Love music, love theater, love a musician? The Avalon Theater and annual New Year’s Eve performance by High Desert Opera is the place for you to be on New Year’s Eve.
The cast of “I Do! I Do!” was made up of two, the pit orchestra limited to 12, add one conductor and one choreographer. So, what if you are a musician on winter break from, say, The Grand Junction Symphony, Colorado Mesa University, Sweet Adelines or Bookcliff Barbershop Chorus? Coveys of other local musical groups, including regular chorus and cast members of High Desert Opera, were dispersed liberally through the audience.
Extraneous conductors, concert masters and music teachers were out in abundance; supporting the arts, hobnobbing with fellow musicians and music teachers, chatting at intermission, or sitting in reserved seats with spouses for a relaxed night off. The happy outcome of a musician saturated audience is that rich harmony emanates from auditorium and well as stage during the benedictive singing of Auld Lang Syne.
High Desert Opera is observing its ten year anniversary performing for light opera lovers of Grand Junction and surrounding area. The anniversary celebration began on the eve of 2013. It is becoming quite a tradition for more and more event goers; this attending of an opera for three hours each New Year’s Eve before ringing in the New Year.
James Werner as Michel Snow, turned in the expected polished, professional performance of a veteran High Desert Opera founder; seemingly falling out of character only once when encountering a near prop malfunction. Speaking of props and sets, they were superb and innovative. Little was lacking in the way of dramatic presentation and timing.
It was not a marriage made in heaven for the treble voices. A grating lack of blend and some pitch discrepancy was apparent between the violins and Ms. Sessum. But then, perhaps relational dissonance was the point of composer Harvey Schmidt. If so, Harvey Schmidt it is, who shall be thought gender prejudiced for pairing high strings with wife and the more mellow tones of low brass with husband.
For baby-boomers, a highlight of the musical was the duet singing and reprise of the well known favorite, “My Cup Runneth Over with Love” made popular by Ed Ames in 1967.
The High Desert Opera pit orchestra was conducted by Scott Betts, middle-school music teacher, GJSO and Rockestra musician, tango aficionado, and current President of High Desert Opera’s Board of Directors.