This reviewer being relatively new to opera and having never experienced “Tosca,” we can’t compare the Wildwood Festival’s version of the Puccini classic to any other staging. Let us just say that what we saw was a marvelous presentation, highlighted by three of the best singing voices this area will see.
Gregory Pearson, Christine Donahue and George Dyer, who are all veterans of director Ann Chotard’s opera productions at Wildwood, each had an act to shine above the others, and their performances brought rousing applause from the two-thirds-filled Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre on Sunday afternoon.
“Tosca” is Shakesperean in its tragic story of two lovers, Mario Cavaladossi and Tosca, whose care for an escaped convict opens the door for another suitor, the evil, dressed-in-all-black Scarpia, to try to steal Tosca from Mario and kill his rival at the same time. With so many deadly sins working at the same time, you know this can’t end happily, and it doesn’t. The program (a cheap Xerox copy rather than a playbill) outlines all this, so nothing’s a surprise even to the uninitiated.
Which leads us to our biggest gripe: Tosca supposedly commits suicide at the end, but with Donahue, who has murdered Scarpia and is distraught over Mario’s “mock” execution gone bad, running off stage pursued by authorities and simply screaming, that’s ambiguous.
A chorus sings off stage at times, unseen. And even though the orchestra was scaled down by half so as not to dominate the stage, Dyer’s tenor was at times inaudible with the other voices.
But, alone in the third act wailing out his predicament, Dyer’s Mario is commanding. Donahue shows a variety of emotions and incredible range in the second act. Pearson, a dominating presence as Scarpia, is a terrific baritone who sets the tone in the first act. The Poitr Sulkowski-led orchestra presents a beautiful score throughout; I can see why “Tosca” is so loved by opera fans.
The senior high classes of 1969, ’75 and ’86 and all in between and around were entertained with a completely satisfying four-plus hours of “San Francisco Fest 2016” featuring Bay area natives Journey and The Doobie Brothers, with special guest Dave Mason.
Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, this morning made a public statement, via Twitter, that the flag burning should be disallowed by law: "there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!"
Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.