the north face black resolve jacket Cunard liner and jazz band put radical twist on otherwise staid play
HMS Pinafore, the stage director Robert Herriot, and the city of Edmonton seem to have an affinity for each other.
The last time Edmonton Opera presented Gilbert and Sullivan ever popular satirical opera, in the 2007/2008 season, Herriot directed. Last year, in Opera Nuova HMS Pinafore at Fort Edmonton, Herriot put on his other hat as an actor/singer and played Little Butterfly. And now on Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton Opera will be premiering its new and very enterprising production, again with the irrepressible Herriot directing. Smith, who had no naval experience at all when appointed to the post).
It takes a hard but hilarious look at class differences, snobbery, and prejudice, all bundled up in a comedy of misunderstandings, love affairs, and unexpected skeletons coming out of the family closet.
At the suggestion of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra general manager Tim Yakimec, this new production, designed and built in house, is taking an unexpected turn by resetting it on board a luxurious Cunard passenger liner in the roaring 1920s. That, of course, means the jazz age, and Herriot sees it as a period of clashes not only between classes but between generations.
of HMS Pinafore numbers are a little staid in their original form, he said. So he and the conductor, Peter Dala, came up with a radical idea. For the older characters in the cast, the original scoring for smallish Victorian orchestra has been faithfully retained, but the music sung by the numerous younger characters, both sailors and the bevy of young things accompanying Sir Joseph Porter, has been completely rearranged for a jazz band by New York based composer and arranger Ed Windels.
The Jubilee stage will be transformed into the Cunard liner, complete with a 8.5 metre smokestack and a 27 metre carved stage extending over the orchestra pit. I got the chance to see Camellia Koo set in the company rehearsal facility and it is indeed spectacular.
The orchestra pit is not needed because the orchestra and conductor Dala will become the ship orchestra shades of Titanic! dressed in the ship uniforms, and playing on deck.
The new setting also gives costume designer Deanna Finnman full rein to recreate the flapper era, following her marvellous 1950s costumes for Cinderella last season (another Herriot production).
Herriot loves the idea of the and glitz of the Cunard liner days. much more dynamic than the original setting, he said. not just a sea of white sailors on stage!
from his viewpoint as band master, sees the ship visitors as animals, who enjoy a good Charleston. dance is an integral element of this production, choreographed by Jason Hardwick. That meant relearning for some of the cast, including soprano Vanessa Oude Reimerink, who so impressed in the role of Frasquita in Carmen in 2016. She plays Josephine, the captain daughter (in love, of course, with one of the sailors). used to dance, she said, this is so much fun. Tenor Adrian Kramer plays the sailor she is in love with, and emphasizes the flexibility of all the company. a really nice group. group includes actors as well as singers. Glenn Nelson, who has played in everything from A Christmas Carol (as Scrooge) to King Lear at the Citadel, plays Sir Joseph Porter, and this is his debut with Edmonton Opera.
Bridget Ryan, award winning actor, singer, playwright, director, and television host is making her first ever appearance on a professional opera stage as Little Buttercup. She grew up listening to Gilbert and Sullivan in her family home, and when a student at Grant MacEwan performed in the Pirate King.
She was told then that day you going to play Buttercup, but long ago dismissed the idea. When Yakimec asked her to join the cast, she actually thought he was joking, but she enthuses about the experience. totally exciting to work with opera singers, Geoffrey Sirett, who has most recently been seen at the Jubilee in Turandot (as Ping) and Elektra (as Orest), plays Captain Corcoran. Baritone Dion Mazerolle, who also appeared in Turdandot (as the Mandarin), returns to play the most villainous character in the opera, Dick Deadeye.
Kramer suggest that anyone who has been intimidated by opera or operetta should go and see this production, especially if they enjoy jazz. Conductor Dala agrees. you have never liked Gilbert and Sullivan, try this you love the jazz. a fun show, said Herriot. know that once the curtain goes up and you hear this new colour it a whole new take on opera. It an escape, it moves,
it clips along at a very fast pace.