October 14-28, 2006
(206) 389-7676 for tickets
If Rossini, Moliere and Sondheim and collaborated on an Opera-comedy, Seattle Opera's production of "L'Italiana in Algeri" (The Italian Girl in Algiers) is what would happen. This story-book telling of the forlorn love story brings to life the imagination of an innocent mind seeing, for the first time, deceit, lust and love.
As Isabella (Stephanie Blythe or Helene Schneiderman) searches the deserts of Algiers for her lost lover Lindoro (William Burden or Lawrence Brownlee), she is captured by the lusty Mustafa (Simone Alberghini or Kevin Burdette) so that he can satisfy his desire for an Italian Girl. He throws out his wife, Elvira (Sally Wolf), by thrusting her upon Lindoro. When Isabella finds this situation, she uses her feminine whiles and complete and total power over all men to rectify the situation so that, in the end, the good guys will win and the bad guys will "see but not see" what exactly has happened to them.
The entire cast is extremely strong. Those carrying intense roles such as Lindoro, Isabella and Mustafa have an amazing stage presence and overwhelm the audience with their power and potency. Meanwhile the support behind the heavy-hitters is completely indispensable. From Taddeo (Earle Patriarco) to Vlad the Impaler (David Smith-Larson), every cast member carries their role with poise and technical skill that could make the best performers rethink their abilities.
Director Chris Anderson along with Conductor Edoardo Muller bring this production together in a very efficient and acute manner. With a show as Wiley as "L'Italiana," one can easily get lost and confused with seemingly arbitrary or overly lengthy portions. However, Anderson's direction of the blocking and actions keep the audience involved and on their toes. David Woolard's costumes are a wonderful introduction for him to the Seattle Opera. His color schemes match perfectly with Robert Innes Hopkins' sets. Meanwhile, Duane Schuler's lights compliment every moment of the production perfectly.
Overall, this production is extremely enjoyable and thrilling. It will keep you entertained and laughing throughout the entire show and begging for more during intermission and on the way home.