It really sounds like from the sublime to the ridiculous, doesn’t it? Actually it was two interesting and engaging works each beautifully performed. The Atlanta Opera has really taken a step forward with their recent Tosca. It was beautifully directed by their new general manager Tomer Zvulun, who had directed some of their most visually interesting past shows, and who did not feel called upon to make a 10-minute curtain speech beforehand.

The voices were wonderful. Soprano Kara Shay surely knew how many famous singers had sung the role before her with skill and artistry, but she filled the big shoes and the house. Her Visi d’arte was one of the best I’ve ever heard. Her tenor was Massimiliano Pisapia, and his Mario was equal in every way. It was a joy to hear. The baritone, Luis Ledesma was a beautiful singer, but his voice seemed a bit small in comparison to the other two stars, and he was much too attractive to be Scarpia. Musically it was a satisfying evening, and with all the other aspects of the production equally satisfying, it really was opera. I hope that a lot of first time opera goers saw it.

Lots of times, when I ask people what the first opera they ever saw was, I am astonished that they ever agreed to go to another.  La Forza del Destino is not a good choice for a first opera. I know that often a newbie is given tickets to something that someone else doesn’t want to go to. Maybe it’s five hours long, or as often happened to me when I was a teenager, it’s the modern piece on the Met tour. This Tosca would have alerted any musical person that opera can be a really good show.

So that was my Tuesday evening, and Saturday was at Fabrefaction Theater’s Urinetown. I do understand that the title is supposed to appeal to the young and the hip, neither of which am I. I get that. The problem is that this show is thoughtful, though-provoking, socially conscious, very entertaining, very funny, has wonderful music, and undoes stereotypes. Though I had not made an effort to know the show (icky title) it truly was something I would like to have seen, and liked when I did see it. It is in an edgy modern style, that I have to see in a really well-directed production in order to “get it”. I am the person who didn’t think Rosenkranz and Guildenstern Are Dead was funny until the Shakespeare Tavern folks took it on. Even the movie didn’t communicate with me, famous actors and all.

The Fabrefaction’s show (yes, I’m avoiding saying the title) was incredibly well directed by Heidi and Jeff McKerley, and it was a treat. There was not a weak performance anywhere in the show (just like in the Tosca). They danced well, sang well, said their lines so that I could understand them, had an interesting set (also like the Tosca), and did everything right at the same time. My husband and I were delighted by theater that works – twice in one week.