‘Trovatore’ returns triumphantly to TCO repertoire

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

You can see why there’s been so much fun made of Il Trovatore – even the Marx Brothers took a crack at it. Its crazy plot, set in the mountains of Spain, includes a gypsy’s curse, a child tossed into a fire, switched identities, several vows of vengeance, duels, madness, mayhem, poisonings, burnings at the stake, brothers who hate each other (who don’t know they’re brothers —  and that’s just on the personal level. On the larger scale, you’ve got battles and armies and bravado and nationalism and lots of bloodshed.
But if you succeed at suspending your disbelief, and discount the ridiculous plot twists, the  1853 Giuseppe Verdi opera affords you the most memorable few hours you’ll ever spend in a theater (in my case, The Forum in downtown Binghamton). Read the rest of this entry »

‘La Bohème’ still offers lyric lessons of love and loss

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

I attended Wednesday’s final dress rehearsal (Oct. 24) of Giacomo Puccini’s operatic masterpiece La Bohème, and while there were a few kinks yet to iron out, it was beautiful and musically fulfilling. Tri-Cities Opera will present two performances this weekend with an overall strong cast. No dress rehearsal is without its challenges; at times, the orchestra overshadowed the principals, especially in ensemble. The excellent chorus was ahead of the maestro during the festive second act, and lighting cues were continuing to be adjusted. Still, all this should be worked out, and even if it isn’t, the production merits enough positives to please even the most hardcore opera lover. Read the rest of this entry »

Strong principals help make TCO’s ‘Flute’ a winner

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

How can you lose with Mozart? You can’t. I attended the final dress rehearsal Wednesday evening for Tri-Cities Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) and was not disappointed. All of the principals were strong with a few standouts. No surprise here that the orchestra also was excellent under the firm hand of Maestro John Mario Di Costanzo. The overture, a signature piece, was worth the price of admission. Read the rest of this entry »

You’d be mad to miss TCO’s stunning ‘Lucia’

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

Mayhem …
Madness …
Melodrama …
Magic …
The Tri-Cities Opera production of Lucia Di Lammermoor is a masterpiece, from the first fate-laden notes of the overture to the last fate-fulfilled note of the finale. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Madame Butterfly’ soars at Tri-Cities Opera

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

I was delighted to be in the audience Friday night (Oct. 21) for a stunning moment in Binghamton’s cultural history. I knew the Tri-Cities Opera production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly would be good, just not how good. And that was mostly due to Jake and Jill Gardner, who sang the leading roles of Cio-Cio-San and Sharpless. Sorry if this seems like a list of superlatives, but here we go: Read the rest of this entry »

Gardners’ return forms bridge between past and future at TCO

By Barb Van Atta

In 1999, rising Tri-Cities Opera soprano Jill Bowen was slated to sing her first Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Her future husband, longtime TCO favorite Jake Gardner, hoped to reprise the role of Sharpless while making his directorial debut. Suffice it to say, life does not always go according to plan. Although Jill sang all five performances, Jake wasn’t involved in the production. Read the rest of this entry »

TCO’s ‘Hoffmann’ is a tapestry of delights

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

Tri-Cities Opera concludes its season this weekend with a lush and haunting interpretation of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. When I attended the final dress rehearsal on Wednesday (April 27), there were a few rough spots and some stop-and-go, but, overall, it is another excellent production with a fine cast and a stunning orchestra led by John Mario Di Costanzo. Read the rest of this entry »