The New York Times on Così fan tutte - click to enlarge

Carmen featured in the New York Times "8 Best Classical Music Moments of the Week"

Carmen featured in the New York Times "8 Best Classical Music Moments of the Week"

THE THREEPENNY REVIEW on Così fan tutte
by Wendy Lesser

"Proske’s brilliant move was to present the four lovers as teenagers, with Don Alfonso as the boys’ teacher and Despina as the girls’ put-upon cleaning lady. Simply by reducing their ages and putting them in classroom desks, this approach made sense of Ferrando’s and Guglielmo’s idiotic willingness to take Don Alfonso’s bet about unfaithful girlfriends. It also made all the stupidity about love—the blind conviction about its permanence, the terror of infidelity, the mooning about at temporary abandonment, the anger connected with jealousy—seem to apply to these particular teenagers, rather than to men and women in general. And in taking a rather contemptuous attitude toward these young fools, we in the audience found ourselves in very much the position of the evil, string-pulling Don Alfonso: a realization which caused me, at least, to rethink my position and sympathize more with the young lovers.

Risks were taken here. Don Alfonso was presented (though with great subtlety) as an envious old homosexual, half in love with his boys and half resentful of their active sex lives with their girlfriends. Despina was markedly working-class—overweight, badly dressed, routinely angry, and not at all the sprightly, sexy little maid played more typically by the likes of Danielle de Niese."  READ MORE

Heartbeat Opera in The Wall Street Journal

Heartbeat Opera in The Wall Street Journal

THE NEW YORK TIMES on Così fan tutte
by Zachary Woolfe

"Cruel love games among the upper crust. Relationships nurtured by shared deceptions. Illusions shattered like cold water tossed in your face. Mozart’s “Così Fan Tutte” is the only opera I know that could do double duty as an Edward Albee play, and LoftOpera’s production of that work on Saturday, the day after Albee’s death, was an unexpectedly proper memorial. ..."  READ MORE
 

THE NEW YORK TIMES on Carmen
by Anthony Tommasini

"... a boldly conceived contemporary interpretation of Bizet’s popular opera, trimmed to 90 minutes and arranged for a six-piece jazz-infused ensemble complete with saxophones and guitars. ... This “Carmen” explores tensions over national borders and portrays the Gypsies as criminals smuggling cocaine. The dashing Escamillo, Bizet’s toreador, becomes “the Toreador” (the virile baritone Ricardo Rivera), a notorious bandit who boastfully brandishes a “Wanted” poster with his photo on it and talks of killing “bulls.” Micaëla, the good girl from home who comes with a message from José’s mother (here the plush soprano Jessica Sandidge), emerges as a strong, self-aware young woman."  READ MORE
 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL on Lucia di Lammermoor
by Heidi Waleson

"For its spring festival at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in Hell’s Kitchen, Heartbeat Opera has taken an even more radical transformational approach to the standard repertoire, presenting Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” in an ingenious rescoring—cello, clarinet, guitar, piano and percussion—by Daniel Schlosberg, who led from the keyboard. With the choruses cut, the piece was streamlined into an intermission-free 90 minutes, and the unexpected instrumental timbres heightened director Louisa Proske’s arresting concept, which had Lucia, in a locked mental ward, feverishly hallucinating the story. ..."  READ MORE
 

THE NEW YORKER on Lucia di Lammermoor
by Alex Ross

"In Proske’s conception, the heroine is mad from the outset, the story unfolding as an extended hallucination in a hospital ward. Schlosberg’s scoring—whistling tones of bowed vibraphone and cymbals, the harplike sound of strummed piano strings, the slide of a shot glass on an electric guitar—put a modernist frame around the action, although the substance of Donizetti’s score came through. Jamilyn Manning-White was an agile, fiery Lucia."  READ MORE
 

OPERA NEWS on Lucia di Lammermoor
by Joanne Sydney Lessner

"Jamilyn Manning-White owned the night, delivering a vibrantly sung and masterfully acted Lucia. She executed the vocal demands brilliantly, including several spot-on high E-flats held for longer than seemed humanly possible. But it was her physical freedom, unpredictability, and specificity of reactions that made her performance so riveting. Marrying the patient’s mental illness to Lucia’s impulsiveness, Manning-White began her performance just slightly unhinged, building to a superb mad scene that received a justifiably long ovation."
 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL on Daphnis & Chloé
by Heidi Waleson

"Then, on a completely different planet, Louisa Proske directed a hilarious version of Offenbach’s “Daphnis & Chloé” (1860) using a snappy English translation by Michaël Attias and a witty five-instrument arrangement by Daniel Schlosberg. The stellar young cast featured Nicole Haslett, who has a serenely lovely soprano, as the shepherdess Chloé; the eager Karin Mushegain as the clueless shepherd Daphnis; Gary Ramsey as the supremely goatish God Pan; and a quartet of Bacchantes in funny Goth-ish costumes by Beth Goldenberg." READ MORE
 

ARTSFUSE on peerless
by Helen Epstein

"Director Louisa Proske has assembled a terrific cast and directed them with breathtaking speed. Yet she has not neglected attention to detail of word and gesture, giving the proceedings great style and élan. The 90 minutes without intermission feel like 15 and are accompanied by the most original sound design (by Jeremy Bloom) I’ve heard so far this summer." READ MORE

Feature story on Heartbeat Opera in Opera News (February 2017 issue) 

Feature story on Heartbeat Opera in Opera News (February 2017 issue)