Pittsburgh Opera Staging ‘AfterWARds — Mozart’s Idomeneo Reimagined’; ‘Friends! The Musical Parody’ at Byham (Tues., 1/29/19)
1) Pittsburgh Opera premieres a streamlined version of an old epic with AfterWARds — Mozart’s Idomeneo Reimagined. First staged in 1781, Idomeneo was a major success for Mozart, richly displaying his musical brilliance. But it has become a problem child in the opera world. The libretto (by Giambattista Varesco) is long and clunky, and even with cuts that Mozart himself made, a full production can run about four hours. So Brooklyn-based opera director David Paul has done a “director’s cut” that hones the rambling saga down to an 80-minute psychodrama. Paul’s AfterWARds focuses on the passions and conflicts among the story’s four key characters, keeping all of Mozart’s music for the portions used.
The situation: Idomeneo, king of Crete, returns victorious from the bloody Trojan War—only to find, unhappily, that his son has rescued and loves a Trojan princess. Ominously nearby is Electra, the star-crossed woman of Greek mythology, who wants the young man for her own. Performing AfterWARds for Pittsburgh Opera are tenor Terrence Chin-Loy, mezzo-soprano Antonia Botti-Lodovico (in a trousers role as Idamante, the king’s son), and sopranos Ashley Fabian and Caitlin Gotimer. In Italian with English supertitles at the CAPA Theater. 7 p.m. Pre-opera talk this evening. Performances continue through February 3. 111 9th St., Cultural District. (MV)
2) Writing a stage musical that’s a parody of a TV sitcom may sound like a risky proposition. The audience is limited to those who know the TV series, and if the series itself is comical, why poke fun at something that’s already funny? But none of that seems to be a problem with Friends! The Musical Parody. NBC’s “Friends” had (and still has) a huge following. Besides, the ten-year (1994-2004) series became iconic, for reasons such as how it captured the zeitgeist of young adults making lives for themselves, together, in the big city—and when anything’s iconic, it begs to be parodied. Friends! The Musical Parody premiered off-Broadway in 2017. Now there’s a touring production, which makes a one-night stand in Pittsburgh. The show reportedly does a nice job of spoofing while also honoring the TV series. Scripted by the veteran parody duo Bob and Tobly McSmith, with songs like “495 Grove Street” by composer Assaf Gleizner, the musical plays here as part of the Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents Series. 8 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District. (MV)