SCIENCE TRIVIA – 7 – 9 p.m. Test your knowledge science with your friends or play solo with the A. J. Read Science Discovery Center. Registration required. 607-436-2011 or visit www.facebook.com/AJReadSDC/ for info.
COVID-19 TESTING – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Stop in for free Covid Test with results in 15 minutes. Help stop the spread. Testing by appointment only. 3 locations in Oneonta. Oneonta Armory, 4 Academy St.; Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St.; St. James Church, 305 Main St. Call 833-NYSTRNG for an appointment.
ART & MUSIC FESTIVAL – 10 a.m – 4 p.m. Find vintage items, collectibles, art, more and enjoy variety of musical performances at City of the Hills Art & Music Festival. Main St., Oneonta. Visit cityofthehillsartsfestival.com
PUPPET SHOW – 7:30 p.m. Catskill Puppet Theater presents, “The Willow Girl,” about adventures of 3 young immigrant children and a magical willow tree on the American Frontier. Free, suggested donation $20/person. Franklin Stage Company, 25 Institute St., Franklin. 607-829-3700 or visit www.franklinstagecompany.org
COOPERSTOWN – Is there any venue better for seeing Shakespeare than outside? The Fenimore Art Museum’s newly opened Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater seems almost custom-built for the Glimmer Globe Theatre Company’s production of “Macbeth,” with iron bars, a smooth slate stage and carved hillside for seating.
Performed Aug. 5, 12 and 19, and directed by Austin McCaslin-Doyle, who also leant his directorial skills to White Knuckle Production’s “Dial M For Murder” earlier this summer at the Farmers’ Museum, the show was designed to complement the Glimmerglass Opera’s production of the “Macbeth” opera.
Michael Henrici played the titular Macbeth with swagger and bravado that quickly turns to increasing madness. Henrici played opposite his wife, Danielle Henrici, as Lady Macbeth. Visibly pregnant with the couple’s first child, her delivery of the line “I have given suck, and know How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me. I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this,” is perhaps the most chilling moment of the play.
Gary Koutnik, as always, brings a gravitas to the stage, this time playing the ill-fated Duncan. His sympathetic, fatherly portrayal makes Macbeth’s decision to murder him for the throne that much more ill-conceived.
Avalon McCaskin-Doyle, playing the inebriated Porter (among other roles) in the moments just before Duncan’s body is discovered, was a standout, adding a great bit of physical comedy to an otherwise dark scene.
Chris Perrotti, fight coordinator, created several exceptional fight scenes, no small feat given the constraints of the small stage. The costumes were traditional to the time period and the swords were metal, giving a satisfying clash with each blow.
And although the night falling over the lake was exceptionally evocative, especially aided by the clear night and the citronella torches, it did cause some minor issues with actually seeing the action on stage. After intermission, the stage lights came on, giving quick remedy to this issue. Overall, a strong ending to Otsego’s thriving summer theater scene.
Cudmore is a reporter for The Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta and www.allotsego.com
‘Flute,’ ‘Macbeth,’ ‘Cato,’ ‘Candide’ Performed Lakeside
This is one of two summer weekends when all four of the Glimmerglass Festival’s productions are performed in the Alice Busch Opera Theatre on Otsego Lake. Below are reviews of this year’s productions by Pat Thorpe for The Freeman’s Journal (Cooperstown’s newspaper) and Hometown Oneonta, allotsego.com’s sister publications.
I prefer Shakespeare to all dramatists,” wrote Guiseppe Verdi. Verdi knew the plays intimately, and that knowledge suffuses three of his greatest operas.
“Macbeth,” Verdi’s 10th opera, was his first attempt to translate Shakespeare and a success from its earliest days. The opera is remarkably true to the original, but one of the most dramatic changes is evident even before the curtain goes up on this new production by the Glimmerglass Festival: Verdi departed from the Bard by expanding the three witches into a large chorus.
Director Anne Bogart goes further: instead of bearded crones, these are simply women, dowdy, prim housekeepers, maids, chars, who escape a downtrodden existence with gossip, suggestion and malicious mischief. They sedately epitomize the banality of evil. Their suggestion to Macbeth that he could become King of Scotland sets the slaughter in motion.
This new production takes place in the 1930s, the default setting for the rise of bloody despots but effective here, with a clever stage device that swings from elite elegance to a multipurpose fascist façade.
Eric Owens is making his role debut as Macbeth and he is superb, physically and vocally imposing as the heroic general with an uncertain moral compass. Melody Moore, a spectacular Lady Macbeth, more than matches her spouse, overcoming his qualms with nerves of steel and a voice of furious power throughout a remarkable range. Bass Soloman Howard is short-lived as Banquo, but has a dramatic aria heavy with foreboding.
Verdi made abundant use of the chorus, particularly in his early operas, and “Macbeth” is replete with choral opportunities, beautifully sung by the Glimmerglass Young Artists. Besides the witches, there are several soldiers’ choruses and an assassins’ chorus – “Tremble, Banquo!” – that might almost be a parody if it were not genuinely sinister. The chorus of refugees, “Oppressed Country,” near the end is heartbreaking as Scots try to flee the violence, a scene that might have been ripped from today’s headlines. These choruses illuminate one of Shakespeare’s darkest dramas, bringing color to a tragedy that can be all too monochromatic.
Conductor Joseph Colaneri has a special rapport with Verdi and manages the sizeable musical forces to perfection; when he is on the podium, the orchestra is at its best. The musicians perform with utter confidence, making possible vigorous tempi that will make you impatient with other interpretations and keep the opera hurtling to its tragic finale.
Late in the second act, our hopes are raised by Malcolm (Marco D. Cammarota), the true heir to the throne, and Macduff (Michael Brandenburg), whose family has been killed by Macbeth. These fine tenors rally the troops and overcome the tyrant, who has one final aria before his death. The opera, like the play, ends with a somber Hymn of Victory.
Verdi wrote, “This tragedy is one of the greatest creations of man…if we can’t make something great out of it, let us at least try to do something out of the ordinary.” In that, Verdi and Glimmerglass have succeeded.