The Baltimore Concert Opera has returned to their pre-pandemic venue: The Engineers Club of Baltimore—housed in the grand and stunning Garrett Jacobs Mansion—with an abnormal tiny gem of an opera. The Medium, penned by Italian American Composer and Librettist Gian Carlo Menotti, is an exemplar of the post–World War II opera design and style. Directed by Catrin Davies with the help of Conductor Joshua Hong, this output was a showcase of the professionalism and expertise that this local gem of an opera enterprise draws in.
The tale is a reasonably uncomplicated supernatural drama. Madame Flora (Jenni Financial institution), a medium, preys on the desperation of family members who have lost a boy or girl by convincing them that she can channel the spirits of the deceased youngsters. Her daughter Monica (Amanda Sheriff), along with a young nonverbal servant named Toby (Peter Pattengill), take part in the séances in order to guidance the illusion Madame Flora has designed. Matters get a change for the worse when Madame Flora has a terrifying knowledge in the course of a session. The length of the opera follows this tragic tale, which happens along with Toby and Monica’s burgeoning romance.
I was not very common with Menotti’s perform going in, aside from its getting been referenced as element of the verismo movement, which mostly emphasized realism in the operas and literary performs developed therein. Mascagni and Puccini are a lot more commonly linked with this unique interval in opera background. However, as The Medium was initially generated in 1946, I can see how a story revolving all around decline and the desire to be reunited with loved types would have appealed to a post–World War II audience. A person of the matters that is so superb about the Baltimore Concert Opera is that their structure makes it possible for them to take a look at will work that may well be riskier for a larger sized business to produce, for that reason growing the publicity of lesser-identified operas.
The performances in this opera had been stellar. Bank’s Madame Flora is thrillingly believable. Though the character is quite odious, Bank is ready to attract on the sympathetic threads that flesh her out. Her mezzo-soprano vocals are wealthy more than enough to maintain all of these character traits together at at the time. Similarly, soprano Amanda Sheriff’s obvious and vibrant vocals lend the character of Monica the vital disappointment and emotional fat required for her doomed romance with Toby.
Menotti’s libretto is quite sturdy, containing a heartbreaking and poetic lyricism that is unusual in far more modern day functions. Monica sings:
The moon is weaving bandages of gold.
O black swan, exactly where, oh, the place is my lover absent?
Torn and tattered is my bridal gown,
And my lamp is dropped, and my lamp is shed.
With silver needles and with silver thread,
The stars stitch a shroud for the dying sun.
Pattengill, a BFA Dance college student at the Peabody Institute, is an amazingly sympathetic Toby. The supporting cast is also potent: Samantha Lax as Mrs. Gobineau, Travis Lucas as Mr. Gobineau, and Taylor Hillary Boykins as Mrs. Nolan round out this proficient group of singers. The firm undoubtedly has not shed its contact in attracting best-tier expertise more than the duration of the pandemic.
Interestingly, the Baltimore Concert Opera also invited community magicians Annie Montone and Brian M. Kehoe from the neighborhood School of Magic Arts to entertain audience members before the clearly show. This was a awesome contact and regular of the thoughtfulness that this business puts into producing a welcoming natural environment for its productions.
The Medium was the great teaser for the Baltimore Live performance Opera’s impending season, which incorporates the company’s first total-scale generation: Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. For longtime fans of opera and for people who are new to the genre, the Baltimore Concert Opera proceeds to be a person of the premier firms attracting top talent in the Mid-Atlantic.
Functioning Time: One hour, with no intermission.
The Medium performed November 12 and 14, 2021, presented by the Baltimore Concert Opera undertaking at the Engineers Club of Baltimore—11 West Mt. Vernon Spot in Baltimore, MD. Tickets to upcoming exhibits in their 2021/2022 period can be bought on line.