New Artistic Director Viswa Subbaraman opens his premiere
production at the Skylight Music Theatre with a very creative
version of Beethoven’s “Fidelio.”
with the visual-technical artist Raghava KK, Subbaraman has
combined Indian culture and artistry with this 19th-century
opera, Beethoven’s only venture into this musical genre.
who doubles as the stage and music director, characterizes
this production as a combination of Dr. Seuss and Bollywood.
Choreographer Deepa Devasesa and costume designer Daren
Brown-Larimore contributed their talents to generate a
panorama of movement and color.
story is one of the false imprisonment of Florestan and his
wife, Leonore’s, attempt to rescue him. In order to access
him, she poses as a man who gains employment with
Florestan’s jailer Rocco.
so fond of Fidelio (Leonore’s pseudonym) that he encourages
him to marry his daughter Marzelline, who is presently being
pursued by Rocco’s young gatekeeper Jaquino. She, however,
is enamored of Fidelio, a strange turn of events to be sure.
aren’t complicated enough, Don Pizzaro enters and offers
Rocco money to kill Florestan before the inspector general
arrives to discover that his friend is still alive and has
been unjustly incarcerated for two years. When Rocco refuses
to do so, Pizzarro decides to take on the gruesome task
himself. Meanwhile, Leonore is trying to save Florestan from
imagine that all things work together for the greater good and
the greater drama when Fidelio, Florestan, Rocco, Inspector
Fernando, Pizzaro, Marzelline and Jaquino all unite in the
climactic scene when truth and romance triumph.
not known for their credibility, so suspend your disbelief at
the door and enjoy the music and the visual banquet. Cassandra
Black has a voice that meets the demands of her role as
heroine, but her movements are clumsy and there is little
chemistry between her and her husband, Florestan (Chase
Taylor). Though their voices blend beautifully, neither
exhibits the expected joy in reuniting.
Schuller is perfectly suited for her portrayal as Rocco’s
young smitten daughter. We are mesmerized by her presence and
her flawless soprano voice. Jaquino, played by Eamon Pereyra,
is delightful, very emotionally demonstrative. Rocco, the
jailkeeper with a sense of ethics, is well rendered by Chris
Besch. His diction matches the quality of his voice, a rarity
with opera singers. Eric Mckeever’s beautiful baritone and
proud stance as the conniving Pizzaro are also memorable.
and dancers add power and texture to the narrative. The music
and movement are breathtaking at times, thanks to the plethora
of creative talents gathered together by the Skylight team.
Quite an introduction to the new artistic director.
runs through Oct. 6 in the Cabot Theatre at the Broadway
Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. For show times and
tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit