by Paula Citron
The five themed works at Glimmerglass Opera this season are all inspired by the Myth of Orpheus.
The satiric 1858 Offenbach operetta Orpheus in the Underworld is a frothy confection that is genuinely funny. The impressive young Canadian conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni clearly respects the composer’s masterful orchestration. His reading is elegant and ebullient at the same time which is a winning combination.
Canadian tenor Kurt Lehmann gives a very accomplished account of himself in the thankless role of the woebegone Orpheus. His bright, attractive, lyric voice has always had a sense of ease through the register. Canadian soprano Ellen Wieser plays the goddess Diana, and even though it is a small role, it certainly shows off the young singer’s lovely, agile coloratura. The rest of the cast have fun chewing up the scenery.
Director Eric Einhorn’s staging is a clever Second Empire romp that borders on the salacious without being offensive.
Glimmerglass Opera continues until Aug. 28.
From Cooperstown, New York, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.