Magazine article Opera Canada

Toronto Operetta Theatre

Magazine article Opera Canada

Toronto Operetta Theatre

Article excerpt

Lady in the Dark, composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and a book by Moss Hart, is a risky oddball in its mix of speech and song. Hugely popular when it was first staged on Broadway in 1941, the piece follows the life and loves of a dysfunctional fashion editor, Liza Elliott, who submits to psychoanalysis to figure out what's wrong. Her sessions on the couch, presented as dream sequences, are sung through and include such wonderful numbers as "The Saga of Jenny," "This is New" and "One Life to Live." The connecting bits are spoken dialogue, which means you need accomplished actor-singers to carry the show off. Toronto Operetta Theatre (Feb. 19) largely succeeded with its Canadian premiere of the work in a staging that had the look and feel of a cabaret show. This is Weill's fifth "American" work, though the orchestration used here--single violin, cello and bass, three trumpets, trombone, flute, reeds, keyboard and percussion--made it sound more like one of his Berlin theatre works. Simple screens with jazz-age geometrical patterns and a few pieces of furniture were enough to create a playful sense of the locales in which the piece plays out, and TOT Artistic Director Guillermo Silva-Marin used it all effectively in his engaging and well-paced staging. …

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