In line with the excellent work I have heard at Tanglewood, was the Fellows’ vocal concert. Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins was masterfully led by mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron, Nuno Coelho, conductor, with Nicholas Muni as director. Mr. Muni’s direction was not fussy, and it tapped into the knife-edged nature of the show without excess. Ms. Barron gave a masterful performance. Not only was her voice beguiling in every way, she moved decisively, and somehow naturally, through the opera. Each of her skills contributed to a larger convincing performance in this ice-cold piece.
For over twenty years, the American Shakespeare Center (formerly the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express) has been pursuing a distinctive style of production, marked by speed and intimacy. The troupe attempts to recreate the conditions of Shakespeare’s theater, including universal lighting, minimal sets, and on-stage seating (to recapture some of the effects of the thrust stage, unavailable at this venue). At their staging of Romeo and Juliet at U.Mass.’s Bowker Auditorium, some audience members, still chatting and wending their way to their seats in the brightly lit auditorium, were taken aback when Ginna Hoben stepped forth as the Chorus, speaking right over the hubbub and starting the play at eight on the dot (too rare an event these days). From this moment the play never slowed down, running a neat 129 minutes without an intermission, and the swift scene changes brought a real intensity.