Magazine article Opera Canada

Michigan Opera Theatre. (United States: Detroit; Opera in Review)

Magazine article Opera Canada

Michigan Opera Theatre. (United States: Detroit; Opera in Review)

Article excerpt

It's hard to mount a production of Le Nozze di Figaro that doesn't in some way beguile. Bernard Uzan's staging at Michigan Opera Theatre was lively and fairly straightforward, though as usual with this director, there were odd moments: why, for instance, during the overture, did the cast assemble to admire the giant replica of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, written in and clearly marked 1789, when the opera itself was written in and just as clearly dated, stage center, 1786? (Beaumarchais' play, of course, dates from even earlier.) And when the Count's final "Contessa, perdono" prompts a wave of hilarity from the audience, a good director would rework the moment to preserve the integrity of this sublime and moving passage: we may not believe the Count will nevermore stray, but just then, at least, he's speaking from the heart.

Still, Allan Charles Klein's sets and costumes were handsome and function. al, and Uzan obtained lively and committed performances from everyone. In the title role, Polish baritone Robert Gierlach, making his American debut, sounded a bit reticent at first, but quickly established himself as a handsome-voiced, nimble and stylish performer. He's a good, rubber-faced comedian and clearly knows how to command a stage. …

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