BWW Reviews: Hagerstown Hub Opera Presents Delightful Double Bill of Operas
The Hagerstown Hub Opera Ensemble concert production of Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana on January 11 and 12 was an enjoyable double bill of one-act operas and a delightful way to break up the winter doldrums.
Pagliacci was a wonderful concert production with exceptionally strong singers. Keith Craig was a powerful Canio and his aria "Vesti la Giubba", easily the most recognizable aria from Pagliacci for the general public, was very moving and poignant. His heartbreak was evident and truly added another layer of emotional depth to the sequence.
Spencer Adamson as Tonio and Andrew Ellis as Beppe made an enjoyable pair as Canio's fellow performers and Matt Osifchin was a suave and sophisticated Silvio to complete the tragic love triangle.
Christine Petkus as Nedda was truly the standout of the cast of Pagliacci. Her rendition of "Stridono Lassu" was beautiful and showcased both her vocal agility and dramatic abilities. Many of her sarcastic glances or moments stole each scene she appeared in.
The evening continued with an enjoyable production of Cavalleria Rusticana. While the emphasis remained on the music, this concert production was slightly different in that the performers displayed a little more plot-related physicality, such as embracing or comforting other performers during songs.
The lead role and most nuanced performer of Cavalleria Rusticana was Rebecca Perkinson as Santuzza. She showcased impressive vocal and dramatic abilities in a difficult role with ease. Erica Haman was a lovely and earthy Lucia while Spencer Adamson and Keith Craig appeared again, also giving wonderful performances, as Alfio and Turiddu, respectively.
Although she had little stage time, Katherine Sanford as Lola was also a standout. Her light, clear coloratura voice was as beautiful and poised as her graceful stage presence.
The concert productions also featured student singers from the Barbara Ingram Concert Choir as chorus members.
The operas were staged as concert productions, with no elaborate costumes, sets or lighting. The simple staging and attire truly allowed the beauty and power of the music to shine through. However, since there were no sets or elaborate staging, the performers did not use props but rather mimed props essential to the plot (such as knives to murder lovers) in an Our Town-esque style. It was an interesting choice, but did not fit with the rest of the simplified tone of the concert production.
The Hagerstown Hub Opera Ensemble season will continue with Le Nozze de Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) on May 23, 24, 31 and June 1. All performances occur in the Kepler Center Theater on the campus of Hagerstown Community College. For more information about upcoming performances, please visit http://www.huboperaensemble.org/
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