Opera News, David Shengold, June 2014:
After the break came Cynthia Edwards' moving,
effective staging of the music (fifty-five minutes or so) Handel wrote in
1749-50 for a vanished, never-produced Smollett play, Alceste. Light
tenor Randall Bills — Hercules in a military suit — sang with striking fluidity
and ease over a wide range; his first aria tested his ability to maintain pitch
all the way through a long line, but after that all was smooth sailing, with the
(relative) "hit" tune "Enjoy the sweet Elysian grove" a clear highlight,
although Bills needed greater verbal connectedness.
Barefoot in a long blue-black train (Maile
Okamura did the fine costuming) Robert Balonek showed a fine, strong dark
baritone with uncommon agility in Charon's one bravura aria; having heard him
perform impressively before in New York's fringe venues, one wonders why
Balonek's talent doesn't land him the more prominent gigs he merits.
Krull's stage experience as both mezzo and soprano told as Calliope; though not
in strongest voice, she showed her colleagues how to project words successfully
on a Handelian line. Lindsey Jones (Alceste), Weaver Rhodes (Admetus) and the
game chorus appealingly executed John Heginbotham's unpretentious, affecting
The hourlong semi-staged performance
of “Alceste,” which marked the culmination of this year’s Handelfest, was
sensitively directed by Cynthia Edwards. She made the most of the radiant young
members of the American Classical Orchestra Chorus, who moved about the stage
with natural grace. Two dancers, Lindsey Jones and Weaver Rhodes, fleshed out
the silent roles of Alceste and Admetus, the lovers separated by death and then
reunited. Their elegant movements, choreographed by John Heginbotham, combined
stylized gestures and a certain sweet diffidence that fit the music well.
TheaterScene.net, Jean Ballard Terepka, March 3, 2016:
The team that put together the opera’s spacious and sunny
staging – Cynthia Edwards, stage director, Liene Dobraja, costume designer – significantly enhanced the overall artistic value
of this production. The minimal stage setting of four palm trees and several
boulders, and a few well-chosen props – a stuffed fawn, binoculars, bright
yellow beach blankets and multicolor sun umbrellas – were all used to fine
effect. The singers moved in and around the stage space with relative ease,
making it plausible as an exotic island locale. The campy mid-twentieth century
tropical preppy-wear costumes contributed an air of modern wit to the chamber
opera, revealing the charms of the Baroque piece by removing it from
period-piece claustrophobia. The production was fun – the singers and Crawford all looked
as though they were having an awfully good time – and the artistic and
intellectual integrity of the project was unassailable.
Daily News, Mike Dunham:
With a shoestring budget, Anchorage
Opera has managed to present a gripping “Macbeth” that doesn’t readily reveal
its shortcuts. Verdi’s grand opera take on Shakespeare’s story received a
compelling production to a sold out opening night house on Saturday, and
there’s no shortage of parties deserving praise for pulling off a stirring
This is a fabulously difficult piece
to pull off in that everything must click to make it hold together as a
gripping and persuasive piece of musical theater….Cynthia Edwards’ direction
balanced natural mannerisms with a studied symmetry when dealing with the
supernatural. Particularly nice touches included the rising of a screen to show
the murdered body of Duncan to the horror of the vassals.
On Wednesday night, the
American Classical Orchestra,
the period-instrument ensemble founded by the conductor Thomas
Crawford, presented a semi-staged production of Grétry’s “Richard Coeur
de Lion,” a breezy, elegant work from 1784 (later revised), at the New
York Society for Ethical Culture. The opera, a sensation in its day, remains a rarity. With Mr. Crawford drawing stylish, lively playing from
the orchestra; a gifted cast; and an inventive semi-staging by Cynthia
Edwards, this performance put the piece across beautifully.... All in all, a timely revival for a little gem of an opera.
American Classical Orchestra presented Grétry’s Richard Coeur-de-Lion at
the charming auditorium of the Society for Ethical Culture…. the Grétry
opéra-comique was by far the most interesting work, done semi-staged with
ingenious direction from Cynthia Edwards…. Ms. Edwards’ staging cleverly made
the most of simplified costuming and various props, suggesting a battle scene
here and a country dance there.
Daily News, Mike Dunham:
Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” had never been performed
in Alaska before Saturday night….. Anchorage Opera managed to make it both a
musical and theatrical highlight of the arts season.
Director Cynthia Edwards gets credit
credible humanity in
the stage action.…The interactions
of characters and
groups flowed smoothly. The re-entry of
the guests during the quarrel between Onegin
and Lensky in the second act came
off brilliantly and smoothly.
Zémire et Azor
When neglected works are revived, they are sometimes billed as forgotten
masterpieces, regardless of merit. Others pique interest because of
their relevance to an evolving genre and their influence on other
composers. Such is the case with the opera “Zémire et Azor” by the 18th-century Liégeois composer André Grétry.
In this rendition, effectively directed by Cynthia Edwards, the arias were sung in French and dialogue spoken in English.... Alex Guerrero brought apt comic timing to the buffo role of Ali, whose
music evokes commedia dell’arte style. Matthew Peña, wearing a mask and
cape for most of the opera, was charismatic as the tormented Azor,
initially vengeful and bitter but transformed by his love for Zémire.
Opera News, Frank Lewin:
A strong Tosca opened OperaDelaware's
fifty-first season....Cynthia Edwards' fluid
direction served the drama well and provided several memorable touches, one of which was
to have Scarpia in his death spasms fall off the couch exactly as Cavaradossi had done earlier when weakened by his torture....a satisfying rendition of an opera standard.