(How to get there - Park Avenue Congregational Church, Arlington, MA)
May 5 from 2:00-8:00 PM
On Sunday, May 5, from 2:00-8:00 PM, at the Park Avenue Congregational Church in Arlington, NEGASS will host a Gala to Celebrate its 25th Anniversary. The event should prove to be NEGASS's grandest ever. Dean Edmonds, Jr., one of NEGASS's Charter Members, will be coming all the way from Florida to attend. Others will be coming from Maine, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as Massachusetts. Most of the New England G&S performing groups will participate, providing either official representatives or ad hoc performing groups.
Groups sending us official representatives include The Sudbury Savoyards (Quintet from SORCERER, etc.), G&S Society of Hancock County, Maine, plus MITG&SP (numerous scenes from RUDDIGORE), New York/Boston G&S Consortium (scenes from PRINCESS IDA), Savoyard Light Opera Company (excerpts from GONDOLIERS), Charter Member Juliet Cunningham and her Janus Opera Company, Lowell Opera Company, and Valley Light Opera (excerpts from GRAND DUKE). More than a dozen individuals are madly scrambling to assemble ensembles to present selections as ad hoc representatives of other G&S companies, including The Mill River Dinner Theater plus Belmont Open Sings (scenes from THE MIKADO), Fiddlehead Theater plus MITG&SP (scenes from H. M. S. PINAFORE), BU Savoyards, and the Methuen Young People's Theater, etc. And, oh, yes - audience is welcome, too!
DINNER: Through the generosity of Dean Edmonds, Jr., after the "formal" presentations during the afternoon, we will host a buffet for all attendees. RSVP to Program Chair, Carl Weggel (at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 978-474-0396) for the buffet, so that we can order the appropriate amount of food.
EVENING: For all of us who "just can't get enough G&S," the evening will be filled with G&S sing-alongs and "open mike" for solos and even more ensembles. Please bring all of your G&S vocal scores. NEGASS has a modest library, and Kevin Angle of HRG&SP has promised the loan of their library of scores - about 25 of each operetta, but the more scores, the better. For all who request his services, David Goldhirsch will provide accompaniment at a freshly-tuned piano.
DISPLAY/NETWORK: We will also have a second hall close by where groups can display their photo albums and their Company Archives, or members can network with other groups. (This second hall also has an upright piano, for informal entertainment.)
LAST MEETING: LMLO/O MIKADO On March 24 we found ourselves hosting a huge crowd of enthusiastic audience/chorus members, many of them newcomers to NEGASS who had found out about the meeting through the publicity provided by our excellent Company Promoter, Linda Silverstein - in addition to an all-star cast assembled by Carl Weggel and a fine orchestra gathered by Vic Godin and led by David Larrick.
Some of the soloists were new to NEGASS as well - most notably the Act I Katisha, Jena Eison, and the Pish-Tush, Ken McPherson, both of whom well justified Program Chair Carl Weggel's effulgent pre-meeting praise. The fact that the fine newcomer Peep-Bo, Tania Mandzy, had to leave after Act I was not as much of a disaster as it might have been - since Rebecca Burstein had been on stage singing chorus, dressed in an elegant kimono, through all of Act I, and was quite ready to jump in and take over for Peep-Bo's one starring moment of dialog.
Among so many great performances, We're afraid to keep naming names for fear of leaving someone out - so We will hold Our peace and perpend -- mlc
Here's a review posted to SavoyNet that evening: Just wanted to post my thanks to those who organized and participated in the Last Minute Light Opera/Orchestra performance of MIKADO today in Arlington, Massachusetts. David Larrick deserves praise for his vigorous conducting of an unsteady but determined orchestra (not meant to be negative -- it was a "last minute orchestra," after all!). The talent was superb (a spectacular "I Am So Proud" rendered by Tony Parkes, David Leigh, and Ken McPherson as well as Rebecca Hains' divine The Sun Whose Rays), and it was simply a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I enjoyed myself greatly. Looking forward to seeing you all at the NEGASS 25th Anniversary Gala on May 5th.
Visit Ron Dallas' web site full of photos of the LMLO MIKADO
Tentative Meeting Schedule, 2001-2002
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome We New Members Rachel Berman, David Cohen, Emily Gouillart, Wayne & Marilyn Hurlbut, and Josef Porteleki, Jr.
Rachel, We are told, is 5 years old. Membership Chair Janice Dallas writes: Her father, Eric, bought her the membership after taking her to our LMLO. I met her, and she was very well-behaved, being enthralled with her first experience of live G&S. She already knows PIRATES well and is now totally engrossed with MIKADO. They've been wearing out their D'Oyly Carte CD. Dad showed her the Topsy Turvy film, also, fast-forwarding through the R-rated scenes!
David writes: I'm an MIT physicist who grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. G and S was some of the favorite music in that Canadian (British) city, and I got a marvellous heavy dose in high school and college. I participated both in the choir, and orchestra (violin).
Emily writes: Proud daughter of Laura Gouillart, goes to Sarah Lawrence College, SavoyNet member, G&S reviewer, semi-fine pianist, singer, enthusiastic audience. [Read her review, in this Bray, of our LMLO meeting.]
Wayne and Marilyn describe themselves as "Just enthusiastic audience members" - There's no "just" about it! - where would the performers be with no audience?! - but - Marilyn - weren't you once a soprano at The Mannes College of Music in NY?
Josef writes: Violinist in LMLO orchestra. How fortunate we are to be able to provide a path to G&S for such a variety of Savoyards!
JUNE MEETING: NEGASS ELECTIONS Start thinking about which position you'd like to take over when the Board changes in June. This year, our Vice President (Jennifer Morris), Secretary (Peter Cameron), Program Chair (Carl Weggel) and three Members at Large (Linda Silverstein, Janice Dallas and Marion Leeds Carroll) are up for replacement.
Please note that the three Members-at-Large in question have also held positions of responsibility in NEGASS, performing the duties of Company Promoter, Membership Officer, and Newsletter Editor. Any one seeking to replace any of these three MALs ought to consider which of the three jobs he or she wishes to take on - because these functions are particularly vital, and must not be allowed to lapse with re-election!
All three MALs, as well as the Program Chair, have already expressed an interest in remaining in their positions. But this is an open Society! - if you long to take a seat on the Board, and help with the operations of the Society, start thinking about which position you'd like to stand for at the Election Meeting in June.
AUGUST MEETING: PICNIC The Board has tentatively scheduled this year's picnic for Sunday, August 25. It's too soon to say what show we'll sing through at our picnic this year. (Any votes?) In fact, it's too soon to say where the picnic will be held. Does anyone have a roomy home with a piano indoors and space for cavorting on the grass outside? Would you be willing to host our picnic? Phone anyone on the Board, or send e-mail to email@example.com, with offers or ideas - Thanks! - mlc
SUDBURY NEWS The Sudbury Savoyards held elections recently, following their very successful SORCERER - and elected Brendon Chetwynd, Mike Lague, Paula Moravek, and Tom Powers to a Board of Trustees which already included Marianne Hatton, Donna Roessler, and Katherine Engel Meifert.
Sudbury is planning an inventory of costumes and props at their rehearsal hall/summer performance space on Saturday, May 4th from 10-4:00 - contact Donna Roessler if you'd like to spend some time meeting a warm and welcoming crowd of fanatical Savoyards who put on great shows and donate all the proceeds to charity. May all good fortune prosper you, Sudbury Savoyards!
SINGOUT NOVA SCOTIA: May 10 is the deadline for applying to take part as Music Director, Pianist, Soloist, or Orchestra member (!) for the weekend Singout planned for July 19-21 by the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia, in celebration of their 25th anniversary.
As typical of Singouts: No dialogue, no overtures, no rehearsals. Special features of this one: Only seven of the operas will be performed, to leave more time for socializing, and a pick-up orchestra will accompany two of the operas. Cost: Registration before June 1 is $50 Canadian (or less if you only want to attend part of the singout); after that date the price jumps to $65.
For more info and to express interest in the Nova Scotia Singout, contact Leo Weniger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (902) 425-3392. Or write to him at 504-1333 South Park St., Halifax, NS B3J 2K9 Canada. For lots of details and a registration form, visit their web site at http://www.gandsnovascotia.ca/ .)
HARVARD-RADCLIFF G & S PLAYERS' PATIENCE During the 1970's, HRG&SP put on a succession of memorable G&S productions, usually featuring the incomparable Steven Kaplan in the patter-baritone roles. When I returned to the Boston area in 1993, these fond memories of Harvard G&S were shattered by a string of "let's improve upon Gilbert" productions that soured my taste for Harvard G&S. Happily, I can report that those sad days are now gone. Last night's production of PATIENCE restored my faith in HRG&SP's ability and resolve to produce a quality, untampered-with product.
Not to disparage the other aspects of this excellent production, but the indisputable stars of this PATIENCE are the Costume Designers, Abigail Joseph and Naomi Straus, with thanks to NEGASSer and inveterate costumer Janice Dallas, designer and renter of the Dragoon uniforms. The Set Designer, Elizabeth Little, too, has made maximal use of Agassiz's truly miniscule stage. If one can imagine it, Elizabeth successfully divided the tiny stage into a triptych reminiscent of, say, Jordan Marsh's animated display windows during Christmas season. The Stage Director, Dennis Clark, and the Choreographer, Sarah Meyers, together performed miracles in providing the sensation-and reality-of action where there is room for almost none. More details on this later in the review.
The orchestra, under Music Director Karoun Demirjian, featured a superb wind section, highlighted by the incomparable Steven Malionek, clarinet-a delight wherever he appears. The brass section, too, was excellent, especially the 1st horn, Ami Fields, and the 1st trumpet, Peter Li. In the overture and opening scene, I noted that the otherwise excellent instrumentalists were not always in sync with one another, so the musical effect was marred. Either the orchestra resolved these problems after a few stumbling minutes, or else attention shifted to the stage, and any remaining minor flaws went unnoticed.
The opening tableau alone was worth the price of admission. The costumes were updated to the 1910's-the era of cloche hats and extravagant headwear featuring ostrich feathers and marabou trim, etc. Not since I visited the spectacular exhibition of period headwear at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell this December have I seen such an eye-popping exhibit of headgear! Even this display of headwear was eclipsed when Lady Jane, Erica Livingston, made her grand entrance, decked in a hat simulating a glorious peacock in full display. And the period dresses were similarly stunning. Quoting Abigail Joseph, these were "inspired by avant-garde costumes of the early 1910's (designed by the likes of Erté and Paul Poiret, and notable for their novel, fanciful shapes as well as Oriental influence)."
The tableau dissolved into Twenty love-sick maidens we, with a melodious chorus of six Rapturous Maidens, Abby Carlin, Lena Epstein, Marisa Green, Ashley Horan, Amy Lenander, and Laura Wells. Lady Angela, Allison Youngberg, delivered Love feeds on hope they say, just right. Lady Ella, Zoe VanderWolk, approached this high standard in Go, breaking heart. Lady Saphir's, Deborah Abel's, 'Tis Patience, happy girl! and, later, Though so excellently wise were sung beautifully. The synchronized moves of the Rapturous Maidens were well choreographed throughout. Their subtle use of finger cymbals - and Lady Jane's non-subtle use of full-sized cymbals - during Let the merry cymbals sound woke up the audience.
Lady Jane's, Erica Livingston's, acting was impeccable, even though throughout the show Erica "played second fiddle" to her hat and costume. Both her eye makeup and her portrayal were slightly reminiscent of a winsome Katisha, which I thought somewhat inappropriate for the role of Lady Jane, but we'll let that pass. [We think it's quite appropriate - when Katisha declares, "I am a acquired taste", she is defining herself as a bluestocking, sister to the Rapturous Maidens! - mlc] Erica's singing was at times gorgeously legato, and at other times-such as Sad is that woman's lot-(unnecessarily) too ponderously marcato. Her voice is more than ample to fill Agassiz Theatre without such forcing!
Patience, Casey Hutchinson, sang and acted very professionally throughout the show, but was perhaps slightly miscast. Her shoes were definitely not those of a puling milkmaid, and despite Casey's obvious talent, I longed for the incredible naiveté that Bridget Copley had brought to the role of Patience at MITG&SP in the Spring of 1997. Casey's worldly-wise demeanor seemed more appropriate for, say, Angelina in TRIAL, (or perhaps a statuesque Yum-Yum in MIKADO)-someone who knows exactly what she is doing, and why. I cannot tell what this love may be was delivered at a glacial pace, I fear. Understandably, Patience's acting and singing triumphed most completely in such songs as No, Mister Bunthorne, no-- you're wrong again. Is prompted by no selfish view elicited bemused "I've been there" laughter from the audience.
The six Dragoon Guards, Kevin Angle, David Byron, Julian Goodman, Steven Grossman, Nicholas Vines, and Zach Young formed a well-drilled band of troops-in marked contrast to the three companies of Dragoon Guards with whom I have performed. Their The soldiers of our Queen was everything one could wish for from a band of eight. In Agassiz, they have no room to maneuver, yet maneuver they did! The Colonel's, Sean Damm's, patter song, If you want a receipt, was well sung, especially his pedal-tones: goon, tune, foe, zot, show, saud, scum, and um. The addition of a spit after the Dragoons' A hideous curse on his solicitor! was more effective than the traditional stage business.
A mystery: What makes casting the role of the Duke, in this case Pedro Kaawaloa, so difficult? In this show-as in the three shows with which I have sung-this role has proved problematical. I don't know why. Your maiden hearts was one of the few numbers that I thought could have been staged-and sung-less broadly and more effectively. (A second mystery: Although the French horn is reputed to be the most difficult instrument in the entire orchestra to master, yet in G&S shows I have been blessed to hear much beautiful sound emanating from the French horns!)
In a doleful train-and the following double chorus-were both well sung and superbly staged and choreographed. With twenty performers on the Agassiz stage, marching is out of the question. During In a doleful train, the Dragoons "marched" in exaggerated slow motion, perhaps to accentuate the contrast between the ladies' languorous lament, and the Dragoons' sprightly Now is not this ridiculous that followed. During their Now is not this ridiculous, the Dragoons marched double-time in minute baby steps, which also worked.
Bunthorne's, James Maltese's, appearance was, simply put, too darn clean-cut. Bunthorne must look more bilious! Ah, for a (hideous) goatee, or a scruffy Van Dyke beard! Some '60's-era long, grungy locks! "would at least be Early [Left Bank]!" "Oh, be Early [Greenwich Village] ere it is too late!" James' patter-singing was fine enough. And, my, how he could dance! What magnificent, precision footwork in Am I alone and unobserved? and throughout the show! I would have preferred velvet shoes to patent leathers, but we'll let that pass. His slight lisp did not seem to add or detract from his portrayal of Bunthorne.
In Long years ago, fourteen maybe, I don't think that Patience and Lady Angela sufficiently emphasized he, was, little, and boy, but I think it was apparent that most of the audience got the humor of this word-play, nonetheless.
Archibald Grosvenor, Ben Becton, was the perfect narcissistic dandy in his Regency frockcoat, lace sleeves, and wig and deportment-even more than I've seen in other productions. (I certainly hope that he was just acting!) The scene beginning with It is very pleasant to be alone and culminating in Grosvenor's ludicrous "duel" with Bunthorne, was uproarious. Oh, Mr. Bunthorne, reflect, reflect!, etc., was almost "over the top," but everyone loved it! I frequently smile at Gilbert's wit during a G&S show. I have even been known to chuckle. But this may well be the first time I laughed!
When I attended on Thursday, the audience was almost criminally small (maybe a one-third house?). Would that there had been more of us at this fine show! (I noted that NEGASSer Art Dunlap was among the altogether-too-few attendees.)
In summary, to those who weren't there, "Guys, you really missed it!" My only regret-and it is one I readily accept-is that henceforth I will once again have to add HRG&SP to my already overloaded calendar of G&S activities.
NY/NE IDA IN MARCH Review plagiarized almost verbatim from The Palace Peeper, the newsletter of the G&S Society of NY: Those of us who fondly remember the collaborative production of YEOMEN that combined forces of the New York and New England societies performed last spring were not disappointed at the festive and witty rendition of IDA that the same alliance produced on the night of March 19th. New England's Marion Leeds Carroll and our own Sam Silvers are deserving of great admiration for the hard work they clearly invested in this labor of love.
And what excellent fruits their labors bore! Ms. Carroll was in full diva mode in the title role, and Mr. Silvers gave great delight as her father, King Gama. Ensemble work was of a consistently high caliber. Other New Yorkers who did the "home team" proud were Dennis Blackwell as a sonorous and witty King Hildebrand; Dan Kravetz, Noah Sferra and Jack Behonek, who were suitably cloddish as Guron, Arac and Scynthius, sons of Gama; and Andi Stryker-Rodda, who never fails to impress as accompanist. Visiting New Englanders who gave fine performances to this effort were David Carl Olson (Hilarion), Larry Seiler (Cyril), Dan Kamalic (Florian), Linda Nadeau (Lady Blanche), Liane Grasso (Lady Psyche), Katherine Meifert (Melissa) and Rebecca Burstein (Sacharissa).
The response of the audience (which included Paul Fellowes, managing director of the Grim's Dyke Hotel; now occupying the W.S. Gilbert homestead) left no doubt that further collaborations between the societies would be eagerly anticipated.
[We're very proud of our "visiting team" - Liane, who just moved to New England this fall, was a fill-in for Rebecca Haines, who had to skip this concert - and she has turned out to be a real prize! David, Larry and Dan not only sang their ensembles beautifully, but also managed to improvise excellent stage business. Katherine displayed the fine talents Sudbury has learned to expect from her - and even Rebecca Burstein made the most of her tiny moment in the sun! As for Linda Nadeau: her name may be unfamiliar to NEGASSers - she has just moved to Connecticut from DC - but she's a talent to be reckoned with. Look forward to hearing her during your next auditions, CG&SS! - mlc]
LADY SANGAZURE'S ARIA? This question was recently posted to the Sudbury Savoyards' mailing list: I am involved in a production of SORCERER in Huddersfield England. The Director is thinking of re-instating Lady Sangazure's First Act solo "In days gone by, these eyes were bright". We have the words from Ian Bradley's Annotated Works. Do you have any idea where we might obtain the music/score?
Regards - Paul Richmond
NON-NEGASS NEWSLETTERS Yes, other organizations publish newsletters, too! In fact, NEGASS shares Our newsletter with other organizations, which send Us copies of their own in repturn. A short list: We receive issues of Precious Nonsense (the newsletter of the Midwestern G&S Society), The Palace Peeper (the New York Society's newsletter), The GASBAG (the U. Michigan newsletter), Toronto-ra (of guess which Canadian city!), The Titipu Times of Winnepeg and The Titipu Times of Western Australia! In addition, We receive issues of New England Opera Club's monthly announcements. We would be happy to make these available to any NEGASSer interested in reading them. (In fact, We brought issues of several different newsletters to the March LMLO meeting, and never saw them again, so We assume they are being enjoyed by an avid reader.)
The Gilbert and Sullivan Society (Yes, that one) mails Us a lovely glossy newsletter several times each year. The most recent one started with a tribute to the Society's Honorary President, H.R.H. Princess Alice, who turned 100 in December, and went on to include a discussion of The Emerald Isle; an article by Cynthia Morey defending her decisions as adjudicator at last summer's International G&S Festival; a review of Jane Steadman's latest publication, W. S. Gilbert's Theatrical Criticism (available from Eileen Cottis, Society for Theater Research, c/o Theater Museum 1E Tasvistock St., London WC2E 7PA, UK); a discussion of the first production of The Rose of Persia and another about THESPIS; and a glowing review of Carl Rosa's recent production of PIRATES.
IN-PROGRESS PDF BRAY ARCHIVE We've started a new project: We're posting PDF versions of recent Brays on the web. What does this mean? It means that if you have a (free and easily accessible) copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can print out a copy of the issue you want, looking pretty much the same as the copy you received in the mail - in case you lost your old copy, or want to lend a copy to someone else. Ultimately, We hope to create a more nearly complete archive of old Brays in PDF format.
ABOUT CONTRIBUTING TO THE TRUMPET BRAY:
All contributions are welcome, of course - but, strictly speaking, only activities and articles relating to G&S ought to be published. (…although an occasional Yes We Know It's Not slips by when the subject relates to a promising activity presented by long-standing and active member of NEGASS.)
Visit http://leedscarroll.com/GSEnsembles.html for a list of G&S ensembles suitable for excerpt programs.
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Send electronic contributions to our e-mail address:pooh-bah at negass dot org
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