Sunday, June 20, 2010

Okulitch as Willie Wonka

We mentioned in a previous post that barihunk Daniel Okulitch would be appearing at the Opera Theater of St. Louis with three other barihunks, Chris Herbert, Aaron Agulay and Lee Gregory.

[Photos by Ken Howard]

The opera has received favorable coverage in the Los Angeles Times and on NPR, where you can hear an extended sound clip from the opera. The Dallas Morning News provided this summary of the opera:

The opera is billed for children as well as adults. And the first act is delightful: a fanciful tale meets theater of the absurd meets opera. Sturrock's libretto bubbles along with fun rhyming couplets, and the music is surprisingly sophisticated. 

The orchestral writing is restless, spiky, tangy, full of tricky rhythms, sometimes onomatopoetic. (A bassoon dramatizes digestive effects of cabbage soup.) Vocal parts, including witty parodies of operatic clichés, certainly challenge singers to find pitches. 
 Okulitch, who continues to take the opera world by storm for his portrayals of new roles and standard repertoire, is probably thrilled to have a successful world premiere under his belt. Although he was praised for his performance in "The Fly," the opera was universally panned. However, the performance brought the "full monty" to opera and it's never been the same, helping to elevate the idea of opera singers actually being sexy enough to bare it all on stage.

After St. Louis, the Canadian baritone returns to Mozart at the Teatro Colón, where he will tackle the lead role in Don Giovanni. 

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  1. First Don Giovanni? Are you sure? I thought he sang the Don at NYCO.

  2. Boy, am I glad I didn't go! Before Night Falls was enough for one summer. I see a lot of 'modern' operas and like some of them e.g. Florencia, Mice&Men, Dead Man, Moby-Dick, Death in Venice, Diaglogues; but most,like BNF, View from the Bridge, Gatsby, don't do it for me.

  3. Then you missed out on a great show; reviews were nearly universally positive!