I must admit, the weather was so lovely on Sunday and I had already driven to DC and back over the weekend that I was a bit grumpy on the trip down to Lynchburg to see the Opera on the James production of Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus”. And as you regular readers know, grumpy is not the way you want Mary to be if she is reviewing your show. I really wanted to take a hike and enjoy the beautiful day instead of sitting in a dark auditorium- even for an opera. But…
My mood was instantly altered when the curtain went up to reveal a lovely set and the principles began to sing. Amanda Pabyan as Rosalinda the wife, Penelope Shumate as Adele the maid, Michael Mayers as Gabriel von Eisenstein the husband, Jordan Shanahan as Gabiriel’s friend, Dr. Falke and Marc Schreiner as Rosalinda’s would be Italian lover were all marvelous featuring strong voices and talent. They frolicked through Stage Director, Marc Astafan’s playful direction like children on a merry-go-round, obviously having loads of fun which transferred to the audience of 900. (Yes, 900 people in Lynchburg for an opera! Who would have thunk?)
None of these names are of serious note in the opera world but all have the potential to rise to the top making the afternoon fly by. It is obvious that OOTJ has an eye for upcoming talent allowing them to fulfill their mission of providing good quality opera to their audiences. Although I am too burnt out this week to scribble a full review and want to get this up ASAP, suffice it to say I was impressed and would definitely return to see more of their season.
It would be interesting to compare this production with Virginia Opera’s upcoming version. If someone out there sees both and would like to offer that up, let me know and I will post it.