Review: Der Vampyr

Dear Constant Reader,

This review has absolutely nothing to do with burlesque, but it is a local production that features a couple of folks that have been involved in Boston Babydoll shows.

Last week Mr. Scratch & I attended opening night of OperaHub‘s production of Der Vampyr at the BCA. It had a lot going for it: it was about vampires, the libretto was written by our friend John J. King, and it was free (well, they asked for a donation). As a bonus, the AD & fight choreographer was Joe Kidawski, who staged managed Madame Burlesque the first time around.

They kept much of the music and the rough plot, but “adapted” the libretto. That is, rewrote it completely, cramming it full of references to Dracula, Buffy, Dark Shadows, and Twilight, plus a bunch of other pop-culture jokes. After all, this is from the man who brought us the Shakespeare/James Bond mashup From Denmark With Love last year.

The script may be full of jokes, but the singers and orchestra are seriously good. And despite the lightness of the text, there’s a deep thread of feminism. The traditional passive vampire victim trope is turned on its head with independently-minded female characters (who are also strong sopranos). For example, Della Swann refuses attempts by both father and fiancé to control her destiny and feisty Muffy the Vampire Nay-Sayer chafes at being protected by Giles, despite her proven skill with hurling a stake.

Be aware that it’s long. It’s listed at two and a half hours with an intermission, but the theatre has, in Scratch’s words, 90 minute seats. I found that the vocal stylings sometimes made the clever lyrics unintelligible to my ear, but that’s a problem I have with opera in general. Perhaps someday the libretto will be available and I can see what I missed.

It’s at the BCA until Saturday and all performances are free (though you really should throw something into the hat). And pick up a hand-painted flask, made by the librettist himself.

M2

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Published in: on 25 June 2014 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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