Chamber Opera Chicago at
Centerstage- Somewhat Recommended
"...COC Artistic Director Barbara Landis, who cast herself as Anne, is in every scene, and that kind of prominence requires an actor up to the challenge, which Ms. Landis is not. Her accent was unintelligible, and her lines were delivered in the manner of someone trying to remember them rather than someone playing a character. In addition, the songs she sang did not seem to fit her vocal range. Ms. Landis wrote the libretto for this adaptation, and even traveled to England to do research for it, so it is clear that this is a labor of love. Unfortunately, that love didn’t translate into a stronger performance, and enthusiasm alone can’t carry a play. This story deserves a passionate production, not a three and a half hour slog."
Chicago Stage Standard- Highly Recommended
"...Chamber Opera Chicago devotes itself to making fine musical theater available to opera and musical theater lovers, and accessible to everyone. Yet, amazingly, their low ticket prices don’t condemn them to substandard sets, costumes, and talent. The word lavish would not be too strong in describing Chamber Opera Chicago’s "Persuasion". From the souvenir-quality program worth reading before and after the show; to the pre-show lecture by Hazel Jones that was worthy of any audience, to the authentic Regency reproduction costumes direct from England; to the A-list cast, full orchestra, and three soloists from the Trinity Irish Dance Company; to the photography shot on location in Bath, Lyme Regis, and stately British homes and then transformed into scenic elements by industry giant John Boesche, it’s obvious that no attention was spared in making this premiere a gift to Chicago."
Around The Town Chicago- Somewhat Recommended
"...As I said earlier, this production is filled with talent, but many o fthe audience members ( those not family members, and even some who were) found this to be just a bit longer than it needed to be. I would think that shaving this down to a two hour production would make for a more entertaining experience and perhaps gather new subscribers who enjoy a few hours of escape into the world of mucial theater. While Michelle Areyzaga has a wonderful voice and hits the highest of notes, if she did just a little less, the story would not change. The comic touch of Lady Dalrymple ( Michelle hackman) along with Mis Cateret ( Gretel Mink) was pure delight, but again,could have been shaved. Again, impressive story, nice adaptation, but far longer than need be. Oh, as to Lisa Wolf, the radio personality, who is doing her first “opera”, she has two small scenes as Mrs. Smith and proves the old saying, “there are no small parts, just small actors”. She makes her 7 minutes an importants part of the story line and guess what she can carry a tune!"
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