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The Impresario was set in an apartment in Manhattan during the 1920s, while the Salieri work used the same basic set, but changed to a hippy-dippy sort of establishment. Costumes by Esther Montgomery were both appealing and appropriate, going a long way toward establishing the proper time-frame. Expert wigs and makeup by Alison Garrigan provided the finishing touches. Dave Brooks designed the charming set that portrayed either an upscale living room/salon or a shabby/chic beatnik pad. Lighting by Colleen Dowling enhanced both versions. Harry Davidson, a native of Cleveland although usually found at Duke University in North Carolina, led the CIM student orchestra in an accurate and bright performance. Opera coach/accompanist John Simmons doubled on harpsichord/continuo in the Salieri work.

The libretto of The Impresario was changed ever-so-slightly to require just three singers: Madame Goldentrill was sung by Marilyn Reid Smith; Mr Angel was Adam J Smith and Madamoiselle Silverpeal was Tracy A Labrecque. The short opera, which has more spoken words than singing, was perhaps closer to a drawing room comedy, and fortunately, each of the singers was more than a capable actor as well. Mr Angel was kept rather busy trying to separate his two dueling divas, who at times treated him rather as the ham in the middle of the sandwich.

The two sopranos had evidently paid close attention to their classes on diva-dom; however, it was Mlle Silverpeal who excelled in the art of up-staging, masterfully dangling her fur scarf from an extended arm, completely obliterating the face of her erstwhile competitor from the audience! Vocally, all three singers demonstrated excellent singing techniques; their runs and trills were clear and distinct, and borrowing words from Mme Goldentrill, 'German makes everything sound significant!' Indeed.

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Copyright © 4 March 2006 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


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