'Carmen' lends brazen intro to drama of 'Medea'

Andrea Gadzinski as the princess listens to Jason, sung by Aaron Lange. Photo by Louise Seeholzer

With a twinkle in his eye, David Bamberger, artistic director of the Cleveland Institute of Music Opera Theater, told his audience that he would introduce “music you don’t know with music you do know.” Then the skillful and expertise piano accompaniment of CIM’s music director John Simmons and four fantastic CIM voice students treated an FYI: Opera audience to a brilliant performance of a unique selection of arias at Westlake Porter Public Library.

The program’s objective, to preview the opera "Medea," was cleverly achieved by using arias from the well-known operas "Carmen" and "La Boheme." Luigi Cherubini’s 1797 "Medea" was taken from ancient Greek mythology, but emotions and situations easily compared with the operas written nearly a century later.

Meg Linebough opened with the "Habanera from Carmen," and convincingly used her beautiful voice and expressive motions to relate Carmen’s flirtatious but disdainful view of love. When Andrea Gadzinski followed with "Musetta’s Waltz" from "La Boheme," the audience was entranced and an audible “Wow” was heard.

Linebough returned to introduce "Medea" singing an aria as Neris, who is a companion to Medea. Then Aaron Lange as Jason, Medea’s errant husband, sang to Gadzinski, who portrayed the princess, Jason’s new love interest. Jason tries to convince the princess that despite Medea’s wrath all will be well. The princess then sings a moving aria.

When Nayoung Yeo enters to sing the title role of Medea, the level of emotions deepens. She tries to lure Jason to come back to her, but he makes it clear that is not on his agenda and Medea calls out heavy hitting spirits of vengeance. Yeo’s voice and portrayal were outstanding and Lange was a convincing Jason.

The power of the music, the voices, and the portrayals were highly appreciated by the audience. The FYI: Opera programs are a priceless gift given free to the community through the sponsorship of the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council, whose mission is to provide and promote art. The Oct. 3 event previewed Cleveland’s premiere full performance of "Medea," which takes place at CIM’s Kulas Hall in University Circle Nov. 8-11.

Louise Seeholzer

Publicist for Westlake-Westshore Arts Council

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Volume 9, Issue 20, Posted 9:53 AM, 10.17.2017