Monday, July 28, 2014

Christine Goerke Conquers "Ariadne in Naxos" At Glimmerglass Opera

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Diva Goerke sings the title role in English
"If there’s ever a work that cried out for an English language version to give some clarity, this is it and the adaptation by Kelly Rouke works very well. The original German returns though during large portions of the second act, when soprano Christine Goerke plays the role of Ariadne. Rather than pining away from a rocky island, she’s reposed on bales of hay. Yes folks, tradition is out the window in this production by Francesca Zambello. But poking fun at the conventions of the art form is at the heart of this opera anyway. So just do your best to enjoy the mayhem and meanwhile lavish in the excellent singing. Goerke, who is this year’s artist in residence, has an enveloping voice so mammoth that it practically becomes its own stage set. There are a couple of stunning moments when she steps out of the playing space to sing from the apron of the stage. The foil to Goerke in more ways than one is the equally fine coloratura soprano Rachele Gilmore. As a nimble Zerbinetta, she easily tackles an incredibly lengthy and acrobatic vocal part. Yet another strong performance comes from mezzo Catherine Martin as the composer. Director Zambello’s fresh approach to this character draws on what’s been in Strauss’ score all along. Normally it’s a trouser role (a male character sung by a female), since a composer has to be a man, right? Well, not here. This composer is a woman, though in trousers. And true to the original work, she falls for Zerbinetta. And so at the opera’s conclusion, along side the mythic pairing of Ariadne and Bacchus there’s also a lesbian couple in a warm embrace. Kathleen Kelly conducts the Glimmerglass Orchestra with sensitivity and finesse. The imaginative costumes are by Erik Teague and the set, which grows ever more sparse throughout the night, is the work of Troy Hourie." For more information about the opera and performance schedule, click here. [Source]

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