A Wedding - Aspen Opera Theater Season 2015

The time when the reviewer talks about how the design impacted the singer’s performance but doesn’t credit the designer: "It’s a romp from start to finish, but a romp with heart. The libretto, co-written by Altman and Arnold Weinstein for the 2004 premiere at Lyric Opera of Chicago, delves into family, extended family, and personal relationships. The story not only has its fun with them, but presents characters with temptations, moral choices and other conflicts that have to be (and were) taken seriously. I counted three major seductions (plus a few fleeting ones), an interracial romance (big stuff in the 1970s), sibling rivalries, friendships gone awry, and countless oversteppings of social strata.

More tightly constructed than the film, the opera feels more focused, and Bolcom’s music adds color and shadings, using operatic set pieces to bring the conflicts to life. There’s no better example than the seduction at the heart of the opera’s spinning wheels, the attraction between mother of the bride Tulip (soprano Julia Walcott in a tour de force) and Jules (baritone Michael Aiello), an uncle by marriage of the groom. The mother waffles in a series of arias, duets and scenes, all of which are perfectly pitched, while Jules, a retired doctor, supplies his addict wife Victoria (soprano Ashley Yvonne Wheat in a well-sung but perhaps too-ratcheted-up performance).

Other strong cast members included soprano Jessica Johnson Brock, both as Nettie, the head of the groom’s family who dies in Scene I, and as her twin sister Aunt Bea, a socialist and hippie who aims to scandalize. The magic of makeup made tenor Jubal Joslyn believable as Luigi, the Italian immigrant father of the groom, and his pliable lyric voice stood out for its ease and expressiveness, especially in a duet with his estranged brother, Donato (tenor Conner McCreary), all in Italian (and not translated in the supertitles).

Worth noting were the steady baritone Cody Montá as Randolph, the family butler from the Caribbean who may be the sanest character, and sleek baritone Jacob Ingbar as William Williamson, the heavily made up and spangly-costumed “professional guest” who somehow gets involved with several subplots.” -  Harvey Steiman from Seen and Heard:

Cosi Fan Tutte - Aspen Opera Theater Season 2015

"Robinson has made it into a confection that brings out every bit of wit and cleverness. On a relative shoestring. He has moved the whole thing to the ‘50s-‘60s. The scenic design by [Jason Simms] — mid-century digs and furnishings — and the vintage-style costumes by Summer Lee Jack are spot-on, and it is laugh-out-loud funny. The excellent chorus also move sets and the whole thing has an air of Mickey-and-Judy-let’s-put-on-a-show that makes you feel involved from the outset.” - Patricia Zohn from Huffington Post article on Cosi Fan Tutte

When reviews mention the costume details but don’t credit the costume designer: "Visiting director James Robinson, who often works with the Opera Theater of St. Louis, updated the time and scene to a sort of late 1950s-early 1960s “Mad Men” vibe. In this setting Don Alfonso, a cynical gray-haired advertising executive, bets two young friends (Ferrando and Gugliemo) that he can prove their fiancées aren’t as faithful as they believe. He sets the men to wooing (in disguise) their opposite fiancées. Fiordiligi and Dorabella are Pan Am stewardesses (the gender-neutral “flight attendants” would be years away) and their maid Despina is portrayed here as a world-weary, hard-edged character like Thelma Ritter played in many films of that era.

Paul Han as Ferrando and Geoffrey Hahn as Guglielmo made the most of their increasingly conflicted feelings and put on a smirk-worthy show in their scenes as faux-Albanians. (For those too distant from the stage to read it, the logo on the back of their painter's overalls read "Albanian Décor.")

Though sometimes mezzo-soprano Sofia Selowsky missed the lilt in Despina’s music, she made the character, usually played cute, into an amusingly grumpy maid with hard-edged singing to match. She got big laughs for her turns as a yellow-gloved and booted doctor, and as the fussy notary in the faux-wedding finale.” - Harvey Steiman from the Aspen Times on Cosi Fan Tutte

© Summer Lee Jack — ® All Rights Reserved. Usage of any materials here-in is strictly prohibited without written approval from Summer Lee Jack or associated theater, production company or designer. 2017.            © Summer Lee Jack — ® All Rights Reserved. Usage of any materials here-in is strictly prohibited without written approval from Summer Lee Jack or associated theater, production company or designer. 2017.         
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