|Carl Maria von Weber:||Der Freischütz|
Agathe: Dara Welty, soprano
Aennchen: Moira Kelley, soprano
Caspar: Kenneth Church, bass
Max: Michael Thompson, tenor
UW Chamber Orchestra
Karlos Moser, conductor
Carl Maria von Weber's "Der Freischütz," the University Opera's current offering, offered a number of the key ingredients needed for success in its opening-night performance. A fairy tale with heavy Teutonic overtones, it managed despite limited space on the tiny Music Hall stage to contain the action without clutter, a credit to stage director Cecilia Schieve. Laura Carlson's simple-looking but highly mobile setting served the action very well. Barry Gawinski's lighting, especially in the magic Wolf's Glen scene, was suitably phantasmagoric, and the period costumes, by Sydney Catron, left nothing to be desired.
As the female lead Agathe, Dara Welty's voice was good but constricted in much of its range, and her acting was minimal. Far better in both regards was Moira Kelley as Aennchen; her acting had spark and her voice carried the role well. Kenneth Church's deep bass was rich and sonorous as huntsman Caspar, who leads the hero Max into dark doings with the devil. But Michael Thompson, as Max -- sorry to have to say it -- was more a shouter than a singer, and often not too near the right pitch. The Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Karlos Moser, had its hands full with some very tricky parts, but succeeded with only a few mishaps. The final performances will be Friday and Saturday this week, at 8:00 p.m., in Music Hall.
Isthmus, February, 1997
Copyright 1997 Jess Anderson