Anyone who is (a) reading this, (b) an opera fan, and (c) not too far from Baltimore -- that's about two of you, I imagine -- should know that the Vivente Opera's production of Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri is very competently done: certainly well worth the modest price. Tickets are $20 to $36, and even the $20 seats are not that far from the stage, since the church hall only fits about 200 chairs. It's sung in English, which doesn't help the intelligibility as much as it ought, but the plot is obvious enough. The orchestra is just a string quintet and a wind quintet, with the conductor playing the harpsichord only for the recitatives. The staging is simple and generally non-Eurotrashy, though the chorus does put on pirate hats to capture Isabella and Taddeo, and one of them has a stuffed parrot attached to his wrist for that scene only. The Isabella (Ann Marie Wilcox, not to be confused with Ana Marie Cox, aka Wonkette) was particularly striking, and looked very Italian, appropriately enough.
All in all, it was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and there are two more performances, on Thursday and Saturday nights.Posted by Michael Hendry at October 25, 2004 04:59 PM