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Larry Littany Litt


An adventure into Bronx culture:
The Bronx Opera Company

Il Signor Bruschino
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Words by Giuseppe Maria Foppa
Conducted by MIchael Spierman
English translation by Spierman
Gianni Schicchi
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Words by Giovacchino Forzano
Conducted by Eric Kramer
English translation by Spencer Benedict
Presented by The Bronx Opera Company
At Lovinger Theatre, Lehman College
Reviewed Feb 4, 2024 by Larry Littany Litt
On a sunny February day we started on an adventure into Bronx culture. The Bronx Opera Company was presenting two of the most famous comic operas that I had long wanted to see and hear.
So after an hour and a half subway ride to Lehman College we landed at Lovinger Theatre, a well appointed modern performance facility with many bathrooms and comfortable seats. I settled in and awaited the overture.
A twenty seven musician orchestra was tuning in the pit. As soon as the lights dimmed to almost dark Michael Spierman the conductor came to the podium. A musical silence fell over the audience. Time to stop talking, opening wrapped lozenges, listen to the music.
First of the two operas "Il Signor Bruschino" opened in an upscale 1970s California ranch house looking set. The young lovers enter and declare their true emotions. Soprano Claire Skotzko brilliantly plays Sofia, an ingenue of great power who rules over her lover man Florville played by tenor Matthew Youngblood.
The plot revolves around young Florville thinking he can win Sofia's hand in marriage if he can be known as a Bruschino family member. Naturally as always happens in comic opera the real Bruschino’s father appears and rejects him. Ah opera plots. No where else can a father not know his own son in order to teach him a lesson in life and love. Hilarious twists and turns abound. All with dynamic singing and music.
One of the keys to enjoying this production is that it is in English translated by Benjamin Speirman, who is also the stage director. For those who can't keep up with the sung words there is a subtitle super above the stage. Very easy to read. Spierman made this production go right where it's intended. To the hearts of all the opera fans, new and seasoned, in the audience.
This review is more about the Bronx Opera and its virtues. It’s worth getting on their mailing list so you can discover real opera without spending a months salary on tickets.  


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