Of Mice and Men


COLLEGE-CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI | 2010
NATIONAL OPERA ASSOCIATION, 1st Place for Best Opera Production

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OF MICE AND MEN by Carlisle Floyd, based on the novel by John Steinbeck
Conductor: Mark Gibson
Cast: Bouley/Young, Adams/Jones, Scherzer/Parker, Ragland/Stenson, Sawin/Enoch, Ballentine/Gunther
Production: T. Umfrid (scenery), K. Kimmel (clothes), C. Felgenhauer (lighting), D. Townsend (hair/make-up); photos courtesy of Mark Lyons

“Strained economy or no, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music continues to produce opera to die for. Case in point: Carlisle Floyd’s “Of Mice and Men,” which opened Thursday night in Corbett Auditorium, the production conceived and directed by Nicholas Muni, the set designed by Thomas Umfrid and lit by Corey Felgenhauer — everything down to the last Levi Strauss thread worn by the ranch hands contributed to an evening that brought Floyd’s 1970 interpretation of the Steinbeck novel wrenchingly to life. Visually, the production comprises a vast, mostly empty landscape against which the light of human relationships burns brightly. The gulley in the first and last acts is commanded by two mountainous shapes, with an over-sized, surreal moon waxing and waning behind them. The bunkhouse is sparse, just a table and bare walls. The scene in the barn, where Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s Wife, is set far downstage against a floor-to-ceiling panel of patched, corrugated cardboard.”
Mary Ellyn Hutton, The Classical Music Journal (May, 2010)

Like John Steinbeck’s Depression-era novella upon which it is based, Floyd’s opera, as staged by Nicholas Muni, looks unflinchingly at a bleak time, when lives were hardscrabble, men were cruel and dreams were crushed. Muni’s seamless staging of the period drama had just the right balance of tension and bleakness.”
- Janelle Gelfand, The Cincinnati Enquirer (May, 2010)

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