Tag Archives: Arabella

Arabella (PART II): Minnesota Opera

By: H.M.S. Pen-afore!  

0639 - Irvin, Travis

Being my first time as a ‘ghost writer’ for this lovely little blog, I am to say, a tad bit nervous so bare with me!  I had the pleasure of attending Minnesota Opera’s production of Richard Strauss’s Arabella for very low price of free!  Here are a 

Minnesota Opera’s Arabella aims to capture the internal and external tug of war between choosing to marry to for love versus for money.  The grandeur of the Ordway Theatre seemed the perfect venue for the upper class Viennese hotel in which our protagonist Arabella’s story is told.  Director Tim Albery beautifully and subtly portrays Arabella’s (played by Jacquelyn Wagner) struggle to surrender to her parents want and need to have her marry for money or lend herself to the unannounced house guest and nephew of her father, Mandryka (played by Craig Irvin).few of my humble opinionated thoughts! 

Although Jacquelyn Wagner had moments where she seemed to lose support through Strauss’s difficult and extended vocal lines, she redeems herself with her beautiful pianissimo that had the audience in complete amazement.  Wagner’s comedic counter-part, her “brother” Zdenka, played by Elizabeth Futral, compliments each other greatly both vocally and dramatically.  The mysterious foreigner Mandryka who yearns for Arabella’s heart is portrayed beautifully and passionately by Craig Irvin.  Sitting way up in the balcony, I could feel his anticipation, his disappointment, his joy, and his anger.  Irvin had, by far, the best-rounded performance of the night.  His performance came from a place of absolute truth and had me cheering him on the entire time.  I, of course, cannot end this post without mentioning Brian Jagde’s portrayal of Matteo.  Jagde is a power-house of a tenor whose pain in being rejected by Arabella lends itself perfectly to his robust and impressively present sound.  He is a force to be reckoned with in this production.0887 - Wagner

Jagde’s performance is impressive, without question, but the quieter moments of this production are what struck me as the most impressive.  When you think of a stereotypical opera, you think huge choruses with singers blasting the roof and doors off of the venue.  I think there is something to be applauded and encouraged from Tim Albery’s approach at showing smaller, more detailed, and ultimately, more truthful moments between each character that capture our attention as an audience and keeps us engaged both aurally and visually.  Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of the production and I recommend checking out the last few performances while you still can!

Read Chrissi’s thoughts here.

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Arabella: Minnesota Opera


1332 - Vargas, Wagner, Irvin, Futral

Written by: Chrissi

The second production of Minnesota Opera’s 2013-2014 season is the vibrant comedy, Arabella, by Richard Strauss. Reflective of  Strauss’ writing style, this production focused on the story and the music, as portrayed with the relative simplicity of the stage contrasted with the complexity of the plot and music. If it is any indication of the entertainment level of this opera, while watching it, I found myself reconsidering the relationship between opera and soap operas. The packed orchestra featuring 62 players was beautifully and artistically corralled by Music Director and Conductor, Michael Christie. While the orchestra was full, the set, designed by Tobias Hoheisel, was wonderfully simplistic and elegant. Arabella appeared in gorgeous gowns, plush furs, and show-stopping hats.

0742 - Vargas, Wagner

Plenty of MN Opera favorites make up the talented cast. There is a great sample of Resident Artist talent within the cast, including a wonderful performance by Victoria Vargas as Adelaide, Arabella’s mother. The male and female leads were lovely and believable. Jacquelyn Wagner portrayed Arabella with grace and ease, complimenting the frantic and youthful Zdenka played by Elizabeth Futral. Opposite Arabella was Mandryka, played by Craig Irvin. Irvin’s warm, masculine baritone combined with Wagner’s full, feminine soprano resulted in emotional and convincing duets. Certainly not to be overlooked was the portrayal of Matteo by tenor, Brian Jagde.

I highly suggest catching up on the plot before you see the show. It has many marvelous twists, turns, and misunderstandings, but is a highly approachable, and entertaining opera. I would recommend this opera to both seasoned and new opera-fans.

1226 - Irvin, Wagner (1)

If you like beards, bears, and a TON of sexual tension, you will LOVE Arabella.

Order you tickets online OR call the friendly folks at the box office today!

Performance dates include:

November 9, 12, 14, 16, 17

Read a review by guest-blogger H.M.S Pen-afore here!

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