‘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 »

‘Master Class’ is masterful theater

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

I admit I had some trepidation when I heard that a community theater group was attempting Master Class, Terrance McNally’s ode to his muse, Maria Callas. Any uncertainty was dissipated by a riveting presentation given in Owego by the Ti-Ahwaga Community Players.
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John Covelli & Friends: Fantasia with too little sax

Reviewed by Leo Cotnoir

There is no question that John Covelli is a talented pianist, and it is clear that mid-19th Century Romanticism is his métier. After a somewhat overlong but informative introduction Sunday (Oct. 3) at The Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City, Covelli launched into Robert Schumann’s “Fantasia in C Major, Opus 17” with the energy and gusto of a much younger man performing for a jury who would decide his fate. One could not help but hear the connection Covelli feels with the composer through his teacher, who studied with Schumann’s wife, piano virtuosa Clara Schumann. When he ventured into other periods, however, although still technically impressive, Covelli seemed on shakier musical grounds. For my taste his performance of a transcription of Bach’s “Prelude in B minor” had far too much tempo variation as did his reading of Mozart’s “Fantasy in D minor” that at times sounded more like Brahms than Mozart. His performance of Debussy’s “La Cathédrale Engloutie” (“The Sunken Cathedral”) began with the ethereal quality we associate with French Impressionist composers but soon seemed to be grow a bit bombastic. A second piece by Debussy, “Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest” (“What the West Wind Saw”), since it calls for a heavy hand to depict the storm wind, was more successful. Read the rest of this entry »

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TCO trainees show off vocal and acting skills

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

Giacomo Puccini’s one-act comedy, “Gianni Schicchi’ was presented March 12-14 as a showcase for Tri-Cities Opera’s singers in training, and almost all of the young performers delivered a lively and fully committed reading of the score in a fully staged, English-language production at the TCO Opera Center, 315 Clinton St., Binghamton. The intimate nature of the performance was enhanced by the cabaret-style seating and the use of entrances throughout the auditorium (and through the audience). Read the rest of this entry »

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TCO presents a stunning “Tosca”

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

Tri-Cities Opera last weekend presented a vocally and dramatically searing production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” at The Forum in Binghamton. From the beautiful sets and lighting right down to the smallest details, TCO successfully proved that, with mature adult voices, the difference really is in the singing. Read the rest of this entry »