Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Stage

Opera Tampa wraps up season with a brooding, richly sung ‘Macbeth’

TAMPA — Opera Tampa brings its season to an end with a darkly sensuous Macbeth, Giuseppe Verdi’s take on Shakespeare’s play. It’s a job well done.

Companies do not perform Macbeth nearly as often as established warhorses. Since January 2017, the show has been performed 208 times worldwide, according to operabase, an opera database. The curtain has opened on La Boheme 1,309 times during the same period, and 1,425 on La Traviata. Language, translated and formatted for a libretto, might play a role in the disparity. This is not an operatic version of Shakespeare’s play. (For example, Macbeth’s words "Horrible sight! For now I see ’tis true; For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me .?.?." becomes, "Ah, horrible vision. Terror!")

Nonetheless, Verdi adds a dimension comparable to Shakespeare’s. In this production, the arias and a strong chorus establish a musical dimension to the mood, adding depth to ruminations about murder and treachery.

The make-or-break factor in this show are the two leads, Mark Rucker and Jill Gardner, who fortunately fall squarely onto the "make" side of the ledger. Baritone Rucker has enjoyed a long career. His vibrato might not be quite as taut as it was 20 years ago, but it’s very close. To that richness and power he adds a fullness to the character not often seen in opera.

Gardner has created a Lady Macbeth who exudes strength and commitment, then vulnerability as malevolence meets its end. The pair combine in an unforgettable duet which translates to, "Hour of death and of vengeance."

The set is inventive and somewhat odd. Performers on a large portion of the stage stand on an angled disc, which allows for scene changes in an abstract way, aided by background projections suggesting forests, banquet halls or castles. The elements come together in the witches’ scenes, when it rotates amid mist and incantations around a fire.

Tenor Cesar Sanchez contributed indispensably as Macduff. Kudos for going the extra mile go to baritones Tyler Putnam and David Cushing, who performed the role of Banquo. It’s confusing, but here goes: Cushing, who was cast in the role, fell ill Friday. Normally the role would be handed over to Putnam, the cover. But because Cushing’s image had already been shot for Macbeth’s nightmare reverie of the slain Banquo, Cushing played the role on stage and lip-synched the music. Putnam sang the role from the orchestra pit, and did so with a lovely dark color and feeling.

Contact Andrew Meacham at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.

Comments
A serious, if flawed, effort highlighting PTSD in Innovocative’s ‘Ugly Lies the Bone’

A serious, if flawed, effort highlighting PTSD in Innovocative’s ‘Ugly Lies the Bone’

TAMPA — A veteran of three tours of duty in Afghanistan returns home, her face disfigured in an explosion and dragging a stiff leg. Titusville, the Space Coast town where Lindsey Ferrentino set Ugly Lies the Bone, is reeling, too, from cutbacks to NA...
Published: 08/12/18
Updated: 08/13/18
This week: Innovocative Theatre presents PTSD drama, ‘Ugly Lies the Bone’

This week: Innovocative Theatre presents PTSD drama, ‘Ugly Lies the Bone’

INNOVOCATIVE THEATRE: UGLY LIES THE BONEAn improvised explosive device injures a veteran on her third tour of Afghanistan. She tries to get her life back in Titusville, but the road isn’t easy for Jess, her caregiver sister or her ex-boyfriend. Innov...
Published: 08/08/18
Live Oak Theatre announces 2018-19 season

Live Oak Theatre announces 2018-19 season

BROOKSVILLE — Live Oak Theatre Company has announced the 2018-19 season of shows and audition dates.The season includes three productions:• Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, will be presented weekends, Nov. 2-18.• It’s a Wonderful Life ra...
Published: 08/06/18
Florida Orchestra names Daniel Black as new assistant conductor

Florida Orchestra names Daniel Black as new assistant conductor

ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Orchestra has hired conductor Daniel Black to share an increased workload in community concerts and other special programs."As our community programs expand, it’s time to make sure they have the unique guidance they deser...
Published: 08/03/18
Updated: 08/06/18
Hawk & Wayne, Steve Byrne and more — improv and comedy thrive in the summer

Hawk & Wayne, Steve Byrne and more — improv and comedy thrive in the summer

HAWK & WAYNE: KARAOKE-PROVImprov keeps going in the summer when everyone else is dark. (They don’t have the same demands as other theaters, and they’re a free-spirited bunch.) For the past nine years, Ricky Wayne, left, and Gavin Hawk, two of the are...
Published: 08/02/18
Lateness, fighting, phones: Seven etiquette violations to avoid at the theater (and a few to disregard)

Lateness, fighting, phones: Seven etiquette violations to avoid at the theater (and a few to disregard)

You might recall the evening of Nov. 8, 2016. Millions of Americans watched election returns coming in, including what seemed like every third audience member attending opening night of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The soft glow...
Published: 08/01/18
Amid ‘Hamilton’ frenzy, Straz season tickets sell out for the first time in history

Amid ‘Hamilton’ frenzy, Straz season tickets sell out for the first time in history

TAMPA — Since the announcement that Hamilton would come to Tampa in February, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has fielded inquires from hundreds of customers eager to get seats for the mega-hit musical. How much will thos...
Published: 07/31/18
Spring Hill playhouse presents Singin’ in the Rain Jr.

Spring Hill playhouse presents Singin’ in the Rain Jr.

SPRING HILL — A classic musical made famous by Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor will come alive this weekend when the youth production of Singin’ in the Rain Jr. is presented at Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd.The...
Published: 07/30/18
For Tampa Bay comics, open mic night is the ultimate test of nerve

For Tampa Bay comics, open mic night is the ultimate test of nerve

What's it like to try open-mic comedy for the first time?
Updated one month ago
Touring Broadway dates for 2018-19, true stories at American Stage

Touring Broadway dates for 2018-19, true stories at American Stage

2018-19 TOURING BROADWAY SALE DATES:STRAZ CENTERIt always pays to be early if you want to get the best seats possible. So here are the opening dates to get single tickets for the 2018-19 Broadway lineup at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Perfor...
Updated one month ago