TOSCA

 The crowd — diverse in both age and ethnicity — seemed riveted by what proved to be a vocally and theatrically strong performance. 

The cast wore modern dress, but the director, Raymond Zilberberg, didn’t impose any particular concept,

using minimalist touches to indicate settings like the church. He used the built-in amenities of the space

wisely.

Mr. Zilberberg offered a morbidly dramatic ending well suited to the unusual space.

             - Vivien Schweitzer (New York Times) 

INTO THE WOODS

No matter how many times audiences have visited the titular setting in Stephen Sondheim's INTO THE WOODS, it's likely they've never seen the woods quite like in Charlottesville Opera's clever and masterful production. - Raymond Zilberberg's conceptual take on INTO THE WOODS is garden-fresh and brings the Narrator's story full circle. He brilliantly sets the story in a library, a place where fairytales are prone to come to life. The Narrator (Patrick Jacobs) is the library janitor. "Milky White" is fabricated from a book cart. The woods grow into the bookshelves, and from the ceiling of the library, once it becomes overrun with memorable characters like Cinderella (Leah Edwards), Little Red Riding Hood (Deborah Grausman), The Baker (Adam Alexander) and his Wife (Sharin Apostolou), and Jack (Brian Gleber) and the giant beanstalk. During the lengthy opening number, audiences may ask themselves where the creative direction is heading. The production, its setting and all the surprises ahead raise the celebrated absurdity of the story to another level-and it truly delivers. 

-Jeremy Bustin (Broadway World)

TOSCA

the bravura energy of this raw, brutal “Tosca” was something to behold.

Even if you lost the sensation of voices conquering a large auditorium, you still registered their inborn force. There was no need for the performers to turn toward the crowd: they sang and acted face to face. This visceral realism was most telling during Scarpia’s attempted rape of Tosca: the writhing bodies were as difficult to watch as on some grim cable-TV drama.

             - Alex Ross (The New Yorker) 

             - Matteo Berton (Cartoon)

TOSCA

 this “Tosca” was stripped to its dra­matic, in­ter­per­sonal es­sence. Ray­mond Zil­ber­berg’s di­rec­tion kept things nat­u­ral­is­tic and un­af­fected, es­chew­ing un­nec­es­sary move­ment, so the shock­ing mo­ments landed as they were in­tended to, and the in­dus­trial set­ting (with com­men­su-rate light­ing by Joan Racho-Jansen) com­ple­mented the sto­ry’s bru­tal­ity.

             - Heidi Waleston (Wall Street Journal)  

TOSCA

 this “Tosca” was stripped to its dra­matic, in­ter­per­sonal es­sence. Ray­mond Zil­ber­berg’s di­rec­tion kept things nat­u­ral­is­tic and un­af­fected, es­chew­ing un­nec­es­sary move­ment, so the shock­ing mo­ments landed as they were in­tended to, and the in­dus­trial set­ting (with com­men­su-rate light­ing by Joan Racho-Jansen) com­ple­mented the sto­ry’s bru­tal­ity.

             - Heidi Waleston (Wall Street Journal)  

MORE REVIEWS OF TOSCA

 Scarpia's lust for Tosca manifesting itself as he assaulted her not once, twice, but thrice attempting sexual congress on the dinner table. Ms. Calenos sang "Vissi d'arte" standing on the table, a pristine figure like the Madonna that Tosca venerates. The denouement of the act followed with power and shocking swiftness.

The production by Raymond Zilberberg gleefully ignored traditions that can sink this opera, choosing a smart and contemporary setting. 

             - Paul J. Penkonen (Super Conductor)  

 

 

Overall, Raymond Zilberberg’s direction took us to a place somewhere between the neorealism of Rossellini (Tosca reminded me of Anna Magnani in Roma Città Aperta, particularly in the finale) and Tarantino’s splatter-noir (replete with blood, guns and gangsters).

 

                      - Allegri Con Fuoco.com 

 

Stripped bare, Zilberberg’s sensitivity allowed the music and text to speak for itself—a breath of fresh air in a climate of over-produced, over-conceptualized, and over-curated performing arts.

                      - Patrick Clement James (Parterre.com)