Tag Archives: Florida Grand Opera
It’s impossible to say whether Marvin David Levy’s Mourning Becomes Electra is The Great American Opera that it has been touted to be, but it unquestionably is a glorious spectacle of raging passions that deserves to be seen and heard not just at the Broward Center but around the world.
Considering that some aficionados say Mourning Becomes Electra is one of the most thrilling operas ever written, Fort Lauderdale composer Marvin David Levy can be forgiven a bit of curmudgeonly pique that it’s also one you’ve never heard. That will change Thursday thanks to the Florida Grand Opera.
Encouraging trends emerge while poking among the entrails of the new season schedules for South Florida theater. Among them: an emphasis on new and newer works as producers and artistic directors try to seduce younger audiences, meaning people under 70.
The surprising virtue of Florida Grand Opera’s 11th retelling of Verdi’s La Traviata is that for all the performers singing high E’s at the top of their lungs, all the falling to their knees in sorrow or illness, for all the oversized passions, it’s believable.
You don’t have to be a musicologist or opera aficionado to recognize the stunning meld of emotion and technique in the artistry of Rachele Gilmore’s performance of the title role in Florida Grand Opera’s production of La Sonnambula.
In a classic opera depicting the battle between intellectual enlightenment and romanticism with allusions to ancient Masonic rituals, you don’t expect a character to exclaim, “Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?” But this is director Jeffrey Marc Buchman’s whimsical take on Mozart’s The Magic Flute, one of the most popular operas of all time, in part, because its inherent irreverence begs to be enhanced with goofball humor and imaginative re-interpretations – both of which mark the Florida Grand Opera’s edition.
It shouldn’t work. Not anymore. Not in the 21st Century. That time-worn plot, the one-dimensional characters, the unabashed sentiment. But Florida Grand Opera’s production of La bohème underscores how Puccini’s masterpiece remains a moving, even relatable experience after more than a century of familiarity, lampoons and Broadway adaptations.
Florida Grand Opera’s incarnation of Charles Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette under the direction of David Lefkowich is an inventively staged, well-acted mounting of this stark take on Shakespeare’s classic. But like FGO’s other essays on love this season such as La Rondine, Luisa Fernandez and Rigoletto, the technically admirable production starring Maria Alejandres and Sebastien Gueze isn’t likely to quicken the pulse of the audience.
Rigoletto is the third Florida Grand Opera production this season with much to admire, even a few moments of technical artistry that you can describe as thrilling. But it’s admiration from a distance, more intellectual appreciation than emotionally touching.
Say what you will about artifice and overheated emoting, few art forms other than Harlequin novels can touch opera for depicting idealized love. What fascinates about Florida Grand Opera’s production of Puccini’s rarely-seen La Rondine is how the fantasy of love collides with the realities of social-climbing and the class system