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Thread: Die Fledermaus at the Brevard Music Center, North Carolina

          
   
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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Die Fledermaus at the Brevard Music Center, North Carolina

    Die Fledermaus, operetta in three acts
    Music by Johann Strauss, Jr.
    Libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genée

    The Janiec Opera Company of the Brevard Music Center
    Brevard Festival Orchestra conducted by Michael Sakir
    Stage Director Dean Anthony
    Chorus Master Eileen Downey
    Scenic Designer Bethanie Wampol Watson
    Lighting Designer Tiáloc López-Watermann
    Costume Designer Glenn Avery Breed
    Wig and Makeup Designer Brittany Rappise

    Cast

    Rosalinda - Tori Franklin
    Gabriel von Eisenstein - Robert Fridlender
    Adele - Vivian Yau
    Doctor Falke - Derek Stull
    Prince Orlofsky - Hannah Carroll
    Alfred - Ian DeSmit
    Dr. Blind - Gregory Sliskovich
    Frank - Samuel Rachmith
    Sally - Adina Triolo
    Ivan - Craig Smith
    Frosch - Dean Anthony
    (and 23 singers for the Ensemble)

    ---------------

    I've been very absent from Opera Lively for the last several months, involved in relocating to Western North Carolina for a new day job. Oh boy, moving is not easy, after 15 years in Chapel Hill. I've been busy selling a house, buying a new house, packing up all the belongings (then, unpacking), setting up the new house, and most importantly, getting adapted to the new job and its demands. Sorry for the long absence. It's appropriate to come back by reviewing a production expertly done by one of the opera companies of the Western part of our state, The Janiec, from the Brevard College, in the beautiful mountains around Asheville.

    Today was the perfect Saturday. We got to downtown Brevard at 12 noon, and had a delicious lunch at Square Root: a selection of European cheeses with fig preserve, tomato/chicken soup, fried green tomatoes BLT, Ahi tuna salad, cava and a local mango-wheat beer. Right in front of Square Root there is a delicious artisanal chocolate store, and we didn't order dessert, so that we left space for chocolate.

    Then, the operetta. More on this, later.

    After the show we traveled 45 minutes to Flat Rock to our hotel, the Highland Lake Inn and Resort. We arrived at 6 and went for a walk, touring the beautiful 26 acres of the property by the lake. Then at 7:30 PM we had dinner at the resort's gorgeous, spectacular, sublime Seasons restaurant. I ordered ceviche and the local mountain trout. My wife had a delicious salad with watermelon, and tilefish. I am normally not crazy about cheesecake, but the one they served, made with sweet potatoes, was extraordinary. A Gewürztraminer from the Sonoma Coast matched the food perfectly. Pictures of these fabulous dishes will follow, below.

    Back to the operetta.

    Wow. I'm very pleased. I had heard of the Brevard Summer Festival before, but I wasn't expecting this level of quality. Sure, the fact that the orchestra musicians and the singers are students shouldn't have discouraged me, because I'm used to another North Carolina music school, the A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and they always do an excellent job. So, Brevard, the other prestigious music school in our state, shouldn't disappoint. And indeed, it didn't. In no aspect of the show the audience was reminded that we were seeing a student performance. Professional companies don't do any better than what we saw this afternoon. I've seen Die Fledermaus live some three times before, all three by professional opera companies, and I couldn't tell the difference.

    The orchestra was phenomenal. A few of the musicians were gray-haired, so I suppose they were members of the faculty, but most were young. All sectors were well-balanced, the dynamics were rather precise, and the score was rendered perfectly, making me feel I was in Vienna.

    The sets were OK (not great, but not too bad either) and the costumes were good. Blocking at times was a bit deficient, with the large ensemble crowding the smallish stage; this was probably the only aspect that was below average. Acting was very accomplished by pretty much all singers, and was one of the highest points of the afternoon. The show was very, very funny: these students are getting excellent training in terms of comedic skills.

    The singers were mostly excellent. I particularly liked Derek Stull and Robert Fridlender, two very complete artists with powerful voices. Tori Franklin was great; Vivian Yau was a bit behind her. Ian DeSmit was maybe the weakest link, while Hannah Carroll did well. Comprimarios were good, and the stage director Dean Anthony was a pleasure to see, doubling up as a hilarious Frosch.

    Overall there was a lot of energy, and very good pace (fortunately, they abridged a bit the third act, which I always thought is too long and a bit boring if it is performed complete). The operetta was entirely sung and spoken in English, something I usually don't like, but I found the translation quite decent, well rhymed, and very funny.

    In summary, the day couldn't be any more pleasant. It's the last performance of the Janiec Opera Company this season. They also had Roméo et Juliette, and Susanna; unfortunately I missed those, busy with my move. Next Sunday I'm coming back for Mahler's second symphony, for the last day of the summer festival. In 2020 I'll make a point of attending more performances.

    Pictures to follow.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); July 28th, 2019 at 03:19 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Cheese platter at Quare Root

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    Fried Green Tomatoes BLT with a side of Mac-and-5-cheeses

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    First act sets

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    Second act sets

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    Festival poster

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    Curtain calls

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    Seasons restaurant, ceviche

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    Watermelon salad

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    Trout

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    Tilefish

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    Sweet Potatoes Cheesecake

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    A corner of the Highland Lake Inn & Resort grounds
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); July 28th, 2019 at 03:10 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Hope you're settled in to your new house and new job. Either is a stressful and time-consuming event and to do both doesn't bear thinking about.
    It's good to see you back posting your interesting and thoughtful reviews. And the food looks delicious.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I think my cholesterol level shot up just from looking at some of that food!

    As Annie said, we always enjoy your wonderful reviews, and I'm sure you're glad to have time in your schedule again to attend opera (and other) performances.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I think my cholesterol level shot up just from looking at some of that food!

    As Annie said, we always enjoy your wonderful reviews, and I'm sure you're glad to have time in your schedule again to attend opera (and other) performances.
    Well, yes, the fried green tomatoes BLT with mac-and-cheese was a bit scarier, cholesterol wise but actually nothing was greasy. And the food at Seasons wasn't greasy at all.

    For example, the full description of the trout, was Pan-Seared Local Trout Filet, Appalachian Succotash (roasted corn, asparagus, baby limas and grape tomatoes) accompanied by tri-color pearl potatoes and Carolina green tomato chow-chow. All very healthy.

    On my way back today, we visited charming downtown Hendersonville, and then stopped by the Sierra Nevada Brewery, and oh my God, the beer was delicious, and it's a very impressive operation!

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    My wife. Hendersonville is bear country. Downtown is full of bear statues.

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    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post
    Hope you're settled in to your new house and new job. Either is a stressful and time-consuming event and to do both doesn't bear thinking about.
    It's good to see you back posting your interesting and thoughtful reviews. And the food looks delicious.
    Thanks. Yes, things are getting settled although there's still a lot to do in the house.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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