Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Identity Crisis (Or Two)


Last weekend I enjoyed a bit of a Mozart extravaganzafest in our fair city of Houston: Saturday night I went to the Alley Theater’s production of Amadeus with Paul, and Sunday afternoon I saw Houston Grand Opera’s production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Jennifer and Patty.  Let’s investigate, shall we?!

Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, a fictionalized historical play about the rivalry between famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his contemporary, Antonio Salieri, premiered in London in 1979 and quickly transferred to a multi-Tony award winning production on Broadway the following year.  Four years later it was turned into a film of the same name and went on to garner a gazillion (approx.) Oscars.  I had never been to a production at the Alley before and figured this was as good a time as any!

2011-04-16 21.25.45


I remember watching the movie a loooong time ago and so I was pretty much going into it with a fresh perspective on the piece.  Even at about three hours and just one intermission I was entranced by the entire production—Jeffrey Bean and Stanley Bahorek’s portrayals of Salieri and Mozart, respectively, are still with me.  An added bonus of seeing the show is that a studio mate of mine from Michigan, Amanda Kingston, played the singing-only role of the soprano Katherina Cavalieri.  Not only does the girl know her way around some coloratura, but she can rock the hell out of a period costume as well!


The following afternoon I continued my HGO series with Jennifer and Patty to see Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, which now provides me the perfect venue to do a little retroactive blogging from the University of Michigan’s 2009 production of the same opera (and in which I played the role of Count Almaviva).



It would take a bit too long to explain the whole plot of Figaro, what with all the mistaken identities, geniological revelations, trickery and musicological implications of the work… for all that and the connection with Beaumarchais’ triology you can check out wikipedia’s article here.  Suffice it to say, the Count spends the whole show trying to sleep with his wife’s maid, Susanna, who is to be married to Figaro, the count’s attendant.  They, in turn, spend the whole opera trying to keep this from happening. Plus their’s bumbling gardeners, women-crazy soldiers, conniving cougars and much more!

Kyle Knapp, Basilio; Mary Martin, Susanna; Kate Wakefield, Cherbuino (video courtesy of Kyle’s iPhone) AND since I’m always up for a little inter-website promoting: check out Kyle’s website here and look for an ub-sessed shout-out in the “Links” section!


Now, some of you may have noticed an 8 foot tall portrait resembling a certain yours truly…


Dear art department: Thanks for superimposing my head onto this painting.  Next time, could you take a couple of inches off the middle, please!


9010figaroa33  9010figaroa17

Seducing who I think is Susanna but is, in actuality, my wife in disguise.       Hai gia vinta la causa-ing it



Best. Picture. EVAR!! Just look at the kuh-crazy we are all giving.  Anticdotally, it was during the end of this 20 minute long Act II finale that at one point I started seeing stars everywhere.  I thought to myself: “Now wait a minute, did someone change the stage direction and start throwing glitter from the rafters?!?”  No… in fact someone did not… I was just singing balls-to-the-walls and may or may not have almost passed out! (L to R: Ben Sieverding, Kristin Eder, Kyle Knapp, Joseph Roberts, Mary Martin)



I also really love this backstage shot Kyle took. (L to R: Rhea Olivacce, Kyle, Me, Ben, Kate)


Because I had such a substantial role in the opera, I had a substantial Texas delegation to come up and see it!!  This was actually Matt and Mallory’s first time away from their baby Paige and I’m so happy I had such strong support.


Lunch at Zingerman’s Deli!!!  Everyone minus Matt and Joanie, who had eaten there before when they came to see La boheme and did a little off campus sight seeing that day.


Artist: Andrew Lloyd Webber/ Album: By Jeeves

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