An opera in two acts in English.
Music by Henry Purcell.
Contemporary adaptation by Culture Clash.
and Andreas Mitisek.
Directed by Andreas Mitisek.
Conductor: Jory Vinikour.
Produced by Chicago Opera Theater.
At the Studebaker Theater, Chicago.
Pitting baroque music with Vegas punk decadence produces a mishmash of an opera.
Andreas Mitisek has outsmarted himself by using contemporary Vegas punk characters and staging for a baroque opera from 1692. Henry Purcell’s (1659-1695) opera is loosely based on A Midsummer’s Nightthat featured amazing sets and mythical figures. But director Andreas Mitisek has chosen to stage The Fairy Queen in Vegas as a punk cult party filled with raunchy sex and desiccant characters. The modern staging and lyrics are edgy and contradict the music.
Add that conductor Jery Vinikour has his 18 piece Haymarket Opera Orchestra utilizing old-time instruments, including a harpsichord, oboe, recorder, violone and natural trumpet, were playing the music way too soft to be heard during much of the performance. We must be able to hear the score as often it was drowned-out my the singing. This low volume made the music seem like an after thought.
The staging, the raw sexuality and the wacky characters contradicted with the richness of Purcell’s baroque music. Even with the super-titles in English, the story seem weird as the birthday party, fueled by Puck mysterious drink, entices guests to lust. The story seemed confusing and in contribution with the baroque music style. The Fairy Queen was a tedious affair. Too bad the terrific music was so soft making it hard to appreciate. Better the music is loud enough to dominate thus giving us something to appreciate. The voices were fine, especially from Marc Malomot as Puch, Kimberly E. Jones as Tanya, and Cedric Berry as Ron.
I just didn’t appreciate the Culture Clash’s take on the story. Too bad they couldn’t find a better method of using the Bard’s Midsummer Night’s Dream to launch Purcell’s fine baroque music. The staging here deludes from the artistry of Purcell’s intent.
BTY, let’s home the terrific restored Studebaker Theater will be used regularly for musicals and operas. It is a first class venue
Date Reviewed: November 5, 2016.
For more info checkout the Fairy Queen page at theatreinchicago.com.
At the Studerbaker Theatre, 401 S. Michigan, Chicago, IL, call 3120704-8414, www.chicagooperatheater.org, tickets $39 – $125, Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 & Sunday, Nov 13 at 3pm, running time is 2 hours, 25 minutes with intermission, through November 13, 2016.