Saturday, March 1, 2014

Review of "Opportunity Makes the Thief" - Off-Broadway

The little OPERA theatre of ny lives up to its name with their delightful production of Opportunity Makes the Thief.  The show, taking place at one of the shoebox-sized theatres at the 59E59 complex, is a one act comedic romp of happenstance, mistaken identity, and discovery.  Written by Gioachino Rossini, the opera is sung in English, with a translation by Mark Herman and Ronnie Apter, which an opera neophyte like myself thoroughly appreciated.

The seven person chamber ensemble, under the sure-handed guidance of James Bagwell (who also demonstrates a deft comic touch with the players), provides a rich and precise sound.

The group of rotating actors present for the performance I attended possessed rich, full-throated voices that beautifully resonated within the small performing space.  They were all very polished, delivering accomplished performances.  Baritone Adelmo Guidarelli stood out with the showcase role of Martino, the bumbling, amusing man-servant.  Sometimes the lyrics were hard to understand, as the enunciation wasn’t as smooth as a strictly Broadway musical, but with the simple plot outlined in the program the action was not difficult to follow.

Director Phillip Shneidman, working within a cramped space and what could basically be described as an up and down ramp surrounding the musicians, deserves kudos for just keeping the actors from running into each other.

Opportunity Makes the Thief, validating the old adage of good things come in small packages.

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