The Magic of Murder & Mayhem

It’s not a sane thing to keep trying to exceed expectations (ours and the audience’s), but I think we may have done it once more. An exhausting but rewarding night at the Filene Center with 10 of our singers, the Washington Chorus and the National Symphony Orchestra. Didn’t hurt that the weather was stunning – more like late May than July.

Semi-staging is a crazy-making thing. No one really knows what it is until it’s over. When you work on a full production, the basic goal is much easier to share. But this goal is harder to pin down. How do you work with a minimum amount of furniture and props, bring the scenes to life within the limitations of an 8-foot-deep downstage rectangle that’s periodically shared with violin bows, and do it all in concert dress? Thank goodness we’ve now had a few years’ experience with this format. Doesn’t make the process simpler, but it does make it easier to recognize the free-floating anxiety that inevitably accompanies its birth. Our apprentice director Peter Kozma and coach Bruce Stasyna did a phenomenal job of shepherding this concert and turning it into an evening whose success surprised everyone but me. I’m not cocky by nature, but I was sure that the aggregate talent lavished on this project (singers, staff, musicians, crew) would crystallize into something we’d be proud of.
The moments of sheer grand opera brawn (Tosca, Aida, Trovatore) were flanked by almost transcendental moments (Hansel & Gretel, Butterfly) and thank-god-it’s-actually-funny gestures (Carmen, Mikado). The audience was responsive and supportive. And these singers who handled themselves like absolute pros have an average age of 26.
As requested, attached are the lyrics for Mikado song… Click here

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