Opera Orlando: A boisterous beginning

If you weren't at the opera this weekend, you missed a lot of fun!

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  • | 7:08 a.m. April 28, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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If you weren’t at the opera this weekend, you missed a lot of fun! On Sunday, b.w. and I saw the April 24 matinee performance of two one-act operas. Mozart’s “The Impresario” opened the afternoon and was followed by Francis Poulenc’s “Les mamelles de Tiresias.” Opera Orlando uses the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, a gem of a venue, of which we should all be proud.

The theme of “The Impresario” deals with two rival sopranos — one at the end of a career, and one just starting out. Of course, both ladies wish to be adored divas and such a throne is never quite big enough for two.

The ladies, Julia Foster and Bridgette Gan, seemed to be trying to out-sing each other, and one number suggested the Broadway hit “Anything you can do, I can do better.” The part of “The Impresario” was well handled by baritone Hadleigh Adams, and his assistant Buff, by baritone Andrew Emery. Mr. Deep-pockets, the character who saves the opera company, was played by tenor Alex Mansoori. The wealth of theatrical talent engaged here was remarkable, and when I ride around Orlando in the future I may be expecting to see a thespian face in every window. Gabriel Preisser played a stage hand in the first offering.

The second opera, “Les Mamelles,” is concerned with “making babies, not war.” Both operas showed off to great advantage the excellent singing of two coloratura sopranos: Julia Foster and Bridgette Gan. These two ladies sang music with sky-high tessituras, difficult intervals and breath requirements, which left many in the audience gasping for air.

They were brilliant! All the while, the two were moving all over the stage. Julia Foster was Therese who who became a man, and Gabriel Preisser was Le Mari who became a woman — and had 4,049 babies in one night!

Hadleigh Adams brilliantly rendered the part of the gendarme, the two drunks by Alex Mansoori and Andrew Emery. Bridgette Gan played both La Marchande and La Dame Elegant. These six versatile artists are not only fine singers, but very adept actors who made the afternoon fly by.

Special kudos goes to stage director Eric Pinder who also adapted the script for “The Impresario.” This presentation provided a boisterous rebirth for opera in Orlando, and we can all applaud that important fact!


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