Heartbeat puts twists on standard opera


A small theatre company of New York appealing to those in the city that are eager for something more venturesome than what the Metropolitan offers, Heartbeat Opera has surprised the theatre art segment by effectuating directorial twists on standard operas. Striking could be the results although at times things could also seem perverse.

The company has attracted attention for its ingenious productions from its directors Louisa Proske and Ethan Heard. Lucia di Lammermoor of Proske presented a couple of seasons back had given telling results. However, Don Giovanni performed on Wednesday as the season' sopening show has simply seemed perverse.   

Fairly straightforwardly was the first act performed, except at the climax where the protagonist finds himself locked in a psychiatric ward. The drama unfolded offly halting after the intermission and instrumentalists seemed to be lapsing into awkward silences between numbers.

Nevertheless, the brighter part of the musical performance definitely belonged to three principal wonen, Samarie Alicea, Felicia Moore and Leela Subramanyan. The pale Giovanni was brought to life by John Taylor Ward, and the doctor, Masetto and Commendatore were justified by Barrington Lee.

The orchestration by Daniel Scholsberg offered a top-notch string quartet complemented by a double bass, an audible electronic keyboard and an inaudible harpischord. Dominating were the clarinet as well as the bass clarinet although the rendition on the whole sounded a bit excessive.

It is understood that Proske is migrating to larger companies soon and more spoken theatre. The art loving public are also understood to be expecting some act from Proske that would seriously enrich opera instead of just manhandling the classics at a point of time, highly conductive to genuine productions.