Magazine article Opera Canada

Portland, Or

Magazine article Opera Canada

Portland, Or

Article excerpt

Silliness and buffoonery reigned supreme in the May 9 opening night performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance at Portland Opera. Pirates

scurried about, Victorian ladies tiptoed along the seashore and Bobbies camped it up like the Keystone Cops. Bill Rauch, Artistic Director the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, inspired the high spirits of the production, which also marked the first collaboration between Portland Opera and the OSF. Rauch and his OSF team had mounted a

highly successful production of Pirates two years ago at the festival's home base, and it was this, augmented by Portland Opera and Oregon Ballet Theatre, that was revived here.

The whimsical mood of this performance was established with paper seagulls flying overhead at the beginning of the first act and bats in the second. Tuxedo-clad servants maneuvered rowboats and boulders. The stage, extended forward to cover much of the orchestra, allowed the pirates to drop an anchor into the pit.

An athletic and swashbuckling Daniel Okulitch led the piratical nonsense as the Pirate King. Sometimes his spoken lines were a bit difficult to follow because of the odd accent he used. Ryan MacPherson more than held his own as Frederic, the pirate apprentice and self-confessed "slave of duty." MacPherson's warm and virile tenor sounded excellent and balanced well with Talise Trevigne's sparkling soprano in the role of Mabel. Trevigne created the vocal highlight of the evening with superb ornamentation of the high. …

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