‘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 »

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 »

Were you art-full this past week?

Season subscriber that I am, I spent Sunday afternoon with Violetta and her crew at TCO’s lovely production of “La Traviata.” (See review below.) I’ve also been savoring all the award-winning  movies that TCM annually broadcasts as a lead-up to the Oscars. And speaking of films on TV, HBO subscribers should try to catch “The Sunset Limited,” based on a  play by Cormac McCarthy. This dialogue-driven two-man show about faith (or lack thereof) is a great addition to Tommy Lee Jones’ canon of top-notch performances and a strong reminder of what a wonderful actor  Samuel L. Jackson can be when he’s not asked to carry a lightsaber or spew a string of curses.
What’s been art-full in your life this past week? Join the conversation.

TCO ‘La Traviata’ is a feast for the ear and eye

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

Attending Tri-Cities Opera’s final dress rehearsal Wednesday (Feb. 9) for Giuseppe Verdi’s perennial favorite, La Traviata, I did not believe this production could surpass the excellence of last fall’s Cosi Fan Tutte. I was wrong. What maestro John Mario Di Costanzo has done is to, literally, transform the opera’s orchestra to such a high level of playing that it’s hard to imagine these already fine musicians could sound even better. Read the rest of this entry »

Joint fundraiser to benefit TCO and The Forum

Barbara Fiala and Friends of the Forum

r-l Barbara Fiala, TCO Director Reed Smith, Forum Friends Ron Sall and Sue Kirkland, TCO Board Member Dr. Michael Bogdasarian

Tri-Cities Opera and the Friends of the Forum are teaming up Saturday, Feb. 5, for what is being billed as a “gala cocktail party fundraiser” to benefit the Friends’ efforts to finance improvements to the downtown Binghamton theater. Invitations already have been sent to TCO subscribers, but the event, built around an “operalogue” preview of TCO’s upcoming production of La Traviata, was announced to the general public today (Jan. 13) at a press conference on the Forum stage, hosted by Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala.

“I love this theater,” Fiala said of the onetime vaudeville house and movie theater now managed by the county as a performing arts center. “We want to preserve it and even make it better.”

The Friends of the Forum, comprised of government, business and cultural leaders, began in 2009. A previous fund-raising event, tied to the Broadway Theatre League’s presentation of Mamma Mia!, brought in $50,000, Fiala said. The opera collaboration is on a smaller scale; however, TCO General Director Reed Smith expressed hope that it would call attention to the “distinctive cultural experience” of attending a performance in The Forum. Read the rest of this entry »

Charming BU vocal ensembles deserved bigger audience

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

Among the many free musical events on the Binghamton University campus is the annual spring concert of the Harpur Chorale and Women’s Chorus. The treble-voice chorus, conducted by Danielle Sisson, and the mixed-voice chorale, conducted by Peter Browne, are the university’s select choruses of approximately two dozen singers each. On May 6, the two ensembles offered “Choral Florals,” songs themed around flowers and clouds, birds and bees, and springtime love. The hour-long program went quickly and provided a light-hearted escape for the evening.

Read the rest of this entry »

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