Magazine article Opera Canada

Orlando Paladino: John Tessier (Pasquale) in the Glimmerglass Opera Production. (Opera in Review: Cooperstown)

Magazine article Opera Canada

Orlando Paladino: John Tessier (Pasquale) in the Glimmerglass Opera Production. (Opera in Review: Cooperstown)

Article excerpt

Haydn's Orlando Paladino (1782) is charming late 18th-century music but without Mozart's intelligence. Because of the slightness of the story--the focus is on Orlando's unrequited love for the Princess Angelica and his resulting madness--and the lack of any real depth of characterization, director James Robinson (who also wrote the droll English translation) and his able collaborators, John Conklin (sets) and Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), felt every moment had to be consumed with a visual element. Thus, ever-changing scenery and metaphorical props abounded to the point of overkill. What began as whimsical, cartoon Arcadia with adorable cut-out sheep ended up as a murky, Freudian vision involving the psychological meaning of shadows and mirrors. The costumes were also transformed, from buffoon 18th-century dress to 21st-century leisurewear. The most clever aspect of this mish-mash vision was the use of graffiti. One of the slanted V-walls of the set was literally layers of paper, allowing the characters to scr ibble their innermost thoughts. The running joke were the words "Orlando light": non-fat, low-cal Haydn wasn't up to the high-cholesterol standards of Handel, Gluck and Vivaldi, who also wrote Orlando operas. …

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