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: http://seenandheard-international.com/2016/08/aspen-9-a-weekend-of-crowd-pleasers-and-bolcoms-a-wedding/


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