Monday, March 26, 2007

Falstaff - Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue

A Fabulous Show Opening Now!

Seattle Opera's Young Artist Program at Meydenbauer Hall
Tickets and Information
March 30-April 7, 2007

Falstaff, directed by Peter Kazaras and conducted by Dean Williamson, brings to life William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor as only Verdi and Boito could. After Verdi and Boito's dynamic success with their Opera Otello, Falstaff came naturally following. One of the most unrecognized operas of its caliber, one will be blown away by the music, the performances and the theatrical elements that come together in this show.

Peter Kazaras, formerly on stage in countless operas including many productions of Wagner's Ring Cycle, brings his talents to the stage from the other side of the table as director of the Young Artist Program's shows. His skill at precision and intent is incredible and will keep the audience constantly entertained with this beautiful show. Dean Williamson, Conductor, expertly leads the orchestra through the incredibly difficult music to create a flowing opera that sounds completely effortless.

Donnald Eastman's scenic design for Falstaff is, to say the least, magical. Everything about it gives Kazares' concept of meta-theatre (Falstaff is presented as actors putting on a show, not as the show being real. Come 30 minutes early to watch the actors in their pre-show!) the power to shine. With some gorgeous moments of delightful stage magic, Eastman's sets, augmented by Connie Yun's astounding lighting design, take the audience on a ride through the imagination of all those who have worked through the centuries to bring Falstaff to life.

The performers on stage are, as the name of the program suggests, Young Artists. They are all recent graduates of masters programs from a myriad of colleges in voice and are getting to know the workings of the opera world. Don't be deceived by this, however; there is no gap in talent between these unbelievable performers and those who you see on the main stage at the Seattle Opera this season. Giving the opportunity for performance to as many people as possible, the roles of Ford, Alice, Nannetta, Fenton and Falstaff are doubled (see the above link to see who performs on which nights). Not only does the Young Artist Program give the next generation of Opera Singers the chance to break into the world, but it also gives all of us the privilege to see them first and enjoy their amazing skill.

Review by Nigel Andrews

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