Opera Triumphs With Puccini And Strauss
REVIEW by Willard Manus
-- Los Angeles Opera scored two recent successes with its magnificent
productions of MADAMA BUTTERFLY and DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN by Giacomo
Puccini and Richard Strauss, respectively. Both operas will alternate
through much of March, followed by THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, Mozart's beloved
comedy (May 22-June 19).
The singers delivered the vocal goods, particularly Angela Maria Blasi as Cio-Cio-San, Alan Opie as Sharpless and Susanna Poretsky as Suzuki. John Matz made a strong contribution as Pinkerton.
The dramaturgy and story-telling aspects of DIE FRAU might be confusing and even crazy--there are various sets of protagonists, birds who turn into women and back again, wives who sell their shadows to royalty, unborn children who sing in unison--but thanks to David Hockney's magical sets, valiant vocalizing by the six principals (Robert Dean Smith, Inga Nielsen, Wolfgang Bredndel, Linda Watson, Doris Soffel and James Creswell), and Strauss' opulent, torrential music, DIE FRAU came off in transcendent fashion.
Both DIE FRAU and BUTTERFLY were also aided greatly by Kent Nagano, who conducted the hard-working Los Angeles Opera orchestra with much finesse.