REVIEWS & COMMENTS
WONDERFUL ‘LA BOHÈME’ — June, 2017
Judith Granger, Manhattan, NY
It’s astonishing what you can find in the country. We’re the “Spring weekends—full Summer—Fall weekends” type of country folks, lucky enough to spend that much time at our little vacation house here in the Hudson Valley, and we thought we had discovered every gem the area had to offer. Then we stumbled upon live opera, in the round, in Monroe NY. That’s where a tiny, first-class opera company (Hudson Opera Theatre) is still offering opera performances that are stunningly beautiful, artistically legitimate, and a ton of fun. The audience is seated, essentially, in the midst of the action, the excellent orchestra merely feet away. La Bohème in June was wonderful. Actually, the little snacks offered free at each intermission were worth the relatively low price of admission. Go, and take your friends.
ROMEO AND JULIET — September 17, 2017
by Daniel P. Monahan, Stony Point, NY
I love ballet, but It was quite a pleasure to hear the Romeo and Juliet played without the intrusion of dancers so that all the focus was on the music itself. I loved the explanations of the music that appeared on the TV screen, but I had to continually crane my neck to see it. There has to be a better way to do that in the future. The orchestra played some bits really well and with a lot of enthusiasm. Clearly, they are a fine group of musicians, but I couldn't help but think that they probably would have benefitted from a couple of more rehearsals. But I guess we can't complain, being that it was a free (by donation) concert.
LOVED LA BOHÈME — June 4, 2017
by Carolyn Tyre, Marlboro, NY
I just wanted to say that I loved the La Bohème in the round. The voices were so lovely, and the acting was very natural, but being in the round, I felt like I was peering in through the window. I felt like I was practically in the room with the characters and part of the action. I admit I cried at the end. I hope these operas continue.
BEST ‘LA BOHÈME’ EVER — June 3, 2017
by Malcolm Dutton, Warwick, NY
I've been going to the Metropolitan opera all my life and I've seen this opera a dozen times, but today I felt like I had seen it for the first time. The translation on the phone was a great idea and easy to follow. I don't know where these singers come from, but they're great. Every one of them is a gem. And it's so impressive when the chorus suddenly starts to sing at the beginning of the second act. You don't even know they're there and suddenly the room is filled with sound. And the food was great.
BOONDOCKS ‘MERRY WIDOW’ — February 12, 2017
by Anna Maria Ciccoglione, NYC
When my friend dragged me out to the boondocks to see an operetta, I wasn't too keen on the idea. After all, I've lived in New York City all my life and I've seen the best of them, why would I have to go over an hour to the country to see an operetta? But from the moment I walked into the room, I was delighted. The room was decorated to look like a swanky party was going on and I was one of the guests. Champagne, cheese and crackers (and it was good cheese), hors d’oeuvres and fruit, and the opera hadn't even begun. Then this little man walks out and starts conducting an orchestra of 12 that sounded like the philharmonic. I was mesmerized. The singing was fabulous and the show was a stitch. My girlfriend and I laughed the entire time, AND all the way home. This group is a jewel. Go see their next show. Only I don't know when that is, because they don't advertise in the City.
ASTONISHING ‘SALOME’ May 23
by Mary van der Lasix, Cavendish, NY
My husband and I saw the HOT Opera performance of Strauss’ “Salome” last Sunday, and all I can say is “Oh, my, was it HOT!” I did my homework and I know that Salome, Op. 54, is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by the composer, based on Hedwig Lachmann's German translation of the French play Salomé by Oscar Wilde. [Strauss dedicated the opera to his friend Sir Edgar Speyer. The opera is famous (at the time of its premiere, infamous) for its "Dance of the Seven Veils". The final scene is frequently heard as a concert-piece for dramatic sopranos. Oscar Wilde originally wrote his Salomé in French. Strauss saw the play in Lachmann's version and immediately set to work on an opera. The play's formal structure was well-suited to musical adaptation. Wilde himself described Salomé as containing "refrains whose recurring motifs make it so like a piece of music and bind it together as a ballad".] edited for length.
Sally Weingarten sang the title role and also performed the famous "dance of the seven veils". She is a fine dancer in addition to showing off her vocal technique. [Luckily Miss Weingarten was wearing an eighth veil, or I would have dragged my husband right out of that theater!] edited for inappropriateness of content.
It was first performed at the Hofoper in Dresden on 9 December 1905, and within two years, it had been given in 50 other opera houses. Now, 100+ years later, it's still as astounding as I'm sure it was then. The fellow who played [Herroid] edited for accuracy Herod was named Bruce [Spring-something] edited for accuracy Sandoval, and, though... he should be ashamed of himself for leering at Miss Weingarten all night, he acted pretty well, but boy, did he waste a ton of money on voice lessons! Or maybe he should have spent more on lessons and less on his costume—which was wonderful!] edited for inappropriateness of content [...I didn't care for his singing, but he acted pretty well, and his costume was wonderful!]. Fanny May, who played [Herroid's] Herod's wife, Herodiade, was a mezzo [with lungs the size of watermelons! Wow, could she peal the paint off the walls with that voice!] who showed great ability to project her voice, [It was like fingernails scraping on the biggest blackboard in the world. She was a real witch with the guards and the other one-liner characters, as well as being a real nag to Herroid, but was good at showing the ropes to the young Salome.] A little strident for my taste, she was, nevertheless, a fine actress, showing a good deal of nuance in her dealings with the various characters....