This year I have started to expand my love of theater. In the past I only saw musicals. Lately I have opened up to more art pieces, straight plays, comedies and opera. The Minnesota Opera recently produced “Doubt” and I thought it was spectacular. This week I attended “Hamlet” and had a much different reaction. This production was sung in French with English captions which was more of a struggle for me. It was completely out of my norm so I have chosen to do a piece that combines my opinion with two opera lovers: Noelle Buss and Sam Mangalick.
When the opera begins we learn that the King has died and the Queen remarries two months after his death. Hamlet (the son) is troubled by this sudden, questionable death and wonders how his mother could move on so quickly. He wants to flee but is betrothed to Ophélie and must watch over her as her brother leaves on business. Within the five act show we learn about the new King Claudius and the Queen’s relationship, Hamlet meeting the ghost of his late father, Hamlet’s plan to reveal the truth behind his father’s death, the twisted love of Hamlet and Ophélie, deceit and murder.
All three of us agreed that Ophélie’s (Marie-Eve Munger) voice was absolutely stunning. Noelle said “Overall I would say the cast was extremely talented. Ophélie’s voice was absolutely incredible, particularly showcased in her aria at the start of the second half. I’ve never had a singer capture my attention so thoroughly. The musical composition was great as well and when is French never beautiful and easy on the ears.” Sam stated “Her voice brought home the mental anguish she suffered throughout as her tone went from love to concern, ending unfortunately with insanity.”
For me, there were some long clunky scenes. The mixed weapons of swords and guns seemed to be awkward choices. Noelle and I both agreed that the two long pauses in the second half for scene changes were a bit odd. She said “It totally broke the flow of the opera and broke the spell the singers had worked so hard to cast over the audience. In the end, the singing was so amazing I didn’t care about the other parts. Sitting through the whole thing with my eyes closed still would have been worth my money.” Sam thought the overall production was wonderful, “For me, the opera portrays the best of the arts. The costumes and the sets are done with such care that each moment is intended to bring upon a specific feel towards the entire show. In addition, the acting and the singing, which coupled with the orchestra, helps demonstrate so much emotion that cannot be replicated by anything else.”
It seems to me that this show is best suited for frequent opera patrons. I enjoyed “Doubt” because it was a lovely spectacle and more up my alley. “Hamlet” did not have the same effect on me but as you can tell, my two opera loving friends thought it was spectacular. Up next “Turandot”. For more information: http://www.mnopera.org/