by Antonio Saillant, NY Film Industry Examiner
Some legends are made. Some are born. And some emerge full-grown from the night. Last night I just witnessed one of the most prolific collaborations in Western culture in the artistic team between Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787) and Rainieri de’ Calzabigi (1714–1795). Their reform operas Alceste, Paride ed Elena, and Orfeo ed Euridice have inspired what many consider as the birth of Gesamtkunstwek (total artwork). Their operas integrated not only music, drama, dance, and visual arts, but also addressed and responded to social and political issues of their time through Greek mythology. I truly discovered the sublime music of Gluck and I was moved by Calzabigi’s profound message.
German composer Christoph Willibald Gluck along with librettist Calzabigi wrote the opera Orfeo ed Euridice in the 1760s. Orfeo is a dark and lush opera performed to this day.
The Season Finale of Legendary Collaborations II: Gluck & Calzabigi by One World Symphony was breathtaking. Time Out New York said it best about Composer and Conductor Sung Jin Hong: “While he is incredibly knowledgable, he is also passionate, which makes the experience all more illuminating.” I definitely felt the passion as One World Symphony drives home with a powerful finale with a delivery of such a dynamic programming and vibrant performances. An amazing performance that was propelled forth with real drive and energy.
Sung Jin Hong is brilliant and One World Symphony created a complete masterpiece. The chorus, symphony, Nicole Buggé’s choreography and, most of all, the dancers — Tess Anton, Alex Betka, Mara Driscoll, Paige Grimard, Calli Quan, and Brittany Testone — [gave a] surpassingly beautiful performance working together to actively engage its audiences through innovative musical demonstrations, a brilliant touch.
The singers deserve credit for bringing the music to life, as it is certainly no easy task to create an original interpretation of a role that history once showed political issues of their time. However, the dance troupe really stole the show for me; all six dancers had well-defined characters and invoked the old tradition style.
Marshall Coid (Orfeo) has been described by the New York Times as “astonishingly versatile” for his multifaceted career as a countertenor, actor, violinist, composer and lyricist. I actually shed a tear when hearing my dear friend Marshall Coid making his role debut at One World Symphony. His performance gave me a lump in my throat when he sang “Che faro senza Euridice?” for his voice is also capable of the utmost sensitivity and over the evening it generates a variety of well-nurtured effects; this is a definitive performance and unforgettable.
From the vocal soloists, chorus, full symphony orchestra, and dancers with original choregraphy celebrating the birth of Gesamtkunstwerk. There is no doubt that this was a special, insightful night.
The performance started at 8:00 p.m. at the Holy Apostles Church located on 296 Ninth Avenue at West 28th Street in Manhattan.
Conductor Sung Jin Hong; Choreographer Nicole Buggé; Vocalists: Adrienne Metzinger, Marshall Coid, Beverly Love, Korin Kormick, Kirsten Kane, Courtenay Symonds, Sahoko Sato, Winnie Nip, Emily Werne
Gluck: Alceste, Orfeo ed Euridice, Paride ed Elena
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I’m the NY and National Art and Film Industry Writer for the Examiner!