28 April 2016

From Wagner to Dickens: Music and More Music

Wagnerian opera or English music hall comedy? Over the past several weeks we took in both. First came Wagner's early piece, The Flying Dutchman, performed at the Carpenter Theatre in Richmond. (Performances remain for April 23-24 in Fairfax.) It's hard to believe Wagner composed The Flying Dutchman in 1840 when age 26. A serious tragedy of pride, judgment, love, death, and apotheosis, the music for The Flying Dutchman had a modern feel.
While not atonal, there was nothing melodic about most of it. The performances, especially by Wayne Tigges (the Dutchman) and Wayne Volpe (Daland) were superb. The orchestra was excellent and the staging was very modern but without compromising the integrity of the performance. Quite a contrast with the melodic Italian La Traviata we saw at the same venue a year ago.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Then a week ago it was to Regent University for its end-of-season musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. A slap-stick song-and-dance musical in the style of a 19th century English musical hall performance (lots of asides and audience participation), The Mystery of Edwin Drood was written by Rupert Holmes (yes, the PiƱa Colada Rupert Holmes) based on an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. The large cast had obviously spent a lot of time in rehearsal and was well trained in song and dance but the performance of William Cartwright as the music hall's impresario and filling in as mayor of the mythical village of Cloisterham stood out. Cartwright was exceptional in all respects--singing, dancing, vamping, and declaiming.

Performances of The Mystery of Edwin Drood remain so get your tickets now!

No comments:

Post a Comment