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Monday, March 14, 2011

Review of Seattle's Don Quixote

The intrepid, globe-trotting D.S. Spring is back with another review from the road! Here's D.S.'s review of Seattle Opera's Don Quixote.

Too much sanity may be madness.
But the maddest of all see life as it is and not as it should be.

What a delightful endearing opera! Massenet and librettist, Henri Cain, based this opera, not on the Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote, directly, but on a play by Jacques Le Lorrain. Le Lorrain had reduced the novel’s complexity, greatly simplified the main character and focused specifically on Don Quixote’s infatuation with Dulcinée. Madness, dreams, kindness and humanity were themes throughout and were beautifully portrayed in Massenet’s music.

Carlo Montanaro conducted the enchanting score. Stage Director, Linda Brovsky, kept the stage settings simple with over-sized books as sets and kept the action moving on stage. Flamenco dancers entertained us in almost all of the crowd scenes. Don Quichotte was a new role for Canadian bass-baritone, John Relyea, who sang and acted the part with much sensitivity. Argentinian bass-baritone, Eduardo Chama, was the quintessential Sancho Panza. Polish mezzo-soprano, Malgorzata Walewska, whom I last heard as Judith opposite John Relyea in Bluebeard’s Castle in Seattle in 2009, ably sang the role of Dulcinée. Don Quichotte’s horse, Rocinante, and Sancho Panza’s donkey, Dapple, were played by well-mannered live animals, which enhanced the charm of this production.

I left the opera house admiring Don Quichotte and wishing to see life, not so much as it is, but more as it should be.

D.S. Spring
March, 2011

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