Houston, Houston Grand Opera, Opera, The Italian Girl in Algiers, L’italiana in Algeri, Joan Font
The large ensemble in the production pulls their weight as well, whether they sing or not. The male chorus that plays both eunuchs and slaves is fantastic and really adds a resounding oomph in the larger numbers. On the other hand, the three concubines, clad entirely in black, provide quirky and enjoyable sight gags, adding a layer of richness to the performance without ever singing a word.
As the opening curtain rose, Joan Guillén's amazing set design and costuming elicited audible gasps from the audience. From vibrant, beautiful costuming that is cartoonish and fun to sets that are wonderfully evocative of Islamic architecture, there is not a single stitch, fabric, or set piece that is not breathtaking and stunning. The use of a paper boat pieces to convey the ship that sinks and brings Isabella and Taddeo to Algiers is a fantastic and capricious touch, which is mirrored in the second act with the ingenious idea of using luggage pieces to create the sailboat that takes the Italians away from Algiers. Furthermore, the use of real sand on the floor is an inspired and well-appreciated choice.
Albert Faura's lighting design is picturesque. He cleverly uses color to complete the cartoonish imagery presented in the set and costuming and to highlight the emotions of the music.
Gioacchino Rossini's THE ITALIAN GIRL IN ALGEIRS, currently running in repertory with Giacomo Puccini's La bohème at Houston Grand Opera, is a fun, rib-tickling opera that is sure to amuse audiences of all ages. From the lavish, bright costuming to the impeccable and impressive vocals of the cast as they fly through staccato runs complete with immaculate enunciation, this production is sure to enthrall and enrapture audiences, while providing a wonderful glimpse into how cosmically different Rossini approaches telling an operatic story to an audience from Puccini.
THE ITALIAN GIRL IN ALGIERS runs through November 11, 2012 at The Wortham Center. For more information and tickets pleases visit http://www.houstongrandopera.org/ or call (713) 228 – 6737.
Photos by Felix Sanchez, courtesy of Houston Grand Opera.
David is a Special Education teacher with a passion and love for the performing arts. He aspires to become a full time theatre critic and/or professor of Drama as Literature. |