[Reviewed by Jessica A. Sims]
Pocket Opera opened yet ANOTHER season (35 in all, but who’s counting?) triumphantly with founder Donald Pippin’s adaption of Mozart’s 1782 masterpiece The Abduction from the Seraglio, expertly chosen cast with an amazing backing from the opera’s philharmonic, I was entranced from the second the hero, Belmonte (played by Jonathan Smucker—imagine a Ken doll that sings, beautifully, and that’s Smucker) raced through the crowd, asking random opera-goers if they had seen his friends. The stage was sparse, with only a few accents thrown in, really allowing the singers (and Donald, forever present as the unofficial “time keeper” one can get so lost in the opera!) to tell the story properly
The Abduction from the Seraglio waxes poetic on the power of love, being lost in a foreign land and most importantly, the epic human capacity of forgiveness, no matter our background, no matter our position in life, we can all forgive. Playing the lovable Pedrillo, Michael Desnoyers did NOT disappoint, his tenor as clear and crisp and his comedic timing was better than most I’ve seen lately, while William Neil (a Pocket Opera veteran) was just amazing as Osmin, the mean old police watch dog to John Nichols’ Pasha Selin, who was dignified and commanding every time her stepped on stage. Each man was truly a leading man from where I was sitting.
But I have to give it to the ladies on this one: Elise Kennedy as Blondie was just pure pitch perfection, and a breath of fresh air during some of the heavier moments. And bravo to Suzanna Mizell as Constanza—her numbers were absolutely breath-taking, a true delight for the ears.
I have always loved opera and I cannot applaud the Pocket Opera enough for making it accessible to the masses, with affordable tickets, accessible locations and ENGLISH lyrics. My only regret? It was over too soon.
You can contact the reviewer, Jessica A. Sims, at email@example.com.