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And, with opera companies across the country feeling the squeeze of tight budgets, it’s practically a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Adapted from Virgil’s “Aeneid,” the opera places huge demands on any company. In five acts, the action moves from besieged Troy to Carthage, from sweeping war scenes to the passions of two ill-fated lovers. The drums of war beat loudly in Berlioz’s massive score; so do the hearts of Dido and Aeneas, whose passion elicits one of the most fragrant musical episodes in opera.
David McVicar’s staging — a coproduction of San Francisco Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera and Royal Opera, Covent Garden — encompasses these shifts in mood, tempo, and locale in a series of outsize set pieces (designed by Es Devlin.) A towering structure represents Troy in cheap ballet flats sale metallic gray hues; when the scene moves to Carthage, the set splits apart and reconfigures as a sunny civic hub, The Trojan horse — 23 feet tall, constructed of many metal and Fiberglas parts — moves around the stage, breathing fire..
Not everything works in McVicar’s visual scheme, directed here by Leah Hausman, with choreography by Lynne Page and mid-19th century costumes (in Troy) and ethnic finery (in Carthage) by Moritz Junge. A few scenes feel static, others look cluttered. The initial impact of that giant horse is diminished in repeat appearances. A large disc suspended over the Act IV ballet resembles an antique satellite dish. But even the clunkiest scenes are swept up in the grandeur of Berlioz’s mercurial score. Conducted for maximum dramatic impact by former S.F. Opera music director Donald Runnicles, Sunday’s performance gathered power as it proceeded, registering its innovations in every scene. From its triumphal marches to the bucolic Royal Hunt and Storm, the offstage ensembles and the brass writing that seems to anticipate Wagner, one could only marvel at the music’s infinite variety.
The cast responded with strong, focused performances, As Dido, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham got off to a slightly subdued start, but rose to the full measure of the Carthaginian queen’s majesty; her farewell aria, “Adieu, fière cité,” sung at the lip of the stage before a lowered curtain, was all the more affecting for its visual simplicity, Graham, who was presented cheap ballet flats sale with the S.F, Opera Medal following Sunday’s performance, marks her 25th anniversary with the company this year, There’s no one better in this repertoire..
Tenor Bryan Hymel, making his S.F. Opera debut, sang with ripe, clarion tone as Aeneas, blending ardently in the love duet with Graham and giving a forceful account of his Act IV aria, “Inutiles regrets.”. The cast’s other standout was Anna Caterina Antonacci, who delivered an urgent, shapely performance as Cassandra. Antonacci, who returns this weekend to star in Marco Tutino’s “La Ciociara” (Two Women), lent the tormented character’s predictions a penetrating dramatic fervor (Michaela Martens assumes the role on June 12 and 20.) Brian Mulligan sang with assurance as her husband, Coroebus.
As Anna, Sasha Cooke made the most of her Act III duet with Graham, Philip Horst’s Pantheus, René Barbera’s Iopas, and Christian Van Horn’s Narbal made robust contributions, As Hylas, Chong Wang gave an affecting account of the Phrygian sailor’s song, Ian Robertson’s chorus produced marvelously unified sound, So did the orchestra under Runnicles, In his first return since the company’s 2011 “Ring” cycle, the conductor delivered a potent, cohesive account of Berlioz’s score, You’re not likely to hear anything like it at the cheap ballet flats sale opera anytime soon..
NEW YORK (AP) — The poignant and groundbreaking coming-of-age show “Fun Home” was named best musical at the Tony Awards on Sunday, one of five big trophies it won on the way to making history for its composing team. The show, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir about growing up with a closeted dad in a funeral home and the first musical to have a lesbian as its main character and nominated for 12 awards, also won for best book, best lead actor in Michael Cerveris and best direction from Sam Gold.
Its songwriters, Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, became the first female writing team to nab a Tony for musical score, But that milestone happened during a commercial break, Two veteran Broadway stars — Cerveris and Kelli O’Hara of “The King and I” — took lead acting home Tonys, while a young man who just last cheap ballet flats sale year graduated from drama school won the Tony for best actor in a play, Cerveris won his second Tony for playing the closeted and suicidal father at the heart of “Fun Home” while O’Hara got her first Tony after six nominations, winning for her role as the English school teacher in a revival of the classic musical “The King and I.”..