Opera in Bloomington

Indiana University Opera Theater, 6 March 1999

I went to Bloomington for that weekend to visit a friend. Too bad that I did not remember that Ars Antiqua was located in Bloomington and James King was living there. Since Bloomington is not a very exciting town, I decided that spending the Saturday evening at the opera was as well as I could do. I was not expecting much, and I was wrong. First the theater is perfect, excellent acoustics and size. You can hear the singers without difficulty. Another nice surprise were the costumes and scenery. They do indeed represent Vienna in the 1860s. They were superb. Next surprise, the musical side was entrusted to Imre Palló, who was outstanding. Maybe Gockley could learn something from the Bloomington Indiana University school of music. As far as singers, the best vocal performance was by Jonathan Bainbridge as Mandryka, depicting convincingly all of the character's moods and singing with great conviction. Another convincing portrayal was by Susan Miller, as Zdenka, singing her transformation from boy to woman with persuasion. The Arabella of Diane Thueson-Reich was lovely to look at, had a creamy tone and wonderful sustained notes. A minor reservation was that sometimes, she was a bit too subdued vocally. The other roles were also given strong performances. I would like to single out Janice Hauxwell as Adelaide, Scott Six as Matteo, Heidi Vanderford as Fortune teller and Michelle Stephenson as Fiakermilli. A great evening!.

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