A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, opera a cappella now available at Albany Records

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Abduction in Hawaii

Last night, I saw the opening night of Hawaii Opera's ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO. There were a lot of smart choices in it--staging the capture of Constanza, Blonde, and Pedrillo in the overture, doing the singing and dialogue in English, having Blonde use cockney, having a really large and muscular Osmin, engaging a large group of belly dancers, using their passarelle to allow singing in front of the pit. In short, they did everything they could to keep the piece from being a bit short on stage action.

In addition to Henry Akina's choices, the piece was terrifically sung by Rachelle Durkin, Audrey Luna, George Dyer, Jeffrey Halili, and Ashley Howard Wilkinson. Guest star Jason Scott Lee was a strong Pasha Selim, and conductor Robert Wood did a super-fine job with the Honolulu Symphony.

Although I've been fortunate to come to Hawaii Opera many times, it was the first time I actually got to see a show at the Blaisell hall. After seeing act one downstairs, I saw the second act from the balcony which seems to have a richer sound without being too remote from the action.

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