Thursday, March 2, 2017

Praise for Katya Kabanova

Corinne Winters as Katya. Philip Newton photo
"A feverishly powerful emotional experience." - The Seattle Times

"Packs a potent visceral punch both visually and emotionally. This production leaves no doubt why Leoš Janácek, who wrote both Kabanova’s music and libretto, is now considered one of the 20th century’s best composers of opera." - Queen Anne News

"Katya Kabanova is a memorable, thrilling production in every way...Well-conceived tragedy makes you think about human nature in deeper ways while enjoying the challenge of great theater. This production achieves those high goals." - Seattle Gay News

"...a lush, compelling three-act opera with an alluring backstory." - The Stranger

"Anyone dismayed by Seattle Opera’s bare-bones La traviata in January might think “Oh, not again” upon seeing the opening scene of the company’s Katya Kabanova, which opened Saturday—a completely empty black box. But be patient; it fills soon enough, not only with a set (including several pretty and effective projected backdrops) but with pathos and a great deal of ear-grabbing music." - Seattle Weekly 

Joshua Kohl (Kudrjas) and Maya Lahyani (Varvara). Philip Newton photo
"The visuals by Genevieve Blanchett and Mark Howett — combining sets, lighting and digital projections — underscore a basic tension between the lush natural beauty of the surroundings and the emotional ugliness of the Kabanov household...It beckons to a freedom that is beyond reach for Katya."  - The Seattle Times

"What makes Katya’s dilemma even more claustrophobic is the setting. Seattle Opera’s production is set in small town America in the 1950s—the most buttoned-down era in our recent history—when cozy country life was still seen as more American than loose life in the big city. The men wear fedoras and double-breasted suits; the women wear flats and pleated skirts, with their hair in tight curls under tight little hats. Kabanicha looks like a school principal ready to rap knuckles with a wooden ruler. Only Varvara, Kabanicha’s bobby-soxer daughter, displays any sense of freedom, wearing jeans and saddle oxfords, reading movie magazines, and sneaking out through the garden gate to see her boyfriend. She provides the single source of comfort and relief for poor browbeaten Katya." - Seattle Gay News

Victoria Livengood (Kabanicha). Philip Newton photo
"Victoria Livengood, in the critical role of Kabanicha, was perfectly cast. Her voice has a slight vibrato coupled with a sharp edge that perfectly encapsulated the dangerous self-absorption of a relentless matriarch." - Seattle Gay News

"Victoria Livengood was a thoroughly chilling Kabanicha, a master of psychological manipulation who used her dusky low notes to embody the cold-as-dry-ice matriarch."- The Seattle Times

"Stage director Patrick Nolan, production and digital designer Genevieve Blanchett, and lighting and digital designer Mark Howett, all in their Seattle Opera debuts, create a cinematic sensibility to match with the film-score feel of Janácek’s dramatic music." - Queen Anne News


Melody Moore (Katya). Philip Newton photo
"With the platinum gleam of her soprano, Melody Moore, Katya in opening night’s cast, makes these moments captivating."  - Seattle Weekly 

"Melody Moore combined her splendid vocal and theatrical gifts to deeply moving effect. She had full control over her powerful soprano, projecting the high-lying part easily across Janáček’s most tempestuous orchestration and applying exquisite shading and shaping. Moore conveyed Katya’s fear of her locked-up emotions with tremulous beauty, turning her final scene into an ecstatic vision of release that kept a refreshing distance from clichés of operatic madness."  - The Seattle Times

Joseph Dennis (Boris) and Melody Moore (Katya). Philip Newton photo
"Joseph Dennis sang with lyrical refinement." - "The Seattle Times

"Seattle Opera’s not only localized Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s 1921 opera, moving it out of 19th-century Russia, but pushed it forward to the conformist ’50s. The plot translates well ... it’s just the kind of concentrated, no-frills storytelling—a relentless trudge to tragedy—later taken up by successful American opera composers like Gian Carlo Menotti, Douglas Moore, and Carlisle Floyd." - Seattle Weekly 

Maya Lahyani (Varvara). Philip Newton photo
"Maya Lahyani made an appealingly free-spirited Varvara. As her boyfriend, Kudrjas, Joshua Kohl suggested a hipster rebel who nevertheless cautions Boris to play by the rules."- The Seattle Times

"Sustaining Moore and the rest of the superb cast was the gorgeously moody score performed with eloquence by conductor Oliver Dohnayi and his orchestra, although they occasionally overwhelmed the singers. The Seattle Opera chorus did a lovely job as always of enhancing the action." - Queen Anne News

"Maryland soprano Corinne Winters was vocally secure and dramatically intense, in the challenging role of Katya. Winters conveyed the soul-searing turmoil of a woman with deeply-held religious belief that extra-marital sexual thoughts are mortal sins, yet who accedes to a liaison with Boris while her husband is away." - Opera Warhorses



"As Tichon, Katya’s abusive husband, Nicky Spence’s strong voice subtly conveyed his vacillation between his overbearing mother’s dictates and his wife’s needs, which spur Tichon to anger and heavy drinking." - Queen Anne News

"Texas tenor Scott Quinn was vocally and dramatically effective as Boris, Katya’s seducer." - Opera Warhorses

"... Janáček’s gorgeous, multi-layered music bypasses the rational mind to dramatize the turmoil—the gathering storm—in Katya’s soul. As the conflict deepens and Katya becomes increasingly desperate, you almost feel like your own anxiety is part of the orchestra’s ominous percussion, its haunting, fragmented melodies, and its oppressive sense of doom." - Seattle Gay News

Corinne Winters (Katya). Jacob Lucas photo





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