The Pirates of Penzance on the Virginia Opera is a pleasant present. Directed and choreographed by Kyle Lang, and that includes accompaniment by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra carried out by Adam Turner, this comedian opera showcases the strengths of this firm.
This opera, which boasts music by the well-known (notorious?) Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W.S. Gilbert, tells the story of Frederic (Martin Bakari). Having just lately been launched from his indenture to a band of pirates, he stumbles throughout a bunch of girls who’re unaware that the secluded place they’ve arrived at is the house of stated pirates. Frederic falls in love with one of many girls, Mabel (Amy Owens), and comedy ensues as he makes an attempt to proceed his relationship along with her. Most of what’s actually humorous about Gilbert and Sullivan operas is that they mirror truths about human nature. Whereas initially meant as swipes at Nineteenth-century British paperwork, most of what Gilbert and Sullivan parodied exists in some type or one other in the present day.
There was a great deal of coronary heart in every of the performances, however the one which stands out is Amy Owens as Mabel. Her vocal management is plain. She is a extra grounded soprano, versus being too ethereal, so her efficiency is well-suited to comedian roles. Her “Poor wand’ring one” within the first act is a delight. Bass-baritone Aubrey Allicock additionally impresses as The Pirate King. Allicock’s “Oh, higher far to stay and die” was exuberant and highly effective, displaying a vocal depth and heat that basically showcase the Verdi-like overtones of the work.
The Pirates of Penzance depends on quite a lot of good comedic timing virtually as a lot because it depends on good singing. Mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer, as Frederic’s erstwhile nursemaid Ruth, actually nails quite a lot of the extra vital jokes. Her performing is near-perfect. The identical could be stated of baritone Troy Prepare dinner’s Main-Normal Stanley, who performs the traditional “I’m the very mannequin of a contemporary Main-Normal” admirably. Tenor Martin Bakari, as Frederic, brings a pleasant steadiness to the position. His tenor is neither overpowering nor washed out and his performing is properly performed. Bass Jeremy Harr additionally turns in a powerful efficiency because the goofy Sergeant of Police, main their act two spotlight “When the foeman bares his metal.”
The Virginia Opera, like many others, borrows its units and costumes from different firms. The unique scenic and costume designer, James Schuette, has supplied so much to work with. The set itself is spectacular, boasting a big and moveable pirate ship together with a cartoonish ocean backdrop. Each the set and costumes come collectively properly to present the work a larger-than-life really feel and assist the comedy by not being photorealistic. The pirate costumes lean towards our fashionable ultimate, pulled extra from Pirates of the Caribbean than the rest, and this performs out completely wonderful. Lighting Designer Driscoll Otto does a improbable job of highlighting what they’re given to work with.
Director and Choreographer Kyle Lang provides the performers room to be humorous. A lot of the comedy is bodily, and the blocking aids in speaking the overarching messages. The choreography itself could be very spectacular. Lang’s expertise actually shines, particularly within the scenes the place the ladies carry out with their refrain.
The Pirates of Penzance exhibits that the Virginia Opera is a severe contender amongst native opera firms. This manufacturing highlights the Virginia Opera’s attraction and skill to draw star performers, in addition to rising stars. If you’re a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, you gained’t wish to miss this one.
Operating Time: Two hours quarter-hour, together with one 25-minute intermission.
The Pirates of Penzance will likely be carried out subsequent November 18 and 20, 2022, offered by Virginia Opera performing on the Carpenter Theatre, 600 East Grace Avenue, Richmond, VA. Buy tickets ($19.50–$140) on-line.
This system for The Pirates of Penzance is on-line right here.
COVID Security: Masking at performances just isn’t required, although is really helpful. Virginia Opera’s COVID-19 Protocols are right here.