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Quotes from 2010 Season

houseoverhead-for-quotes-page-19zCritical Praise for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s 2010 Season….

 

 

 

“Opera is far more than a pleasant diversion at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis — it is an art to be intelligently planned, carefully produced and diligently sold to an engaged public that apparently can’t get enough of it during the six weeks in June that constitute OTSL’s festival season.  The company remains one of the best springboards in the nation for young Americans on the cusp of big careers.”

Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein

 

“Opera Theatre of St. Louis has a magic all its own.  New and off-the-beaten-path operas, including 20 world premieres, have enlivened the festival’s 35 seasons …  Add pre-performance dinners on beautifully landscaped grounds, and it’s no wonder the festival draws fans from all over North America.”

 

Dallas Morning News, Scott Cantrell

 

“The 2010 season at Opera Theatre of St. Louis solidified the company’s standing as one of the country’s premiere opera festivals.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller

 

“The world premiere of The Golden Ticket was late in coming … Donald Sturrock’s libretto captures the wit, wizardry, and wonder of Dahl’s story … The American composer Ash has produced a fun-filled score with a zippy, contemporary ambience.”

The Financial Times (London), George Loomis

 

“The beauty of Roald Dahl’s darkly comic children’s books is how they balance attraction and menace … The Golden Ticket  — an opera by composer Peter Ash and librettist Donald Sturrock, based on Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — is most successful when its music does the same.  The opera’s best music is edgy and snappy, its astringent orchestration giving prominence to the winds and brass, capturing the story’s restless unpredictability.”

The Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson

 

“New operas that can be shared and enjoyed by the entire family have been pitifully scarce since Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors debuted on television in 1951.  The Golden Ticket based on Roald Dahl’s subversive children’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, fills that gaping void with a deliciously droll fantasy kids will cheer (and did at the performance I attended) and adults can savor without risking tooth decay.”

Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein

 

“There aren’t that many new operas designed to make the audience laugh out loud.  The Golden Ticket, which opened Sunday evening, does just that — and with honest sweet humor — combining ingenious music that neatly parodies assorted operatic cliches and a clever libretto that has fun with Dahl’s delicious morality play.  Add to that a nearly ideal cast and you have something enjoyable for adults and children alike.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller

 

“On the basis of the one-two punch of A Little Night Music and The Golden Ticket, in the U.S. summer opera sweepstakes Opera Theatre of Saint Louis remains the winner and still champion.”

Opera Today, James Sohre

 

The Golden Ticket is happily, family friendly … It’s literate enough to keep adults engaged but chockablock with sufficient jokes to hold the attention of all but the youngest children — no small accomplishment.”

KDHX, Chuck Lavazzi

 

“This charming rendition of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory       … is a sweet treat worth savoring.”

KFUO-FM, Steve Allen

 

“Writing an opera on spec is a risky proposition for obvious reasons, but it worked out handsomely for composer Peter Ash … The Golden Ticket’s appeal as a family opera will rest crucially on the affection youngsters already have for Dahl’s story … But adults are likely to find The Golden Ticket no less childish than Siegfried.  The important thing is that Ash, an Iowa native also active as a conductor, has produced a real opera with an upbeat, melodically appealing, contemporary score, yet it doesn’t play down to its audience.”

Classical Review, George Loomis

 

” … an unorthodox but piquant production by the fashion designer and first-time theater director Isaac Mizrahi.  Visually it was A Midsummer Night’s Dream meets A Little Night Music, set among spreading shade trees, with winged, half-undressed fairies as the quartet of warbling onlookers.  But the characters, Madame Armfeldt most of all, played for the real stakes.”

 

The New York Times, Matthew Gurewitsch

 

“Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece A Little Night Music is a popular choice with opera companies, and Opera Theatre’s production showed why.  The superb Saint Louis Symphony, led by Stephen Lord, did justice to those beautiful waltzes … Amy Irving as the actree Desiree Armfeldt, Sian Phillips as her aged mother, and Ron Raines as the lawyer Fredrik Egerman, her ex-lover, brought stage and screen smarts to the cast; the rest were young opera singers who sang Sondheim’s music with style and skill … and delivered the spoken lines with brio as well.  Opera Theatre’s production was also fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi’s debut as a stage director … No surprise that Mr. Mizrahi’s costumes were enchanting; he also brought a light touch to the directing, never pushing the comedy into slapstick or the romance into bathos.  It was all very charming and effective.”

The Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson

 

“Opera Theatre of Saint Louis scored another solid success with Sondheim’s A Little Night Music … Academy Award nominee Amy Irving … offers an accomplished … portrayal of the actress Desiree Armfeldt that rightly reaches a high point with her poignant rendering of ‘Send in the Clowns,’ sung with appealing tone and every word invested with feeling.”

Classical Review, George Loomis

 

“A fashion designer’s operatic reimagining of A Little Night Music is all the rage.  No stage production this year has been more anticipated than the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis staging of the exquisite Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical … This lavish hybrid, which has been staged and designed by the unorthodox fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi in his directorial debut, shakes the senses and makes mush of preconceptions … Amy Irving is a radiant Desiree Armfeldt … Irving emanates the porcelain beauty of a cherry-cheeked Hummel figurine; she moves with grace and poise.”

Riverfront Times, Dennis Brown

 

“Music director Stephen Lord led it [A Little Night Music] all stylishly and idiomatically.  It seems unlikely that this score has ever had such superb treatment as it received from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller

 

“Isaac Mizrahi shows designer’s flair as director of A Little Night Music …  This actually all worked, endearingly, abetted by a fine cast … In no Broadway theater would you hear an orchestra playing as beautifully as members of the St. Louis Symphony did under the devoted guidance of OTSL music director Stephen Lord.”

Dallas Morning News, Scott Cantrell

 

“Amy Irving sweeps the audience off their feet.  It’s truly an evening of shining stars with a delightfully charming Sian Phillips as Madame Armfeldt — who brings a touching rendition of “Liaisons” to life … truly a magical opening for Isaac Mizrahi and his remarkable cast and crew.”

KFUO-FM, Steve Allen

 

“Maestro Mizrahi designs a marvelous Night Music.  The bewitchment of audiences accomplished every springtime by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is often the product of a long tradition of taking risks … what elation everyone associated with this show must feel, basking in the lingering beauty of a little night music performed with such artistry and grace.  And then, there is this: How proud everyone must be for taking chances once again — and winning.”

St. Louis Beacon, Robert Duffy

 

“Strong casting and a simple, elegant production also distinguish Opera Theatre’s Eugene Onegin … Tenor Sean Panikkar’s clarion, explosive tenor ignited the show.  He brought an anger to Lensky, showing the violent flip side of a passionate nature, and made Christopher Magiera’s chilly, correct Onegin seem even more repellent.”

The Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson

 

“The most thunderous ovation fell, deservedly so, on Sean Panikkar, whose melliflous, plaintive tenor made a showstopper of Lensky’s despairing aria; this young man is one to watch.

Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein

 

“Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky was so smitten with the character of Tatiana, the heroine of Alexander Pushkin’s great verse novel “Eugene Onegin,” that he wanted to name his opera after her.  If he’d heard Dina Kuznetsova sing the role on Saturday night at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, he might have stuck with that plan … Her voice is big, rich and well-produced; her portrayal was nuanced and touching … Her pivotal Letter Scene was spell-binding and flawlessly, idiomatically sung … With this exquisite production, Opera Theatre again demonstrates why the company is the country’s premiere chamber opera festival.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller

 

“Opera Theatre triumphs with Eugene Onegin … director Kevin Newbury, conductor David Agler, and their spectacularly talented cast use this straightforward and intimate piece of musical theater to create a uniquely satisfying evening of art as entertainment.”

Riverfront Times, Lew Prince

 

“Lord knows this score well, and it showed … it’s a solid cast, including Kanyova’s smart, sexy maid and baritone Christopher Feigum’s clever Figaro.  Baritone Edward Parks, making his debut as the Count, sang gorgeously, with a rich timbre to his voice, and cut a tall, handsome figure.  Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton was terrific as Marcellina, hilariously dominating her scenes and singing with a big, beautiful voice.  Baritone Matthew Lau’s Dr. Bartolo, in a messy Beethoven wig, was a fine, funny match for her.  As the Countess, soprano Amanda Majeski sang well and easily won our sympathies.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller

 

“If there be perfection, this Figaro may describe it … Opera Theatre’s 2010 production has all the characteristics necessary to produce a perfect work of art … I cannot imagine a better production.”

St. Louis Beacon, Robert Duffy
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