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Aesopera

musicals and operas · southern california lyric theater · Ages 12+ · family friendly · world premiere · United States

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Review by ERNEST KEARNEY

June 29, 2013 workingauthor.com

My overall impression

Silly me. Here I went into “Ǽsopera” expecting a wild and wacky parody of an opera, and what I got, well was opera.
Five tales by Aesop the ancient Greek fabulist are presented here as operettas.
Some like “The Frogs Who Desired a King” are delivered as the fables themselves. Others like “The Dog and its Reflection” seem to have been adapted with the intention of posing a more modern moral to the audience.
Composer & librettist Jonathan Price in partnership with librettists Jeff Goode and Jan Michael Alejandro have done solid work in presenting pieces that are both entertaining and assessable to even an “Opera-lite” audience (of which I count myself)
Directors Kirk Arnold-Smith and Alison Eliel Kalmus serve the evening splendidly as does musical director Leonardo Sciolis.
But in opera it always comes down to the voices. Blanche Ramirez, Victoria Graves and Miguel Vargas all display the training and the pipes the evening calls for. Kaylie Ann Warfield shines as Athena in the “Frogs and the Crane” based on “The Frogs Who Desired a King” or “The Frogs Who Asked for Queen” depending on your source. Kyle Hester provides some great laughs and shows an astute sense of comic timing, while Jeffrey Stackhouse walks away with the Golden Warbler Award for the evening.
A truly delightful show for both the connoisseurs of the art and “Opera-lite” shleps like yours truly.

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