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Monday, June 05, 2006

Photo Journal of the American Premiere of Berkeley's Jane Eyre Opera

Bronte news has been slow this weekend. What little news there was, excluding repetitious articles about the Lowood 'scandal' including some corrections to some reports, was by and large what one of my professors would call 'oh, look!' kind of articles. As in, 'oh look! They like the Brontes!' or 'Oh, look! Someone mentioned Wuthering Heights!' But patience is usually rewarded. Today some lovely new photos from the American premiere of Michael Berkeley's opera Jane Eyre have just come in over the wire. The article can be read here.

Images are from the top: Scott Hendricks and Kelly Kaduce as Rochester and Jane, Kaduce, Hendricks, and Elizabeth Batton as Rochester, Jane, and Mrs. Rochester, and Redmon as Mrs. Fairfax, Kaduce as Jane, Elizabeth Reiter as Adele, and Batton (rear) as Mrs. Rochester. Photos by Ken Howard.

ETA: Some excerpts from a review of the production:

Berkeley quotes briefly from Britten's "The Turn of the Screw" and frequently from Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor." He and Malouf have drawn a not-altogether-convincing connection between criminally insane Bertha Rochester and unstable Lucy Ashton, who went mad when forced to marry the wrong tenor and murdered her groom on their wedding night. I'm not sure a close reading of Bronte supports that conclusion, but it makes Bertha a far more interesting and sympathetic character than the raging beast who's usually portrayed.
The excellent cast is headed by soprano Kelly Kaduce in the title role. She captured both Jane's matter-of-factness and her anguish at the discovery of Rochester's proposed bigamy. Singing with a large, clear, well-produced voice, she brought the character to life.

Baritone Scott Hendricks brooded nicely and sang strongly and with presence. Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Batton as Bertha Rochester made the role her own, with a rich, dark voice and edgy air of madness. As Mrs. Fairfax, mezzo-soprano Robynne Redmon made clear both the housekeeper's essential decency and her role in Rochester's deception. Soprano Adele Reiter sang sweetly as Adele and made a convincing child.

'Jane Eyre'

What: Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Where: Loretto-Hilton Center, Webster University

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Saturday, June 14 and 16.

How much: $29-$105

More info: 314-961-0644 or experienceopera.org

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