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'The Vampire,' Reviewed

New Orleans Opera Association Gives German Opera a Crescent City Update



The opening night of the opera season is always a special occasion, but on Friday evening the New Orleans Opera Association’s première of The Vampire broke with some of the old traditions.

 

From the choice of the opera to the ancillary events surrounding the performance, operagoers were treated to a diverting evening.

 

In keeping with the spooky theme, the audience was invited to attend in costume, and many attendees obliged. The well-heeled and college set alike arrived to the Mahalia Jackson Theatre decked out in masks and capes alongside the usual black-tie crowd. Unlike previous years, souvenirs were distributed on entry and a photographer was on hand. The informative pre-show “Nuts & Bolts” lecture was nearly drowned out as the lobby filled with growing revelry.

 

From the moment the singers assembled on stage with bloodstained hands and contemporary garb, it was clear that this was not going to be a typical night at the opera. Though the work was written in Germany in 1828 and set in the Scottish highlands, this production was all 21st century New Orleans. The singing was done in the original German and spoken dialogue was in colloquial English with heavy Southern accents. Finding inspiration in pop culture and indulging the audience with countless references to New Orleans landmarks (including the Superdome), The Vampire was calculated to entertain newcomers to the art form.

 

For veteran opera enthusiasts in the audience, the most important traditional elements remained intact. The vocal performances throughout the program were strong, particularly from the leading artists: Nicholas Pallesen (as the titular vampire), Corey Bix (as Aubry), and Majorie Owens (as Malwina). Pallesen and Bix were especially moving in their respective arias early in act two. Bass-baritone Steven West offered a musically and dramatically well-rounded interpretation of Malwina’s aristocrat father. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted Robert Lyall, made the most of Marschner’s pleasant but unremarkable score.

 

Lagniappe for the Friday night audience was an after party in the theater lobby, where the boisterous crowd enjoyed complimentary Halloween-themed refreshments and celebrated the opening of another season.

 

NOOA’s final performance of The Vampire is Sunday, October 13 at 2:30pm at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Tickets start at $25. For information, visit their website or call 504-529-3000.

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

Published Daily