|Chelsea Lynn Acree, Billy Smith, Noah Vinson, Maile Okamura|
(Photo: Ken Friedman )
The choreography illustrated the music & the bucolic scenario very closely. The dancing was very symmetrical & involved a lot of gracefully extended arms, frolicking, & running on & off stage. There were many humorous moments, such as when the dancers depicted meadow animals or the "ample strides" of Polyphemus. They also enacted the rolling boulder that kills Acis. It was often like watching a segment of Fantasia.
Soprano Sherezade Panthaki has a pretty, warbling voice & was a reassuringly solid Galatea. The strong, clear sound of tenor Thomas Cooley as Acis reached out into the hall easily. Tenor Zach Finkelstein's singing, in the role of a shepherd, was even & secure. Bass-baritone Douglas Williams got to ham it up a bit as a comical Polyphemus, & his voice was clean & focused. The orchestra & chorus sounded lively & springy under conductor Nicholas McGegan. They played Mozart's arrangement of Handel's music, & I enjoyed hearing clarinets & a fortepiano in the orchestra. There were several nice flute solos.
The bright green & yellow of the costumes & thorny, expressionistic backgrounds strained my eyes after a while. Dramatically the piece is tepid except for one purely theatrical moment when Ms. Panthaki was left alone on a bare stage to sing her lament for Acis.
§ Acis and Galatea (World Premiere)
George Frederic Handel
arr. by Wolfgang Amadeus Moart
Mark Morris Dance Group
Mark Morris, Direction & Choreography
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan, Conductor
Sets by Adrianne Lobel
Costumes by Isaac Mizrahi
Lighting by Michael Chybowski
Thomas Cooley, Acis
Sherezade Panthaki, Galatea
Douglas Williams, Polyphemus
Zach Finkelstein, Damon
Philharmonia Chorale, Bruce Lamott, director
Fri, April 25, 8 pm