Cyrano and Michigan Opera Theatre!
Marlene – Detroit
Lovely performance–sets and costumes were wonderful, the music emotionally inspiring. Roxanne’s full and beautiful voice dominated, but the entire cast shined. And then there is the poignant story so often told, truth uncovers our eyes and enlightens our mind only when it is too late to reclaim our heart.
Trinh Mong Pham – Ann Arbor
At first, I was captivated by the beautiful scenery. Then, I was enraptured by the performance of the actors. The acting, the humour, and the singing transport me to a wonderful place full of joy.
Wilbur Smith – Detroit
Spectacular. This performance was even better than the inaugural performance a few years ago. Great blend of music and lyrics to bring out the total experience of the saga.
It’s without without question you raised the bar in bringing opera to Detroit. But, I must comment on your ease and sincere interest to those who sat in front of the stage. Your love of opera and people is contagious. It’s been a privledge to be in the audience , and to have been touched by your genius.
Lisa Meils, friend
David, I fell in love with you in 1987 when my father took me to your wonderful production of Porgy and Bess. (My first opera!)
Fifteen years later I was lucky enough to spend the day with you at the Ann Arbor Antique Market. As I recall, you found a nice set of dining chairs. I found a true and lasting friendship with an amazing man.
Thank you David, for allowing me to be part of your life.
DanaR Darnell – Macomb
First time seeing Cyrano. Great event.
JLS – Ypsilanti
I thought the first 10 minutes were a lititle hard to follow, but from that point on it was spectacular. The music was great and all of the major characaters were wonderful. The sets were fantastic. One of the best productions I have ever seen. The orchestra was great as well. I would love to see it again
Sam Tundo – Troy
The music was appropriate; The set were TERRIFIC!! It was very well staged.
Jeb88 – Shelby Twp.
The opera was well produced. All of the performers appeared well suited to their roles and had beautiful voices. We wer impressed with the quality of the music, great performance.
Rebecca & Isaiah Bernard – Pontiac
Beautiful orchestra costumes and oncourse talents this entire environmental overall ! We are coming back in a few weeks! So lovely still dreaming about it.
Karen – Bloomfield Hills
Loved Cyrano-we saw the original production, we could note where improvements were made. The actors were superb! Sets and costumes marvelous! Bravo David and DOT!
Uriel – Cleveland
I had high expectations for Cyrano and they we’re exceeded. It is a handsome production with a great cast. The first act is funny, the second one, beautiful; and the third one makes it worthy of a place in the opera repertoire for future generations. I hope to have a chance to see it again in the years to come.
Dan Levitsky – West Bloomfield
Our group of four season subscribers all thought this was a wonderful performance, David’s music was beautiful. We had an extra treat last night, as there was a very nice young man sitting next to us from out of town. During intermission when we spoke with him, we discovered that he was David Miller the husband of Sarah Miller ( performing the role of Roxane). David a star in his own career is a member of IL DIVO. He was a great seat mate and we had wonderful conversations with him about his and his wife’s careers. He could not have been any friendlier or charming.
Beth Ann – Royal Oak
What a moving, beautiful performance. I would have been near tears even without the added nuance of Dr. DiChiera’s departure. Marian Pop was simply remarkable, and I wonder how his performance has evolved over ten years, and what his own added maturity contributed to this current iteration. If you have the chance to see this, by all means jump on it!
Jody – West Bloomfield
A delicious full-bodied opera. I did not see this opera when it was first performed 10 years ago, but knew from others I should expect something wonderful. It was beyond my expectations and theirs, too. Everyone agreed that this was even better than the original and, at the same time, were amazed that it could be better. It has been my experience with opera that it’s a rare performance where all aspects of a production come together so perfectly as they did last night. Thank you Dr. D! I am so pleased to have had the chance to experience your memorable and touching work!
Kim – Huntington Woods
Wonderful performance! Beautiful send off for Dr. DiChiera!
A. Lopez – Plymouth
I’ll be succinct: my soul soared during many parts of the opera. It was a very enjoyable performance, with very gifted principals and lyrical music. I’d see it again, which is something I can’t always say about some operas I’ve seen.
Mona Badawy – Shelby Twp.
I really enjoyed the beautiful voices, acting, story, and of course, the music. Thank you Mr. Di Chiera for all you’ve done!
We’ll definitely miss seeing you on the stage before each performance!
Jill – Lakeville
Beautiful music! Wonderful staging and sets! Loved the contranpuntal numbers where two to four of the leads were singing at the same time, but different lyrics. Romantic story. Wonderful! (a little long in some places, but don’t know where i’d cut it down.)
Jerrid and Tracey Mooney – Detroit
Wonderfully entertaining. Hilariously funny. Heart-wrenchingly sad. It’s opera at its best and this is Dr. Dichera’s finest hour. What more can be said? Bravo!
Dee Flint – Clinton Twp
Overall: Excellent. I thought the soprano playing Roxanne was outstanding both vocally and in her acting. The tenor playing today’s Christian was good but was a little weak on projection.
Donna Pearlman – Huntington Woods
Cyrano was so enjoyable! The staging, the sets and above all the acting and singing were outstanding. I loved the music composition! Bravo to the amazing cast and to David, Bernard and Steven!
Jack – Ann Arbor
Cyrano was excellent and a fitting tribute to Dr. DiChiera as he retires. The music reminded me of the recent Puccini opera, TheGirl of the Golden West. I found the final scene very moving. Soprano Sarah Joy Miller was outstanding both in singing and acting. John Viscardi was also wonderful in singing and acting. The costumes were impressive. Sincere thanks to all who made this production possible. I’m very much looking forward to next season.
Fulvio Romano – Bloomfield Hills
We just got back from enjoying the last production of Cyrano. What an incredible experience. The stage settings recalled Flemish paintings ( e.g. Vermeer ), the costumes recreated with perfection the period of the story, the lighting was atmospheric, the orchestra impeccable and the whole troupe put on an enchanting representation, a special mention to the voice of Roxanne and the stage presence of Cyrano. The libretto by Bernard Huzman is sheer poetry and David DiChiera delivered enchanting music. There could not be a better final note for Maestro DiChiera. A sign that this opera touched the hearts of the audience were the many wet eyes and flowing tears when the final curtain fell.
Melissa – Royal Oak
One of our favorites! Wonderful performance!!!!
Gary & Barbara Eisenberg – Bingham Farms
It took a moment to adjust to the pace of the story but when we did it became a joy. The music, the orchestra, the sets, the-performers and being in the opera house came together as one and provided a memorable evening.
We enjoyed the pre-performance discussion. Thanks to all !
Anna – Detroit
What a marvelous production! And how wonderful to mingle with David DiChiera at the last performance. Kudos and gratitude to David for the joy he brought us. This production was magnificent on all counts. Scenery, costumes, passion, voices, orchestra. A delight!
Cindy Peters – Pontiac
First time going to an opera for both myself and my husband we and thought the show was wonderful. The wedding science was the most touching. When the priest, Roxanne and Christian were all singing together I thought it was the Outstanding! Can’t wait to go to another opera, will be come a fan.
Andrea – Dearborn Heights
As a trained musician and a lover of the arts, I have seen several operas over the years. “Cyrano” is a classic! Had I not known that it was composed only ten years ago, I would have thought I was witnessing a comic opera a la Mozart. The voicing and orchestration were exquisite and timeless. Bravo to Dr. DiChiera on raising the bar for modern operas!
TKondel – Fenton
This was our first opera. My wife has been wanting to see an Opera for a long time and I bought her tickets to Cyrano for Mother’s Day. Rented a bed and breakfast in Detroit and made a night out of it. The performance was a great experience for both of us. I knew she would love it but I thought it could go either way for me. I was pleasantly surprised. The elaborate sets and well detailed chorography was impressive. The story line was easy to follow and very entertaining. We have decided to make our visit to the Opera an annual date.
BarbW – Warren
The Saturday (5/20) performance was splendid! I loved the audience appreciation of Dr. DiChiera before and after the show. My only quibble with the staging was the lack of lighting on Cyrano and Christian as they wooed Roxane on the balcony. The men were completely in the dark. I would loved to have seen Cyrano’s face as he was voluntarily losing the love of his life. Perhaps a discreetly placed lantern could have lit them a little?
Anastasia Render Flores – Novi
Beautiful set. Wonderful composer. Amazing singers. In awe of a great performance.
Jamie, Taylor and Elle – Rochester Hills
Attending my first ever Opera with my twin 9 year old daughters was a moment we will never forget. Cyrano was a story that was moving and relatable for both myself and for them. The music thoroughly engaged my daughters. They couldn’t take their eyes off the stage and neither could I. My daughters also loved seeing DiChiera on stage before the show! Well done!!!!
Julie Otterbein – Grand Rapids
Cyrano was a lovely production, well worth the trek from West Michigan. We appreciate the opportunity to see high quality new productions in Detroit. (“The Passenger” was another great addition to the genre.)
Alice – Ypsilanti
Brava Roxane! The sets and costumes were breathtaking; each set reveal brought a round of applause!
Dick and Carol – Plymouth
We thought it was wonderful! The sets and costumes were exceptional but what struck us most was how well the music and story were coordinated.
Cindy Peters – Pontiac
First time for my husband and myself seeing an opera and we loved it. The wedding scene was the most touching and the signing was amazing. Can’t wait to see another one.
Momi – Northville
It was an emotional event for everyone as it was probably the last appearance of Dr. DiChiera’s on the stage. Because of his work, MOT still stands in Detroit.
We enjoyed the excellent stage setting and lighting work. We were touched by the singing of Mr. Slayden and Ms. Miller. There were some moments when the orchestra was a bit overwhelming.
Laura Dembowski – Detroit
Cyrano was my first opera, but it certainly will not be my last. I was riveted from start to finish by the story of love. The performers were all stellar, as were the costumes and sets. I was totally transported into the world of Cyrano by those glorious and towering sets that rival any play or musical I have seen. I highly encourage anyone on the fence about seeing an opera to give it a try.
Angie Rayburn – Chattanooga
Cyrano is one of my favorite plays, I was excited to travel to see the opera production. I went to the Matinee production on May 21st. The set and costumes were amazingly beautiful. The craftsmanship is outstanding, probably my favorite set designs. As for the music.. I was memorized. Sarah Joy Miller’s performance was breathtaking. She most definitely was a perfect selection for Roxanne.
Like always, I ended up in tears. The true love of the broken Cyrano is a tale that most of us have lived and breathed.
Rob – Romulus
A very beautiful opera, especially the final act. I saw it ten years ago, and was delighted to see its revival. I sincerely hope this will not be the last production, and hope there are plans for a recording. Bravo, Maestro DiChiera!
John Harris – Northville
Cyrano happened to be my very first opera, a gift from my girlfriend who knew I wanted to see an opera, and that I was also a fan of the variations of the story; what a perfect introduction to opera. The sets were striking in color and bigger than life and the musical score was beautiful, practically telling the story all by itself. Although sung in French, the lyrics appeared in English unobtrusively at the very top of the stage and on the far sides. The lyrics ranged from witty to sweet and endearing and guided the story. Many of the lyrics generated laughs, as they were downright funny – particularly during the balcony scene between Roxanne, Christian, and Cyrano, when it begins to dawn on Roxanne that maybe Christian wasn’t quite as eloquent as she hoped.
Sarah Joy Miller was pitch-perfect as Roxanne and Marion Pop brought Cyrano to life. Seeing David DiChiera take a bow was like witnessing a real life “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, seeing his heart and soul being brought to life with an amazing group of actors, singers, musicians, and scenery. The experience was outstanding, and I’ve already urged friends to find a way to see Cyrano before its run ends.
Thank you David DiChiera for a wonderful opera and amazing experience.
Tony – Grosse Pointe
Sunday’s performance was just wonderful. The voices, music, and scenery all made for a very enjoyable afternoon. I can’t think of a finer way to end the season and show our appreciation to Dr. DiChiera for all he has done over the years.
Joesph Yamin – Rochester Hills
Hard to imagine that such a classic could “feel” so fresh. David DiChiera gave us Opera-AGAIN.
Mr. & Mrs. James Beauvais – Detroit
This was the second time we attended this opera.
Ann – Harrison Township
As always, it’s a pleasure to come to the Opera House, and especially to tribute David Di Chiera for his devotion to Detroit. And what a delight to see and hear Cyrano, always one of my favorite stories. I so liked all the soaring and lyrical melodies…Roxanne was wonderful. And I agree with Mr Edward of Dearborn.)