LIVE: The Sorcerer @ Valley Light Opera, Amherst [GailSez]

November 10th, 2011, 2:00 pm by Sara

Heather Davies as JANE Wellington Wells in Valley Light Opera's gender-bending production of Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Sorcerer."  (photo: Rick Roy)

Heather Davies as JANE Wellington Wells in Valley Light Opera's gender-bending production of Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Sorcerer." (photo: Rick Roy)

Forgive me, gentle readers, for it is impossible for me to be objective about the work of William S. Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1844-1900). I try to see the Savoy operas through the eyes of a virgin, to pretend I do not know every note and every lyric, but it is no use. I am way to close to this particular forest to see the trees. And that’s why I just love the Valley Light Opera and drive all the way over from Williamstown to Amherst (inevitably right after daylight savings time has ended) to see their productions. They have presented all fourteen Gilbert & Sullivan operettas – including the one that has no score. Now that’s MY kind of people!

This year’s offering is The Sorcerer, the duo’s problematic third collaboration. Like all the other wildly successful and oft-produced operettas that came after it, The Sorcerer is tuneful and funny, but the humor is solidly British and Victorian, so it is almost inscrutable to a modern American audience. If a director approaches it as a purist, s/he is doomed flame out and perish like the title character in the final scene.

Now there is no such thing as a bad production of The Sorcerer simply because it is done so seldom that any glimpse is a welcome treat for true Savoyards – I haven’t encountered it since I directed it myself in 1984 – but if I were going to quibble with Chris Rohmann’s fine production I would fault it for being a little too by the book, but then I am NOT a purist. Purists – and there are those who consider any deviation from Gilbert’s original promptbooks to be sacrilege – should be warned that Rohmann has cast a woman, the charming and talented Heather Davies, in the title role, who is now Jane (rather than John) Wellington Wells. (Quick! Get the smelling salts!)

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Live: Bob Dylan @ the Mullins Center, 11/19/10

December 8th, 2010, 5:30 pm by Greg

Bob Dylan

With no opening act, a stark stage and the usual, self-deprecating introduction from his announcer, Bob Dylan at 69 years old, played 16 songs for an appreciative audience at the Mullins Center, UMass at Amherst on a chilly Friday night in the middle of November.

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Phish Bypasses Albany on Fall Tour

August 26th, 2010, 11:01 am by Greg



Sorry, Phish fans. It looks like Trey Anastasio and the boys won’t be landing in Albany on their upcoming fall tour. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that you won’t have far to travel to catch up with them. The tour – which kicks off in Colorado on Sunday, October 10 and concludes with a Halloween extravaganza in Atlantic City three weeks later – will be making stops nearby at Utica Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday, October 20 and at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. on Thursday and Friday, October 23-24.

Holly & EvanThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!Capital District Habitat For HumanityCapital Repertory Theater