We are glad that we could enlighten Mr. Woods and rewrite his review. While his initial column stated that the orchestra "sounded conspicuously thinner than last year’s ensemble", he now realizes that it is the SCORE and not the orchestra that is thinner. As in medicine, the difference in diagnosing a problem makes all the difference is assigning the proper therapy. More importantly, I would genuinely like to hear Mr. Woods opinion on my previous question: Should a Savoyard theater company modify perceived musical and thematic weakness of an operetta or simply drop it from the canon?
Mr. Woods identifies some excellent food for thought in his review of "Princess Ida". The thematic content of Princess can be interpreted as outdated by some, such as Mr. Woods. Others put it into the context of the time in which it was written, as most who attend a Shakespeare or a classic Greek play would do. The Durham Savoyards pride them selves in producing over time the entire canon of Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas. It had been 20 years since their most recent Princess Ida production; only "Trial By Jury" has had a longer hiatus of 21 years. I would ask Mr. Woods' opinion of whether a G&S company should continue to produce one of the canon that may seem thematically outdated to some, modify it from the original so it is more up to date, or simply drop it from the canon?
The Durham community hopes that Mr woods takes our criticism of his review as an opportunity to improve his skill so we all will benefit. One PhD musicologist discussed with me after this performance that the thin score of Princess Ida was uncharacteristic of Sir Sullivan, but that modifying it would not be true to the composer's intent. Mr. Woods' knowledge of music and musicology could be well served from accepting identification of his weak points instead of shooting the messenger. He could help us all by directing his energy at learning about productions before instead of after he reviews them.
Lisa did a great job reviewing the latest original food offering in food-rich Durham. We are truly blessed to have such fantastic one-of -a-kind eateries. One of my favorite offerings at BCBB is the fabulous Boylan's soft drink fountain. They have the most flavorful sodas that are corn-syrup free! This place is bound to be a hit for many years to come.
The Durham community is grateful for reviewers providing one person's assessment of various productions. Byron Woods attended the Durham Savoyards' PREVIEW (dress rehearsal) of this year's production, Princess Ida. He found that previews are just that; a time to refine issues with lighting, sound, timing and balance between stage and orchestra, etc. In that same light, Mr. Woods was kind enough to share an early draft of his review with the whole community before he had time to check for accuracy. After checking with a colleague knowledgeable about music, I am sure he would have discovered that the "thinner" musical score was exactly as written by Sir Arthur Sullivan and performed by the same Savoyard musicians as last year, which he lauded, only with some addition. In fact, many of the musicians are also veterans of the Long Leaf Opera orchestra, which he also apparently lauded. Woods might also be enlightened to know that Sullivan had frequent battles with his producers over providing a fuller orchestra for his comic operas. We hope that next year Mr. Woods will attend an actual performance of Iolanthe.
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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