<<< << -- 4 -- Kelly Ferjutz IMPORTANT TO DREAM
Crespel received two wonderful performances: David Svoboda and the cover, Luchette. The latter is also tall and slender (although a bit younger than Svoboda) and looked properly conductor-like in his tail-suit. Crespel was a doting father to the Antonia of Rebecca Rumfelt, who has one of the best voices I've heard in a long time. She also sang one of the entre acts (an aria from Don Giovanni) that would have melted the heart of a stone. Pitch was always exact, and her diction was superb. Her voice easily carried throughout this space and appeared to have more size available if needed. I'd really like to hear more from her.
Gail Novak, covering Antonia, was certainly more than adequate in the part, but having previously heard Rumfelt ... The part of Antonia's mother was sung by Kori Anthony, and covered by Rachel Helgerson. This was another example of the cover turning in a more well-balanced performance. Anthony's acting (?) on Thursday night was too imitative of Olympia to be convincing.
The marvelously colorful and appropriate costumes were supervised by Leanne Parise, with help from Brigi Janik and Ms Sederburg. Danielle Drew helped with the wigs and makeup. Neil Sederburg designed and constructed the very versatile set, with help from Ms Kudisch and Ms Rumfelt. However, nearly everyone contributed something other than their physical presence to this production, which was of an extremely high quality throughout. The stage crew were volunteer students from Bethel Park High School; their advisor was Rob Gratton, and the Stage Manager was Rachel Helgeson.
Some of these individual performances were as good as you'll ever see on any stage anywhere. Others weren't quite to that level, but still better than you'd expect to see from a small, new, not-entirely professional company. Some of the singers might be better advised to pursue concert work, as orchestras are continually in need of fine strong voices for solos in the great choral works, especially. Fancy footwork or acting skills aren't required for that kind of singing. Some might improve with more attention to their acting capabilities. None of them, however, should abandon their dream. It's important to dream. Just ask Mary Beth Sederburg.
A scene from Undercroft Opera's 'The Tales of Hoffmann'. Photo © 2007 Neil Sederburg
Next year's dream is La Bohème. If you'll be near Pittsburgh, don't miss it. Visit Undercroft Opera for details and updates.
Copyright © 20 September 2007
Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA
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