I was invited by General Manager, Brianna Maury for the opening night of “The Marriage of Figaro” at Loft Opera, located within Gowanus Loft. By the look, and the overheard conversations prior to the show, the place was absolutely packed with both experienced and new-to-opera goers. As I looked around the space at various times, everyone was absolutely engaged. With the help of dialogue projections, following along this quick paced piece was easy enough, and under the skilled directing of Conde, the performance made it very easy for us audience members to laugh on cue.
The transformation to a particular space, time, and place for me happened immediately as Dean Buck raised his baton and began conducting the overture.
The performers all held their own ground. Every aria was a big hit with the audience. Obviously I was curious how a loft space and sound would play out. As it turns out the orchestra only at times overpowered the voices, however, I was sitting stage left towards the back—the orchestra just over my left shoulder. The audience towards the front must have had a varying experience, which gives me good reason to return for another performance and try out another seat! I did enjoy being in close proximity to the orchestra who were pitted in the back of the space—a truly immersive experience.
Pnini Grubner and Boya Wei were a enjoyable Figaro and Susanna, as opera goes, the delicate Lady and the strong Gentleman. With his deep vocality interrupting serenity wherever he be, booming on the grassy path in a tranquil rose garden, Suchan Kim was a detestable nemesis, as one would want the Count to be. Yet you can’t help but to feel a bit of pity, because he too is the victim of deceit.
Being an inexperienced opera-goer, I finally settled in with my titillated senses around Act Two, as the Countess played by Liana Guberman, laments her husband’s lecherous ways Either give me back my husband or leave me to die.
Kirsten Scott stole my heart in her role as Cherubino. Was it her boyish looks, along with her sweet voice? Here is an artist who projects. As the constant love struck boy, she delightfully balances the foolishness, with sweet opining. Cherubino sings his love song at Susanna’s insistent request, and the Countess is delighted amidst her stress, but the Count approaches and he jumps out the window! (No really, jumps out of a big loft window!) They fool the count, and the rhythmic release of barely escaping the lie is exposed.
It’s a Brooklyn loft so expect some seats blocked by beams, you’ll hear the occasional klank of an empty beer bottle kicked over by their forgetful consumer, or his neighbor. But this ain’t no sleepy uptown opera house. And any distractions of being in Brooklyn within an industrial space are very minimal, and this is obviously not designed for the old guard of opera—but they’d be more than welcome. This all adds to the romanticisms of our times, the manipulation of things; playing with an objects and a space’s intended use. In doing so, providing an outlet for artists and inlet for enthusiasts.
There is an overabundance of creative prowess in New York City, so in theory there should be more of this!—quality artistic expression made accessible. Lastly, Manhattan needs to change course, instead of shooting itself in its foot. Avant-garde can’t afford the rents. The performance itself was not so re-visionary so as to disorient the audience, but the space in which it happened is. This isn’t even your eccentric Aunt’s Opera House. The Avant-garde arises in response to when the creative process is some how held hostage, and disrupted. Loft Opera is in reply to that need. I appreciate the entire company’s effort in fulfilling that essential.
The Marriage of Figaro at Loft Opera is a limited performance, tonight will be the final show.