The Cave: A Folk Opera

daughters of elysium · Ages 21+ · world premiere · United States

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DAVID WILK certified reviewer June 24, 2014
Melanie Thomas is a gifted composer, driven to write 90 full minutes of lyrics and music for this project - the kind of work that takes more "mature" artists a decade to complete and she's done it at 22! We should all pay attention to what's next for this phenom! And in the meantime, if you've not dragged your sorry butt out to see The Cave, what are you waiting for? Get thee to an opium den. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 poppies. ... full review
ABBY ROSEBROCK uncertified reviewer June 10, 2014
Bianca Gisselle has a captivating voice and sang Melanie Rose Thomas' haunting melodies flawlessly from start to finish! We also really enjoyed Katherine Bottoms' intriguing and grounded performance as Leila - always cool to see a sort of femme fatale played with depth and precision. ... full review
CAROL NACE certified reviewer June 11, 2014
This was a fantastic show and I would recommend it to everyone. Note: it is a folk opera and all in song. The voices were great! The group had nice costumes and a 2 piece band who were also costumed. The venue was even miked well. The started a little late but the show did end at its scheduled time. This is important if you want to see multiple shows. Another item to note; this is at a showroom at a bar. Thus, they required ID so I am not sure what age you need to be to attend. May be 21. I am not someone who likes everything. Some of my reviews of other shows are not glowing at all. This was an original show with original music and should be patronized. Read the synopsis before you go so you can follow the story. Y... full review
ROBERT BERG uncertified reviewer June 11, 2014
tagged as: magical · mythological · Lyrical · sexy
I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and quality of the music and lyrics by Melanie Rose Thomas. Outstanding performances by the leads, Bianca Gisselle and William Max Schneidermann, whose voices blend beautifully together. Though there were some rough patches, I could see beyond the no-budget production and visualize it on the Broadway stage. It's that good! It's not hard to imagine the orchestration and sets and extended dance segments. This show is going places! Kudos to the director, Ariana Howell, who kept it simple and heartfelt. It's an archetypal story of a devoted daughter trying to rescue her father from the depths of addiction, but only to lose her own soul as the price. By the way, it's billed as a "folk opera... full review
ASHLEY STEED certified reviewer June 15, 2014
If you love or appreciate lyrical folk music you will not be disappointed in Melanie Rose Thomas’s hauntingly beautiful folk opera. Inspired by Beauty and the Beast and the Persephone myth, the opera depicts the trials of a daughter who signs over her soul to save her opium-addict father. Once you enter The Cave, there’s no going back to the outside world. Bianca Gisselle who plays our protagonist Willow has one of the most beautiful, sultry and dynamic voices. Her leading man The Master (William Max Schneidermann) equally has a beautiful and powerful voice. The ensemble and two-man band do well for creating the dank and dark atmosphere. Although the story wanes about two-thirds of the way through, the music is so intoxicating that it kee... full review
ENRIQUE ACOSTA certified reviewer June 16, 2014
tagged as: captivating · unique · opera · folk
Finally, something both unique and good comes unto the musical landscape. A mesmerizing evening of music an poetry. Though, slightly imperfect. A small problem with the script where our heroine falling in love with the master never really makes sense. It just happens about 2/3rds through the show that Willow falls in love with her captor after being told she'll be a sex slave and watching him brand another captive. A spirit appears from no where and tells her to (paraphrasing) "Give him love and he will change." I'm not sure if she has Stockholm syndrome or she's just really into the whole Master/slave dynamic. But putting that aside it is some of the best music and performing I've seen in a modern opera. They seemed to go out of the... full review
DAVID HAVERTY uncertified reviewer June 16, 2014
tagged as: enchanting · mesmerizing
This show is simply mesmerizing. From the moment Bianca (Willow) opens her mouth she captivates the room with her voice. The music and sound was spot on. The music direction was so well done that it seemed as though the group had a universal technique they were all using which really allowed you to sink in to the music and style of the piece. I did feel the story was a little weak with the resolution in the end but I feel that can be easily worked on after this great run. Phantom of the opera has been told and I have higher hopes for this show and for the story of Willow to rise above this struggle instead of becoming another victim to the monster. Otherwise I'm in love with this show and can't wait to it again! ... full review
TONY FRANKEL certified reviewer June 20, 2014
CAVE-IN The press release refers to The Cave as being inspired by Beauty and the Beast and Persephone. In Greek mythology, Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the Underworld. But this Fringe entry takes place not in Hell but an imagined abode of souls who have departed life as we know it: The Cave. The residents are actually alive in this sort of portal to the Underworld, which can best be described as a high-class opium den circa The Wild, Wild West from which you can check out but you can never leave. In Beauty and the Beast fashion, a girl named Willow enters this strange world of no escape to trade herself for the release of her opium-addicted father. Soon, The Master offers Willow pomegranate seeds (whatever that mea... full review
CORWIN EVANS certified reviewer June 20, 2014
The Cave seems entirely at home in the back room of Three Clubs. Known for regular burlesque nights and a cultivated Byronic ambience (and clientele), the choice to stage a moody tone poem such as this felt effective. Certainly, the show as a whole is an excellent port of embarkation from which to sail the stormy seas of further development towards clarity and specificity. As is, the production - swimming in reverb - suffers from a conspicuous lack of credited sound design, choosing to area-mic performers who perform nearly sotto voce. The effect is a dreamlike altered state which, while effective to the overall style of the piece, results in an opioid haze that obscures a curious lack of palpable danger. Well-scored with Weltschmerz, melanc... full review
MICHAEL GORDON SHAPIRO certified reviewer June 22, 2014
There's tremendous talent in both the material and performance of this show, even if it doesn't jell as a story. The songwriting (probably a more accurate term despite the operatic approach) is often evocative and mesmerizing, and Bianca Gisselle's voice grabs you from the get-go. The show's atmosphere, utterly committed cast, and ambitious scope IMO make it worth the price of admission. That said, the relationship of music to story is often tenuous, and it's difficult to interpret what's happening onstage or discern the rules of the world in which the story takes place. There are a few powerful moments that give you a sense of what this production could be, and hopefully will be after some critical attention to book and lyrics.... full review