Keith Clark and Angela Meade | photo by Dwight Caswell
“Maria Stuarda,” inspired by the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, veers away from actual historical events. It fashions a power play between Mary and Queen Elizabeth due to their rivalry over the Earl of Leicester, and the two queens meet, which in life, they didn’t. But this is opera, and the meeting, as sung by Meade and Deshorties (Queen Elizabeth) scorched everything in sight.
|Alexandra Deshorties | photo by Dwight Caswell|
|Deshorties and Meade | photo by Dwight Caswell|
|Deshorites and Aaron Blake | photo by Dwight Caswell|
The orchestra sounded a little ragged at the outset with the exception of David Hattner’s plaintive clarinet solo, but the ensemble caught fire after the soloists appeared and played with more consistency. The chorus sounded a little tentative at time, but they had to sing from a raised platform in the back of the stage only had a few numbers to contribute.
|Clark, Meade, and Richard Zeller | photo by Dwight Caswell|
Fortunately, the singing up to that point was so stellar that the audience erupted into cheers and bravos, which went on for quite a while with several curtain calls for the soloists. The Astoria Music Festival and Keith Clark can be rightly proud of putting together a barnburner for its grand finale.
PS: I've been informed that the final cut was not as major as I had thought, So I removed the word "major" from that sentence, which now reads "There was a cut that seemed...."