Favorite

Review: IU Opera's Xerxes in Bloomington 

****
click to enlarge IU Opera's Xerxes
  • IU Opera's Xerxes

With his opera Xerxes, Handel was leaps ahead of his time, yet a few skips behind ours. When the opera opened in London in 1738, the atypical music and libretto were coolly received. The work, set in Persia around 486 B.C., languished until 1924, after which multiple productions have since taken place, surely none of them as sprightly as this current staging.

Stage director Tom Diamond has added a capriciously balletic Amore, a.k.a. Cupid, to guide us through the twists and turns of a tale of two brothers loving the same woman and two sisters loving the same man. Amore's presence is a brilliant stroke that fittingly interlaces with the absurdities of events, frailties of logic and depths and breadths of love.

While based on two known episodes in the life of King Xerxes, the rest of the events are purely fictional. But no matter, it's a universal story involving love and power, fickleness and miscommunications, luck and foolishness. When Romilda mocks Xerxes for his poetic musings about the plane tree (akin to our Sycamores), she sets into motion events that threaten not only her happiness and her life but that of her lover and a host of others.

How it all unravels is what delights, abetted by fine singing by seven leading characters, as well as excellent playing by an on-stage orchestra conducted by Gary Thor Wedow, an amazing set by Robert Perdziola with lighting by Patrick Mero and zestful choreography by Jacques Cesbron (danced and mimed expertly by a Ballet Theater soloist). By all means attend one of the remaining performances on Feb. 8 and 9.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Rita Kohn

  • Indianapolis Opera opens with 'Crescendo'

    Indianapolis Opera’s season opener on May 22 brought a crowd to White River State Park for an energetic program of selections from Broadway musicals, symphonic pops, Great American Songbook and operas.
    • May 28, 2015
  • Review: From Swans to Splendor

    Indianapolis School of Ballet’s Spring Concert offered three splendidly performed chestnuts from the classical repertoire and a new work by Roberta Wong.
    • May 26, 2015
  • More »

Latest in Classical Music

  • Indianapolis Opera opens with 'Crescendo'
  • Indianapolis Opera opens with 'Crescendo'

    Indianapolis Opera’s season opener on May 22 brought a crowd to White River State Park for an energetic program of selections from Broadway musicals, symphonic pops, Great American Songbook and operas.
    • May 28, 2015
  • ICO celebrates end of 30th season
  • ICO celebrates end of 30th season

    Retiring Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra music director Kirk Trevor led his forces in his final concert after 27 years with them; in it he made a memorable musical statement.
    • May 18, 2015
  • ISO's "Pathetique" far from pathetic
  • ISO's "Pathetique" far from pathetic

    After a not-too-promising first half, the ISO, under guest conductor Cristian Măcelaru, opens the gates of musical profundity with a great Tchaikovsky Sixth.
    • May 18, 2015
  • More »

Feedback

Recent Comments


Reader Reviews

© 2015 NUVO | Website powered by Foundation