The Boston Phoenix review: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead comes to life in Boston

May 27, 2010
Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall

On April 10-11 2010, American Opera Projects and the Boston Classical Orchestra presented a concert staging of Herschel Garfein‘s new comic opera Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall.  Based on Tom Stoppard’s existential play of the same title, Garfein wrote both the score and the libretto for this lively adaption.

Seven semi-staged scenes were performed; some featured the lead soloists, and others included a chorus of students from the New England Conservatory. The title roles were performed by Krista River (mezzo-soprano), Chad Sloan (baritone), David Kravitz (baritone) and Jeffrey Tucker (bass). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, played by David Kravitz and Chad Sloan respectively, were the obvious audience favorites. The Boston Globe described the two baritones’ performances favorably, saying, “David Kravitz and Chad Sloan sang with skill, power, and exemplary diction, and acted their parts as well as they could from their music stands.”  Krista River was also lauded for her “beautifully sung” rendition of “The Unicorn Song.”

The opera scenes were paired with Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 to cap BCO’s 30th season.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is currently in development at AOP.

American Opera Projects “…. a perfect first exposure to opera” – TimeOut/New York

December 15, 2009
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead Nov 2009

Guildenstern (L) and Rosencrantz (R), Photo Credit: Stephanie Berger

Time Out/NY‘s review of the recent public workshop of Herschel Garfein’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead directed by Mark Morris and held at the Mark Morris Dance Center Nov 20-21, 2009.

As Charles Jarden, general director of American Opera Projects, was introducing Saturday afternoon’s reading of Herschel Garfein’s opera-in-progress Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, pointing out the emergency exits in the Mark Morris Dance Center, a mike came undone from its ceiling post and swung ominously like a noose.

Such irony would not be lost on Tom Stoppard—nor, thankfully, was it lost on Garfein. His wry adaptation of Stoppard’s 1967 retelling of Hamlet through two of the play’s minor personages lacks some of the play’s absurd existentialism, but keeps at its heart many of the play’s trademarks—from Stoppard’s dialogue to the endless flipping of a coin to the famous game of questions.

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