Saturday, 1 March 2008

East Village Opera Company

One of my private pleasures in recent months of travel has been listening to the recordings of a group that arranges opera aria as if they were rock songs. Last night I saw East Village Opera Company live in Pasadena where my son attends school. Their versions of the music we all know and love, Nessun Dorma, La Donna E Mobile, Au fond du temple saint, is electric, loud, driving, and just a little tinged with lunacy to make it quite enjoyable. Ottowans Peter Kiesewalter and Tyley Ross are the engines behind this eleven member group, though we missed their vocalist, AnnMarie Milazzo, struck down by a sore throat and replaced at last minute by a Canadian whose name did not appear on the program. As Kiesewalter says, "These arias, in essence, are pop tunes that have stood the test of time."
I wonder if we might ever look forward to an entire opera arranged by Kiesewalter and performed in this infectious style?
I expected a more over-the-top performance, however, and they don't appear to hang together as a group on stage. One does not get the feeling they have spent much time together as a rock band - they are all much too polite to each other!

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