Stage Director

Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress – San Francisco Opera Merola Program – San Francisco Chronicle

Tricky Stravinsky piece beautifully rendered.

Most performances of Stravinsky’s opera emphasize its pitiless, pasteboard side…but there is much more to this piece, and it all came through in this incisive and breathtakingly beautiful production.

Friday night’s opening gleamed and glittered in all the right places, but it also paid tribute to the tender heart that beats below the surface of the opera’s elegant symmetries. The result was a magnificent theatrical and musical experience, balancing emotion and wit in perfect proportion.

Director James Marvel allowed himself the liberty to go in whatever direction intrigued him, and the results were a tribute to his instincts. The staging abounded in small, finely observed moments (Anne’s instinctive revulsion when Shadow first appears was a lovely touch), and Marvel seems to have worked carefully with the members of the ensemble to create stage tableaux that were both kinetic and visually striking.

San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman

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