Backstage Review – ‘Annie’ at Sierra School of Performing Arts

Annie is a joy to watch; based on a once-famous cartoon strip, it emerged 40 years ago as a Broadway musical and later as a movie. The story is based on a little orphan girl (Annie) and her displeasure with her life. She even makes a half-hearted attempt to run away to change her life.

Little does Annie know, Oliver Warbucks is about to change her life. He is a Billionaire with political clout and a lonely life. The country is in a deep depression, and Oliver Warbucks is using his political influence in an attempt to make things better.

Read more

Met Free Streams – Week 23 – August 17 to August 23

Met Free Streams – Week 23 – August 17 to August 23

Monday, August 17
Puccini’s Tosca #4 ~ 2Hrs and 19Mins
Starring Patricia Racette, Roberto Alagna, and George Gagnidze, conducted by Riccardo Frizza. From November 9, 2013.

This time around, Luc Bondy’s production of Puccini’s famous opera stars Patricia Racette in the title role of the diva whose jealousy is her undoing, opposite Roberto Alagna as her lover, Cavaradossi, the painter whose political ideals exacerbate the fall into tragedy. George Gagnidze is Scarpia, the villainous chief of police who wants Tosca for himself. Riccardo Frizza leads the Met’s musical forces in this powerful verismo score.

So – while I love Patricia Racette, this is not her very best role, especially considering her co-stars – although she is powerful in it. By now you know how I feel about Alagna, and Gagnidze is suitably evil if not particularly distinguished as Scarpia. Unless this is one of your very favorite operas, the 4th time around is probably not necessary – and certainly not if you were fortunate enough to see the Pavarotti/Verrett version in June.

Read more

The Met Streams Verdi’s ‘Luisa Miller’

Sunday, August 16
Verdi’s Luisa Miller ~ 2Hrs and 27Mins
Starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Bonaldo Giaiotti, and James Morris, conducted by James Levine. From January 20, 1979.

Renata Scotto is the bubbly, innocent Luisa, who is very much in love with Rodolfo (a young Plácido Domingo with blond hair! – who actually played her father, Miller, in the last go-around which was almost 40 years later). Rodolfo turns out to be the son of Count Walter (Bonaldo Giaiotti), who has other plans for his aristocratic boy. Enter the evil Wurm (James Morris) whose extortion eventually backfires, but nevertheless destroys the young lovers despite everything Luisa’s father (Sherrill Milnes in a superb performance) does to protect her. James Levine’s affectionate conducting and director Nathaniel Merrill’s production help make this one a performance to treasure.

Read more