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April 13, 2006 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-04-13

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Arts & Entertainment

Left to right: Renderings of costumes for the roles of Aida,

Radames and Amneris designed by Allen Charles Klein

rKOit



And

Designer Alien Klein

created the sets
for Aida, Michigan
Opera Theatre's
spring opener.

Bill Carroll

Special to the Jewish News

M

ichigan Opera Theatre
has been billing 2005-
2006 as the season of
the "Desperate Divas.".Last fall, it
offered productions of Norma and
La Boheme (the tragic Mimi); a
new trio of divas take the stage.
at the Detroit Opera House this
spring: Aida, Cinderella and Salome.
Giuseppe Verdi's Aida opens
Saturday, April 22, and runs
through April 30, launching a
monthlong celebration in which
MOT will commemorate both its
35th anniversary and the 10th
anniversary of the opera house.
The spring season continues with
Gioacchino Rossini's Cinderella,
May 13-20, and Richard Strauss'
Salome, June 3-10.
Aida, which had its world pre-
miere in Cairo, Egypt, in 1871, is

one of 25 operas written by Verdi,
who has been hailed as the greatest
Italian musical dramatist. "Aida
is known for being grand opera
on a very grand scale said MOT
General Director David DiChiera.
"Our production is pretty large
and lavish with over-the-top sets
and costumes. We have a number
of supernumeraries (extras) and
30 singers from the Rackham
Symphony Choir whom we've
added to the MOT Chorus."
This new production was co-
commissioned by four opera
companies: MOT, Florentine Opera
(Milwaukee), Florida Grand Opera
and Opera Carolina. It features
stunning sets and hundreds of
costumes by Jewish designer Allen
Charles Klein, who has dedicated
his career solely to design for the

operatic stage.

Complicated Process

Klein, one of the world's most
sought-after scenic artists, calls
Aida "the largest and most expen-
sive production" he has been
involved with in his 42-year career.
"I've been working on this Aida
production for two years; it's a long
and complicated process because
it has to be performed on four dif-
ferent stages',' he says. "I like to call
Aida the biggest intimate opera
ever done — a huge oratorio with
a built-in drama about three main
characters."
Set in Egypt at the time of the
pharaohs, the opera is the tale of an
Ethiopian princess (Aida) enslaved
by the king of Egypt and in love

Grand And Lavish on page 48

April 13 a 2006

45

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