Shakespeare Sings No More

Review by Barry Plaxen for the Catskill Chronicle

NARROWSBURG, NY (August 20, 2012) – It is always a bit sad when a happy series of events comes to a close. On August 19 in the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburg, Sullivan County bid adieu to “Shakespeare Sings,” the 2012 theme for the Delaware Valley Opera’s (DVO) productions of Verdi’s “Otello” (June), Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate” (July) and Otto Nicolai’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (August).

“Merry Wives” closed on August 19 after six performances. DVO Artistic Director Carol Castel’s production was, in two words, a delight. The August 19 cast sparkled, and it was obvious that they had great fun performing.

Review: 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' in Narrowsburg

By Marcus Kalipolites - For the Times Herald-Record - August 14, 2012

LAKE HUNTINGTON — Otto Nicolai may not be as well-known as Verdim but he did, nevertheless, compose one of the funniest comic operas of the 19th century. Based on Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor," Nicolai's adaptation enhances the original play with beautiful arias and an attractive overture, which has become a stand-alone staple in symphony orchestra concerts.

In his directing of this overture in Saturday night's presentation of the Delaware Valley Opera production, Scott Jackson Wiley drew a sparkling rendition of the opener from his 10-piece orchestra with sounds comparable to that of a much larger ensemble.

Then, setting the comedy in motion at the Sullivan West High School Auditorium is Mrs. Ford's snickering response to a love letter she receives from a drunk and slovenly Falstaff. Anna Viemeister, as the shocked woman, unleashes her character's feelings in an engaging coloratura aria and elaborate recitative that reveals a strong and expressive voice.

With Danielle Horta in the role of Mrs. Page (another letter recipient), the two neighbors scheme, not only for condemnation but also comical retribution, to teach the would-be philanderer a lesson in a duet of soaring emotions put forth in florid singing and hop-skip dancing.

But while Falstaff (Ed Moran) longs for false love, John Kaneklides as Fenton looks for honest romance in a warm and engaging aria as he appeals to an unreceptive Mr. Page (Jeremy Griffin) for the privilege of courting his daughter Anne (Alexandra Haines). Undismayed, the heroic tenor and the lyric soprano later engage in the most touching moments of the opera as they share "forevermore" promises to the accompaniment of quietly sweeping obbligatos by violinist Rachel Lever.

Back to the "aria-of-anticipation" before Falstaff arrives, Viemeister delivers yet another example of fulsome singing as her character receives, ridicules and fights off hugs by the clownish intruder. With the arrival of her suspicious and furious husband, Julian Whitley imbues Ford's character with the fury of a boxer in his own aria of indignation, but not before Falstaff is hastily dispatched with dirty laundry.

Back at the Garter Inn, Falstaff enjoys his home turf with a rollicking drinking song before Mr. Ford, under false pretenses, pays the braggart to expose his wife's supposed affair. Soon enough, a powerful "duet-argument" erupts in which rapid patter by Falstaff is joined with horrified interjections by the mystified husband.

Meanwhile, the suitors Fenton, Slender (George Hemcher) and Dr. Cajus (Georgios Papadimitriou) engage Anne in a four-part musical discourse as each of the three men puts forth his own argument for her acceptance. By the final curtain, as is the norm in comic operas, "All's well that ends well."

With remarkable singing, colorful and quaint costumes by Nancy Hobbs and efficient design by Kay Hines (including a large backdrop of the Globe Theatre), Delaware Valley Opera, as in "Merry Wives," continues to stage top-quality opera productions.

from The River Reporter - Original article here

When I called the Delaware Valley Opera Company (DVO, ), the young lady on the phone was perplexed as to the reason for my palpable excitement. I had already explained that I was looking forward to seeing (and hearing) both “La Bohème” (at the DVO) and “Rent” at the Forestburgh Playhouse ( ) on consecutive nights, back to back.

NARROWSBURG, NY — Puccini's "La Boheme" is opera at its best: emotional, engaging and believable. Set in Paris in the 1830s, it follows the story of the poet Rodolfo, who falls in love with his garret neighbor, Mimi, on Christmas Eve; they romance, then have a painful falling out until, several months later, she dies of consumption. Another couple, the painter Marcello and his old flame, Musetta, renew their love affair on Christmas Eve in the Latin Quarter, soon quarrel, and then the couples part with "Our time for parting is when the roses bloom." It is Musetta who brings Mimi home to the garret for the climactic finale, with Rodolfo invoking "Mimi" in one of the most moving scenes in opera.

The River Reporter, Arts & Leisure - (Original Article here)

Opera season returns to the Upper Delaware

by Tom Kane

NARROWSBURG, NY — You don’t know how close the Delaware Valley Opera (DVO) came to not opening its 2009 season.

Like all artistic companies, be they opera, ballet, symphony or amateur theater, DVO is struggling for its life. Despite the realities of the economic downturn, the DVO board and its cadre of singers, instrumentalists and stage workers decided to give their all and have a shortened season. Instead of 12 performances it will hold eight.

In order to have these performances, DVO canceled its young singers training program which was to be offered by the team of Nico and Carol Castel, who train singers in diction (Nico, a veteran of the New York Met) and stage craft and vocal production (Carol). Carol, no stranger to DVO, directed several of the most successful DVO productions in recent years.

The River Reporter, Arts & Leisure (Original Article here)

NARROWSBURG, NY — The curtain at the Tusten Theatre had to be held for 15 minutes while ushers furiously attempted to find seats for the sell-out crowd that came to the production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” on Sunday, August 3.

Long-time opera goers at the theatre couldn’t remember as big a crowd at this one. “Maybe it’s because this is the only time this opera will be held at the Tusten,” one of them said.

The Delaware Valley Opera (DVO) has scheduled a second performance of Mozart’s most famous opera at the Selig Theater at Sullivan County Community College on August 10 and a third at the Ritz Theatre in Hawley, PA on August 15, but that’s all.

“We’ll have to plan it differently next season,” said Jim Blanton, the DVO’s energetic artistic and musical director.