Review Roundup: Cincinnati Opera Presents ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL, A Pink Floyd Opera
Transforming Pink Floyd's 1979 album The Wall onto the operatic stage, Another Brick in the Wall tells the semi-autobiographical story of a rock star's troubled journey after lashing out at an admiring concertgoer. Another Brick in the Wall completely transforms Roger Waters's original work into a standard operatic form, with eight soloists, 51 chorus members, and a 64-piece orchestra. The opera received its world premiere at Opéra de Montréal in March 2017, with ten sold-out performances. Cincinnati Opera is a co-producer of the opera with Productions Opéra Concept M.P., Inc., led by executive director Pierre Dufour. The concept and stage direction for the production was created by Dominic Champagne, renowned for his work on such Cirque de Soleil productions as LOVE, Varekai, and Zumanity.
Singing the role of the progressive-rock superstar Pink is rising Canadian baritone Nathan Keoughan in his Cincinnati Opera debut. Canadian soprano France Bellemare will sing the role of Pink's mother. A finalist in the 2015 Montreal International Music Competition, Times Argus hailed Bellemare's performance as exploding with "exhilarating beauty and passion." Singing the role of Pink's father is French-Canadian tenor Jean-Michel Richer. Canadian soprano Caroline Bleau, recognized for her "excellent lyric soprano" and "beautiful presence on stage" (ResMusica) will sing the role of Pink's wife. Bellemare, Richer, and Bleau are reprising their roles from the world premiere, and all are making their Cincinnati Opera debuts.
All performances take place at 7:30 p.m., featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. A free Opera Insights lecture is presented one hour prior to each performance.
For additional information, please visit cincinnatiopera.org or contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
David Lyman, Cincinnati.com: For all its sumptuous visual presentation, though, the impact of "Another Brick in the Wall" is surprisingly muted. Some of it stems from Waters' lyrics. They have remained intact from the original album, so there are occasional moments of great eloquence. But what once seemed so powerful when wrapped in the urgency of Pink Floyd's music now often feels flimsy when illuminated on massive screens throughout the theater.
Janelle Gelfand, Biz Journals: Baritone Nathan Keoughan turned in a powerful performance as Pink, the jaded rocker who has a mental breakdown and sees flashbacks of his life. They included scenes from Pink's birth and childhood, his father's death in World War II and one of the album's most memorable tracks about his abusive teacher. A fine actor, Keoughan swaggered through love affairs with groupies and a simulated sex scene under the watchful eye of his over-protective mother.
Steve Kemple, City Beat: Under the baton of Alain Trudel, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Bilodeau's orchestration shine brilliantly. Every bit as divergent from the original album version as the Scissor Sisters' 2004 Disco rendition, the familiar lyrics and melodies of "Comfortably Numb" are deconstructed amid eerie woodwinds as Bellemare's Mother breathlessly sings to a convalescing young Pink. On the Pink Floyd album, the song is propelled by David Gilmour's guitar solo like a spaceship sling-shotting around a star. Here, the gravitational center is removed, and it is easily among the production's most stunning transformations.
Jordan Riefe, Hollywood Reporter: As Mother, mezzo soprano Bellemare has highlights early on and notably in the final scene, but unbalanced sound mixing sometimes left her drowned out by the orchestra. As Pink's wife, soprano Bleau offers gorgeous renderings to match her incandescent stage presence with a fiery mane of red hair and dazzling crimson dress. The renowned Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of guest conductor Alain Trudel, provides a tight, nuanced interpretation of Bilodeau's score, but is only as good as the material.