Burnaby Lyric Opera and the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II
Dates and Venue 23 February and 1 March @ 8.00pm and 25 and 27 February @ 2.00pm | James Cowan Theatre, 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
Reviewer Ed Farolan
I was impressed by this production. There were some voices that stood out: Michelle Koebke (Adele) and Heidi Muendel (Rosalinde) had operatic sounds that reached high heavens.
They were bubbly, energetic, and the power of their voice projection would have reached an audience of a football stadium. In fact, some audience members who were sitting in the first row had to move to the back seats. Apparently, their eardrums were about to burst. I did likewise after the second intermission.
Javier Gutierrez (Dr. Falke) was also impressive with that special resonance in his voice and stage presence. Russell Robson (Alfred) was funny and mastered his role as the lover, but lacked that vibrancy in his tenor voice. Wayne Line (Gabriel) acted his role with confidence, but I felt he had to project his baritone voice more with his arias and duets.
Michelle McKenzie (Prince Orlofsky) acted his part well and had a great singing voice. What boggled my mind as I was watching the show was: Couldn't Stage Director Matthew Bissett find a man to play the part?
In Act II, at the ball of Prince Orlofsky, the chorus members were dazzling in their costumes, and they acted and sang impressivelyl. The choreography was masterfuly executed and the stage was well utilized. I liked the part when all the singers gathered at stage left, poised and ready, as it were, for a winning photo tableau.
The set was simple. In the first two acts, a triangular window on stage right and a circular doorway on stage left. The third act, the city jail, was quite innovative. The prison bars resembled vertical neon lights from top to bottom, and in one instance, was used as a piano by Kennedy Goodkey (Frosch), the intoxicated jailer.
Music Director David Boothroyd accompanied the singers on the piano at the orchestra level downstage right, and at times, he played only with his left hand while his right hand conducted. A one-man orchestra for this production.
Burnaby Lyric Opera features emerging professionals and semi-professional opera singers in leading roles, such as Muendel and Koebke, who have sung and continue singing professionally. The other singers, mostly from the chorus, are student performers acquiring experience on the operatic stage.
© 2008 Ed Farolan