Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Return of the Prince

Alex Richardson as Amleto

                                There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will.                                                                     -- Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet

This month, Albuquerque's regional opera company, Opera Southwest, presents Amleto, an opera based on Shakespeare's Hamlet that was written and performed only a few times in the mid-19th century, then withdrawn by its composer, Franco Faccio, who never wrote another opera but went on to become a famous conductor.  You can read the history of the opera at Wikipedia by clicking here.

Resurrecting this "lost" opera has been a labor of love for OSW Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Anthony Barrese, who over a decade painstakingly reconstructed the score from the original (and deteriorating) autograph score archived in Milan.  You can read his account of the project by clicking here.

Then, of course, the opera had to be cast and staged.  After years of work and planning, it all came together this week.

I had the good fortune to photograph a dress rehearsal of the opera last week, as I did last spring for the OSW production of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers.  (See post dated March 23, 2014.)  And as before, from a photography perspective, this is a total rush:  a live event for which there are no re-takes.  

Of course knowing the story helps to anticipate the action and the key moments.  But people are constantly moving and the lighting is constantly changing, so except for the 15-minute intermission I was constantly moving and shooting for 3 hours, which yielded nearly 1,000 images.

I don't need to recap the story here . . . I'll just share some of the images I'm happiest about.  You can see these (and more) in a larger format at my website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.

The Singers

Alex Richardson (a native New Mexican) as Amleto:

Abla Lynn Hamza as Ofelia:

Caroline Worra as Geltrude (Queen and mother of Amleto):

Shannon DeVine as Claudio (the usurper King):

Javier Gonzalez as Laerte (Ofelia's brother):

Key Dramatic Moments

Not a happy camper at the party (Act I, Scene 1):

The ghost of Hamlet's murdered father appears on the parapet of the castle (Act I, Scene 2):

"To be or not to be . . . " (Act II, Scene 1):

Ofelia returns Amleto's love letters (Act II, Scene 1):

"Get thee to a nunnery . . ." (Act II, Scene 1):

"The play's the thing . . ."

                    " . . . wherein I'll catch . . ."

                                                        " . . . the conscience of the king."  (Act II, Scene 2)

The king in prayer (Act III, Scene 1)

Amleto confronts Geltrude (Act III, Scene 1):

Geltrude, in private, confesses her guilt and regret (Act III, Scene 1):

Ofelia goes mad (Act III, Scene 2):

                                                       . . . and drowns herself:

 The king plots with Laerte to dispose of Amleto (Act IV, Scene 1):

The duel begins (Act IV, Scene 2):

Amleto kills Laerte:

 "The rest is silence . . ." 

Curtain call . . .