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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 3, No. 1 September 1997

Lake George Opera

by Philip Anson

This summer the Lake George Opera in Glens Falls New York performed Verdi's Otello (in English), Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and a couple of recent humorous American works. Verdi's Otello is tough to cast for even major opera houses, so it is a wonder that Lake George did it at all, let alone fairly well. Brad Cresswell's Otello was competent but his tenor is a bit light for the role. For some reason Cresswell's attitude to Desdemona was casual and aloof. Soprano Anna Singer gave a convincing portrayal of Desdemona, somewhat unrefined but vocally secure. Stephen Kechulius stole the show as Iago. He is a major dramatic and vocal talent. Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream was a risky choice but Lake George Opera patrons were receptive. Countertenor Robert Crowe was not of the first rank, Valerie Nicolosi and Sylvia Stoner were respectable as Hermia and Helena. Steven Condy was a funny and natural Bottom. Members of the Harlem Boy's Choir were remarkably adept as spirits and fairies. The best of Lake George's offerings was Jorge Martin's Tobermory (1993), a cruel comedy based on one of Saki's macabre tales. Martin is obviously a composer of taste and sophistication. His score reflects many carefully synthesized influences perfectly matched with Andrew Joffe's libretto. Peter Volpe's performance as the butler and the cat still makes me smile. Lake George should continue its dedication to new operas like this one.

(c) La Scena Musicale