Il Ballo delle Ingrate/Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda/ Trouble in Tahiti


PORTLAND OPERA | 2010

IL BALLO DELLE INGRATE by Claudio Monteverdi

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IL COMBATTIMENTO DI TANCREDI E CLORINDA by Claudio Monteverdi

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TROUBLE IN TAHITI by Leonard Bernstein

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Conductor: Robert Ainsley
Cast: Daryl Freedman, Jennifer Forni, Steven Brennfleck, José Rubio, Jeffrey Beuran
Production: M. Olich (scenery), S. Bonde (clothes), D. Crossley (lighting), N. Muni (projections)
photos courtesy of Cory Weaver

“Guided by the fluid stage direction of Nicholas Muni and the agile conducting of Robert Ainsley, the singers conquered the trifecta of Monteverdi’s “Il Ballo delle ingrate” and “Il Combattimento di Tancrei e Clorinda” and Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti” with gusto. The raked stage in Michael Olich’s set design extended over the orchestra pit and back to the mouth of hell. The large scrim gave the sense of depth and was used as a backdrop for images. Sue Bonde’s blend of old and new costumes worked like a charm to conjure ancient times as well as the 50s.”
James Bash, Oregon Music News (March, 2010)

“For its annual studio production, Portland Opera has programmed a show in two halves. Before intermission: Monteverdi. After: Bernstein. Wait. What? That’s right. No typo. But against all odds, Portland Opera has pulled it off. They pulled it off! By chasing down thematic links among the three stories and reinforcing them with visual cues, the company has crafted a pleasing and dynamic whole, engaging and innovatively staged. If these operettas don’t seem to have much in common, that’s because they don’t. Tying them together requires a genius stroke, and Portland Opera produces one in the form of a framing device. In the first piece, damned souls are released from hell to warn the living about ways in which love can go wrong. That basic story is used to frame the next two pieces. Through subtle cues, the audience is given to understand that both of the subsequent couples—Tancredi and Clorinda and Sam and Dinah—have been temporarily released from the underworld as a cautionary tale. The point is driven home by shared visual elements among the three operettas. For instance, each features the same ghastly chorus of wandering souls, who shuffle ominously around the mise en scene. These supporting singers appear to be prosperous mid-century city folk, dressed for a party, but their faces are deformed with horrible masks and their bodies are bound with thick ropes. Cupid, Venus and Pluto are also recurring tropes; each has a cameo in Tahiti as, for example, a psychotherapist or a secretary. That’s conceptually ambitious, and frankly it works.”
John Minervini, The Willamette Week (March, 2010)

© 2013 Nic Muni | Stage Director | Artistic Direction | Teaching | Dramaturgy | Design | Site by RC