Sunday, August 10, 2003

Opera-goers voice opinions about Muni, selections, performers

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Here's more feedback from Enquirer readers about the Cincinnati Opera 2003 festival season

"I had not previously been a rabid opera fan. ... The big difference with (Cincinnati Opera) is Nic Muni's ability to present productions whose dramatic values transcend all the particular components that go into the production. I've found myself really captured by operas that I thought from experience I didn't particularly like."

John Palmer, Indian Hill

Want to voice your opinion? Cincinnati Opera listens to you four ways:
Phone: Leave a message on the comment line: 744-3576
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Write: Feedback, Cincinnati Opera, Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202
"It is very important to the audience's appreciation of the work of art that the stager be careful to hold onto the composer's intent with tone and plot. This did not happen with Muni's decisions in staging the Weill piece. ... (Audience) laughter was for Muni's additions, not for (Seven Deadly Sins') own cynical humor."

Maureen Cronin, Springfield Township

"Just the performances of Lauren Flanigan and Catherine Malfitano would be enough to make this season qualify as one of the most exciting, but all the leading singers, from basses to sopranos, were well chosen."

Michael A. Battersby, Anderson Township

"There really aren't any real bel canto sopranos around. I hope Lauren (Flanigan) will try (Norma) again."

Trudie Seybold, Montford Heights

"La Traviata was the ho-hum for me. Traditionally done, it did not connect with me. ... I will gladly support Nic in his intelligent, informed, sometimes risky endeavors. He broadens my musical cultural experience. I come away knowing more than before."

Cecilia Kloecker, Blue Ash

"It was the usual Muni mix. ... A general gray pall over the entire proceeding: gray walls, gray floor, gray-costumed choruses (Turandot and Norma). Lead singers who don't always live up to their billing. Secondary roles sung beautifully. Inadequate tenors. All in all, an OK season but not one of the Cincinnati Opera's strongest."

Don Baker, Clifton

"I'm incredibly proud to have, as my hometown opera, a company that is innovative in its selection of works, and continuously seeks the finest voice talent. I particularly loved Catherine Malfitano in Poulenc's La Voix Humaine - what a hoot!"

Barbara Reaman, Blue Ash

"I continue to thank my lucky stars that Nic Muni is the artistic director at the Cincinnati Opera. While I enjoy the 'old chestnuts,' I would be bored if that was all that was available to me. ... The highlight of this season for me was Catherine Malfitano's one-woman show. I always enjoy hearing persons of previous generations talk about when they saw (Maria) Callas do Tosca at the Met. When I am older, I'm sure I will be the one saying, 'I saw Malfitano when she sang the Triple Bill!' "

Marcy Gray, Pleasant Ridge

"After Muni arrived, everything began to improve, that is, until this past season. I found not only were the operas weak, but many voices were, too. It's time to go back to 'the old ones' and stay off the cutting edge."

Alice Fegelman, Wyoming

"I enjoyed the 2003 season ... I am amazed that our opera company is one of the oldest in the nation and yet we haven't seen productions of operas such as Wozzeck, Lulu, Peter Grimes, other operas by Janacek (Jenufa excluded) or even operas by Handel or Rameau! For what is costs to attend, I would rather be challenged by something new, than repeats of Verdi's 'big six' or Puccini's operas."

Tom Braun, Villa Hills

"A cool Medusa libretto man
Like a poetry slam
But the Maltifano voice
Against violin Harpies
Was cruel
A war over ears
Next time bongos
And let the chick sing."

Mike Phillips, Fort Mitchell

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