Showing posts with label Lee Kimball. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lee Kimball. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2011

OperaDelaware’s Widow will make YOU merry

Maestro Steven Mosteller has the ability to conduct with authority yet still allow his soloists to milk the lovely Franz Lehar melodies for all they are worth. Eliezer Gutman’s fluid and gypsy-like lilting phrases were perfect for the schmaltzy songs of Lehar’s Merry Widow.

Laura Pedersen (as the Merry Widow) is svelte and lithe and wore delicious dresses designed by Lorraine Anderson, each one with a short train, which Pedersen gracefully lifted to the crook of her elbow to be whirled around the floor by Daniel Neer (Count Danilo). Their flawless dancing and strong singing give them that electricity that makes the audience believe in their love “spark”.

The operetta which premiered in Vienna in 1905 is a fluffy and hilarious story based on a comedy by Henri Meilhac. The story pits the Paris embassy staff of an impoverished country against French roués who would love to marry the country’s most wealthy widow. Paris and France are outrageously mocked to great comic effect -- it seemed Maurice Chevalier would come on stage any moment to defend his honor or at least to greet Dodo, Clo-Clo, Lolo, Frou Frou, Margot or Jou Jou.

The set, designed by Cynthia Du Pont Tobias, is a fantasy of Viennese Secession but drawn in more of an Art Nouveau style – with a brick-walled garden turned miraculously into a Parisian café and stage for the can-can girls by Robert Parker and his stagewrights.

The opera has creative choreography by Barbara Winchester who mixes the artists of the First State Ballet Theatre into the ballroom dancing of the rest of the cast with great success.

You can’t help but be uplifted by this production, beautifully coordinated by OperaDelaware Executive Director Leland Kimball! Performances May 1, 6 and 7, 2011.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Toast to the Fallen Woman

Danielle Rice, executive director of the Delaware Art Museum, hosted a delightful open discussion about fallen women of the Nineteenth Century and asked the audience why the theme permeated literature, music and art of the time. She started the ball rolling by showing slides of art depicting fallen women. Her first example was William Holdman Hunt’s The awakening conscience since it had been completed in the same year as Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata (the fallen woman). Her partner in leading the discussion was Lee Kimball, general and artistic director of Opera Delaware, who will present La Traviata at the Grand Opera House on November 7, 12 and 13. The two are friends, which made the lively discussion even more fun. Mr. Kimball bravely pointed out that usually it is the fallen woman who gets killed or arrested or punished, while the fallen man tends to walk away with only a few regrets.

After the discussion, the crowd mingled and enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks which they brought to the entrance hall of the museum, where the grand piano was waiting for Jeffrey Miller, chorus master and associate music director of Opera Delaware and Colleen Daly, soprano and Alak Kumar, tenor. The two will be singing the lead roles in La Traviata and if this foretaste in which they sang La Brindisi is any indication, the next time we hear those two could be at Lincoln Center.

The intimacy of the setting, the lively discussion and the informal concert made it feel as if we were attending a party at Barone Douphol’s house watching Alfredo flirt with Violetta in front of her rich lover…

Having had the hors d’oeuvre, my appetite has been whetted for the main course. See you at the Grand.