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Robert Swedberg's staging created a dramatic story line that was interrupted by humorous inventor Spalanzani, played by tenor Brian Herrin, and his identical sidekick Cochenille, played by tenor Dean Anthony. Swedberg also purposely exaggerated the choreography of the Olympia scene, with her singing and limbs robotically shuffling.

Many of the singers stretched their abilities by playing different parts during the performance, and Elizabeth Batton (who played Hoffmann's muse, Nicklaussem Voice of Antonia's Mother) was not the only singer who wore more than one hat. For example, Dean Anothy (Cochenille) also played the parts Andre's, Frantz and Pittichinaccio. Greer Grimsey (Dapertutto) played the parts of Coppelius, Lindorf and Dr Miracle. Brenda Harris played the four loves, Olympia, Antonia, Giuletta and Stella.

I especially enjoyed Peter Dean Beck's set, with a tilted floor jetting off the stage and a two story court yard style building that served for scenes from a bar to a laboratory. Projected screens were used in the background, but only helped portray the symbolism half of the time. The Orlando Philharmonic and conductor Mark Flint added to the story line with compelling overtures.

The next performance scheduled at the Orlando Opera is The Barber of Seville on 15 February, 8pm, 17 February, 2pm and 19 February 2002, 7:30pm.

Copyright © 13 December 2001 Chad Neuman, Lakeland, FL, USA





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