As Fort Worth Opera continues to celebrate 75 years of great operatic moments on the stage here in Fort Worth, we look back at director Chuck Hudson’s dazzling, 1950s Hollywood-inspired ‘Don Pasquale’ from 2018 [that] had audiences rolling in the aisles.
A Trip to Old Hollywood (And Some Great Voices) in Don Pasquale Pittsburgh Opera’s new production of Don Pasquale [goes] beyond opera-lovers-only territory and turns it into something that demands wider attention…There are a thousand brilliant touches to the staging…For film lovers (particularly of a TCM bent), it’s a treat; for anyone, however, it gives plenty of rich, entertaining context to the comic opera, a smart move to contemporize a centuries-old tale…This show is a delight, regardless of your affinity for opera or knowledge of the material… it’s a production that should draw you in out of curiosity and convert you into a fan by the end of the evening.
This version of Don Pasquale must be associated with its Director’s name, Chuck Hudson. It is distinctively his as well as Donizetti’s and Ruffini’s…Director Hudson’s staging includes added physical humor, sight gags, and amusing early-style Hollywood-film clips…The classical production of the opera is amusing, but Mr. Hudson’s is laugh-out-loud funny in quite a few places…How Director Hudson managed to have all these comedic players and effects and still keep pace with the score, I do not know, but it works, and it makes for a very entertaining evening…In truth, I started watching the performance with some concerns whether the comedy would be funny and whether I would like what Pittsburgh Opera had done to a Donizetti classic with updated trappings, but also in truth, I must admit that I left with a happy smile on my face, only regretting that I could not remain in Pittsburgh to see another performance. There is so much packed into this production, it might be even funnier the second time.
For the final work of its 80th season, Pittsburgh Opera is presenting Chuck Hudson’s novel “Hollywood” spin on Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, and its first performance last night delighted a surprisingly slim audience at the Benedum in an evening of song and comedy that seemed to end as quickly as it began…in a manner which is thoroughly entertaining in all particulars…Words and still photography can’t sufficiently describe how effectively such touches as keeping Pasquale in “black and white” –against an increasingly Technicolor background –work, or how cleverly the silent movie asides, sight gags and other bits of fun make Donizetti’s score shine even more brightly than it already does…This final production of Pittsburgh Opera’s current season is also one of its best, and hopefully the remaining performances will draw fuller houses. This reviewer has every intention of seeing it again simply to enjoy another evening (maybe two) of tunefully fun entertainment before the long wait for next season begins.
Directed by Chuck Hudson…this version of Don Pasquale is quality work, a genuinely funny bit of opera and fine way to close the Pittsburgh Opera season.
The classic comedic opera gets a fresh ’50s backdrop for the first production of its kind held in Pittsburgh. This will be director Chuck Hudson’s ninth run of “Don Pasquale,” an opera with a flair for wit and a touch of drama.
Pittsburgh Opera is giving Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera “Don Pasquale” a fresh new lease on life with a premier production set in glamorous 1930s Hollywood.
…Don Pasquale will leave audiences laughing uncontrollably from start to finish, all amongst a beautiful array of arias and sets so splendid it will truly leave audiences wanting more.
This production is a Hollywood retrospective with a focus on The Silent Film Era and the Golden Years of the 1950s.
In celebration of the new year, let’s take a look at the operas OperaWire believes are not be missed in North America in 2019. 10. Don Pasquale – Pittsburgh Opera. Lisette Oropesa, who has dominated the European stage throughout the past year will make one appearance in the U.S. stage during the 2018-19 season. This alone makes this production a must-see. In this revival production, Oropesa will be joined by Kevin Glavin, Joshua Hopkins, and Javier Abreu. Performance Dates: April 27-May 5, 2019
The 5 best classical concerts in April: Pittsburgh Opera presents “Don Pasquale,” set in 1950s Hollywood.
Hudson’s dramatic values were clean and amazingly physical. Amneris is not afraid to slap people around, and Aida’s reminiscence of her homeland’s beauty is surprisingly sensual…We would not underestimate the immensity of undertaking this opera’s regional company premiere in Southwest Florida, and Opera Naples and its artistic director Ramòn Tebar deserve congratulations for bringing it.
Top 5 Operas To See This Weekend – North America (11/30-12/2): San Jose Opera’s PAGILACCI.
Leoncavallo Meets Hitchcock: Stage director Chuck Hudson and a strongly theatrical cast have come up with a Pagliacci for the ages, downright Hitchcockian in its ability to deliver the layers of tension in Leoncavallo’s work. It’s a stunning, suspenseful night at the opera…Into this maelstrom comes – almost unexpectedly – some excellent commedia dell’arte…Canio kills his wife with a Psycho-style overhead stabbing, then turns to pierce Silvio in mid-air. Finally, Canio is killed by a constabulary’s gunshot and falls roughly to the floor. (This may be the only opera cast that needs its own personal trainer.) It’s all very riveting.
Showcasing its high-tension drama, Pagliacci stands alone marvelously at Opera San José: Jammed with lust, betrayal, jealousy and violence, there’s a thrilling and high-tension drama at play to make an all up 90-minute evening that includes a 25-minute interval feel like it gives more than enough punch. Given so much passion and commitment to quality as it has, Opera San José showcased the work marvelously…Chuck Hudson’s direction is loaded with vibrancy and ardour.
TheaterJones TOP 10 of 2018! Fort Worth Opera’s 1950s Hollywood-inspired production of ‘Don Pasquale’ was one of Gregory Sullivan Isaacs favorite music and opera events of the year. Congrats to director Chuck Hudson and the entire cast and crew of this riotous romp!
Laughing All the Way The Fort Worth Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale is filled with goofball good times, and great singing. This is a riotous laugh-a-minute production, originally designed for the Arizona Opera, that is set in the Golden Age of Hollywood but most of the comic bits come straight out of Vaudeville. Chuck Hudson’s rapid-fire direction makes them happen in such a machine-gun manner that the audience supplied a constant laugh track worthy of the silliest 50’s sitcoms. But even the corniest bits worked as though we had never seen them — at least, not recently…this is an excellent and completely entertaining updating…This production and its cornball shenanigans are a lot of fun—with some great singing tossed in for good measure.
Fabulous singing and full of laughs, Don Pasquale entertains in 50s Hollywood style at Fort Worth Opera. The comic madness that accompanies Donizetti’s effervescent score in his 1843 premiered Don Pasquale comes with a jolly good 1950s Hollywood update from director Chuck Hudson in a production from Arizona Opera that was first seen in 2014…Hudson’s concept imaginatively incorporates the black and white celluloid world of the silent film era to identify Don Pasquale as “The Sovereign of the Silver Screen”. When the vibrant overture began, Hudson gave his audience black and white movie magic with Don Pasquale starring in the title role of his most celebrated film, “The Sheik of Arabia”, a hoot of a start using old footage and fake superimposed characters. More of those celluloid divertissements popped up later and kept up the fun act.
There’s nothing small about Fort Worth Opera’s silver screen “Don Pasquale” Fort Worth Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, which opened Saturday night at Bass Performance Hall, channels the 1950 movie classic Sunset Boulevard for an unfailingly intriguing, often hilarious take on this masterpiece of comic opera. Director Chuck Hudson, known for his innovative approach to opera, created this version for Arizona Opera in 2014…the production neatly enhances and retells this predictable romance for 21st Century audiences. Soprano Audrey Luna, meanwhile, blazed and bounded through the role of Norina; Donizetti created Norina as a young woman with a bit more knowledge than the typical operatic ingenue, so presenting her as a Hollywood starlet was a superb concept. Luna first appears in a bubble bath (with cameras rolling), delivering the trills, high notes, and other vocal acrobatics of “So anch’io la virtù magica” with impressive skill and ease, all the while performing a reverse strip tease that would have done Gypsy Rose Lee proud.
Have you ever been to an opera and walked out humming the concept?…Donizetti wove beauty into his romantic arias and composed duets, trios and quartets with such enjoyable vocal presence that his music is never pushed aside by imaginative staging and concept established by Director, Chuck Hudson. Both ideas seemingly play well with each other, demonstrating that the many disciplines of the fine arts collaborate well with each other, and form a unique puzzle, with each individual piece providing purpose for the entire picture…I found that the overall vision was creative, and appealing. It would certainly be a fantastic introduction to anyone who has a “distaste” for opera.
Considering the work is opera buffa or commedia in musica and rooted in Italian comedic characters and tradition, I really appreciated the details and style of your update which honored the traditions of comedy. The concept of updating time and place is also characteristic of comedic practice in the 1500’s in Italy, so Bravo from your historically minded friend!
Opera buffa lovers are in for an uproarious treat in 2018, as visionary director Chuck Hudson joins forces with maestro Joe Illick for a sparkling, bubbly production of Donizetti’s bel canto romp, Don Pasquale. Audiences will be transported to the golden era of Hollywood in the 1950s, as Pasquale, an aging silent film star — sets off to resurrect his ailing career and find a wife and heir to his fortune…The laughs come fast and furious in Hudson’s ode to cinema, as Dr. Malatesta hatches a plot on behalf of Norina and Pasquale’s nephew Ernesto to bring them together and teach the Don a lesson. This classic 19th century comedy gets a glamorous, glitzy update, with sight gags galore and a riotous parade of pop culture icons, like Carmen Miranda, Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley, played to perfection by FWOpera’s brilliant chorus members.
This bubbly farce, helmed by visionary director Chuck Hudson, re-imagines the opera’s miserly aristocrat as an aging silent film star living out his days in Sunset Boulevard seclusion. We promise that you’ll be roaring with laughter, as you watch the rise and fall of a “legend” looking to resurrect his career in a cinematic world gone Technicolor.
Music holds its own in Minnesota Opera’s amazing staging of ‘Don Pasquale’: Have you ever been to an opera and walked out humming the concept?…Donizetti wove enough beauty into his romantic arias and suffused his duets, trios and quartets with such enjoyable vocal one-upmanship that his music is never pushed aside by a nevertheless quite imaginative staging…Director Chuck Hudson’s framework is that the rich, grumpy and aging Don Pasquale, who’s out to cut his nephew out of his inheritance and find love for himself, is a former silent film star consigned to “legend” status. It’s now the 1950s, and Hollywood’s gone Technicolor, leaving his career in the dust as he tries to revive it in one bad sci-fi flick after another. Much of this information is delivered in newsreel-style footage during the overture and between scenes. It’s a lot of fun — particularly trailers for the bad ‘50s films like “Tentacles 2” — that proves a novel way to use minutes normally spent in a darkened theater during scene changes.
‘Don Pasquale’ sparkles in Minnesota Opera’s Hollywood-inspired production… director Chuck Hudson’s staging had plenty of bang-for-buck impact…in Hudson’s clever reimagining of the action…Updating operas is a hazardous business. It can smack of condescension and trendyism. Not here. This “Don Pasquale” sparkled and remained true to the warm heart of Donizettian comedy.
[One of] many reasons to come see this innovative and delightful production!
Donizetti argued strongly – and successfully – that Don Pasquale would be at its funniest in a contemporary setting, rather than some faraway period in the past. Minnesota Opera’s staging of the work sets it in 1950s Hollywood, seizing on the themes of old guard vs. new guard. It has shades of The Artist and Sunset Boulevard, presenting Don Pasquale as a washed-up silent movie star adrift (and over his head) in the new world of filmmaking. In his director’s notes for Don Pasquale, Chuck Hudson recalled studying commedia del’arte with Marcel Marceau in Paris, as well as the work of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. “Their comic dignity represented the champagne of comedy,” he noted, “as opposed to the stylistic beer of slapstick or vaudeville. Marceau also drilled us in the details of his own comic masterpieces, working the specificity, style, and that elusive skill, comic timing.”
Re-imaginings of old operas sometimes work; many times, they don’t… The Minnesota Opera’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale witnessed on Social Media Preview Night needn’t worry about upsetting anyone’s moral convictions, however…this version pulls all the comedic stops in celebrating the opera buffa on which it is based…Do the operatic conventions based upon the stylized shenanigans of commedia dell’arte fit into the mores of Hollywood’s Golden Age? The answer: surprisingly well.
My first night at the opera: Don Pasquale. Magnificent from beginning to end this opera met me where I was. Despite being the novice among seasoned ticket holders this performance planted a seed of appreciation for opera and I am grateful.
The line between modern adaptations that work and those that don’t is drawn by whether the new setting compliments and heightens the characters’ motivations and relationships. This ingenious setting by Chuck Hudson does exactly that. We as a modern American audience do not easily relate to tensions between nobility and commoners or the inheritance politics that inspired the arranged marriages of Pasquale’s time. Still, the plot requires an eccentric patriarch with an old-world view being pitted against the young lovers who wish to defy convention and marry for love’s sake. This necessity inspired Chuck’s Don Pasquale to become not a titled, eccentric recluse, clinging to the bygone days of his successful black and white film career. Norina, the dishonorable young widow, then becomes an up-and-coming talking film actress. The “old” versus the “new” is brought to the forefront and the Hollywood vessel gives us immediate cultural access to the conflict that makes the show so hilarious.
In Hudson’s frothy-fun staging, we find ourselves in 1950s Hollywood… Did everything work? In a word, yes. The staging was clever, employing some novel tricks to get through scene changes by projecting old movie footage of Pasquale in his silent movie days, which engaged the audience in good-natured fun and helped set the mood of jollity that’s perfectly suited for this opera…this Minnesota Opera Don Pasquale was great all-around fun – a production with just the right amount of clever staging and slapstick humor even as it sacrificed nothing in the way of artistry and musicianship.
The 55th season of the Minnesota Opera Company has begun… with a program that seems inescapable, inevitable and completely enjoyable… If you want to explore the world of opera, and you’ve never done it, Don Pasquale is an excellent opportunity to do so. If you love the opera, do not miss this staging that is rich, dynamic and extremely fun.
The Buffoon and the Minx: When a non-opera fan goes to a production, it has to be so great that it overturns a lifetime of bad publicity and justifies the existence of the art form itself. Which is a lot of pressure. We don’t judge all movies by the most recent work of Nicolas Cage or all songs by Nickelback’s latest album so how dare we expect every operatic production to be brilliant? Yet we do. Luckily, MN Opera’s Don Pasquale is brilliant in every way you could imagine.…This production was incredibly inviting to the audience. The story was laid out clearly and made accessible to anyone regardless of their knowledge of operatic repertoire.
Don Pasquale launched Minnesota Opera’s 2017-2018 season on a high note of musicianship, design, execution and sheer entertainment that sets a high bar for the remainder of their season. Stage director Chuck Hudson’s imaginative conceptualization of the work and a quartet of exquisite vocalists in the lead roles made this an unforgettable night at the opera… Minnesota Opera’s production benefited from Hudson’s continued refinement of his concept…Perhaps the true moral is that this buffet of glorious voices, sterling musicianship, creative conceptualization and staging, and abundant good-hearted humor was a generous gift that only a fool as foolish as Don Pasquale would turn away.
Cenerentola served up with laughs and poignancy For a combination of poignant emotion and flat-out comedic brilliance, you can’t do much better than “La Cenerentola”… Thursday’s performance of the opera at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music — made such a vivid impression… it came through in the comic stylings of the rest of the cast, which served as a reminder that in Rossini’s world, laughter and teardrops can be closely, in fact inextricably, intermingled. The Merola production, directed by Chuck Hudson and conducted by Mark Morash, caught that duality with dexterous precision… and ensured that the villainy of Cenerentola’s family never got too extreme. Even in the depths of her despair, it was clear that the resolution of Cenerentola’s plight was never more than one magical intervention away.
Merolini Have a Ball With La Cenerentola Spilling out over three levels of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music main stage, the Merola Opera Program’s vigorous and brightly detailed production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola made its happy debut …San Francisco Opera’s stellar summer training program pulled out all the stops in three visually colorful, coloratura-crammed hours…Director Chuck Hudson exploited the broad contours of the Conservatory house to good advantage… The multiple entrances and some offstage shenanigans enlarged the action…A strobe-lit storm scene was a choreographic gem of wind-tossed figures all but carried away by their umbrellas… Merola’s rising stars aimed high, and to a gratifying degree, they hit the mark.
NO SEXAGENARIAN EVER LOOKED or sounded more youthful than the Merola Opera Program did when it produced Rossini’s La Cenerentola… [which] revealed the sixty-year-old program adhering to musical and theatrical standards that should be the envy of opera training regimens everywhere…A long stairway and a balcony festooned by cutout trees offered playing areas imaginatively used by director Chuck Hudson…with fleet assurance, as choristers romped on multiple levels and principals took on the task of changing the sets… The siblings’ destruction of Ramiro’s banquet suggested a scene out of a Luis Buñuel movie…
a midnight girl in a nine o’clock town Most importantly, the singing and acting were terrific… Ensembles were staged with imagination and a light touch, and the chorus contributed to the humor with zany ensemble moves as well as a beautifully executed umbrellas-in-the-wind bit during the second act storm music. The following sextet of confusion, “Questo è un nodo avviluppato,” used colorful twirling parasols that opened and closed in perfect time with the musical themes and entrances. It was delightful.
Rossini’s LA CENERENTOLA Shines in Merola Production… a musically cohesive, delightfully staged production …Director Chuck Hudson moved his singers continuously about the stage so there was hardly a dull moment… The famous storm scene in Act II was cleverly staged with characters carrying colorful umbrellas that threatened to carry off their holders with the sudden gusts of wind. Lighting Director Eric Watkins supplied dramatic lighting effects for this storm scene, which was a visual as well as orchestral highlight of this production.
What makes Merola performances fun is that there is no divide between the principals and the supporting cast [of LA CENERENTOLA]… Andrew Hiers as Don Magnifico hams it up to the max with an awe-inspiring fearlessness. As the power couple of the story, tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro (Romiro) and mezzo Samantha Hankey (Cindy) had a lovely chemistry, partially staged as awkward goofiness.
Modifying a production concept seen before at Arizona Opera, Chuck Hudson directed an admirably lively, if occasionally frenetic, Tudor-set show with plenty of comic detail… The audience rightly cheered the cast…at the end of a very enjoyable evening. -
Opera Saratoga season begins with a bang…To open its season, Opera Saratoga gave capacity crowds a sensational weekend…Verdi’s comic masterpiece “Falstaff” began with a bang. It was a rollicking, tightly paced, colorful production…Director [Chuck] Hudson’s terrific blockings for the often frantically paced action were natural and varied…The fantasy scene at the end was almost exotic.
A buoyant, funny “Falstaff” from Opera Saratoga: The summer season got off to a boisterous start on Saturday night with Opera Saratoga’s presentation of Verdi’s “Falstaff.”…a frantic scene in the second act was enough to almost make you forget that this was opera…Director Chuck Hudson keeps the stage picture lively and appealing.
Opera Saratoga has done itself jubilantly proud here: Mr. Hudson made each scene roll happily along… It was a stupendous tour de force, but so stage-worthy that one almost forgot that this was opera…it was damned good theater.
The Atlanta Opera smartly transforms Donizetti’s comedy classic “Don Pasquale”…Although this is Atlanta Opera’s first foray with the vocally challenging bel canto comedy, this production is hardly a traditional period approach. Instead of being set in the aristocratic social milieu of early 19th-century Rome, Italy, stage director Chuck Hudson and his creative crew have placed the story in 1950s Hollywood, the “golden age” of motion pictures…The chorus is ingeniously used in a party scene to portray iconic Hollywood figures from the 1950s. One of the questions that has to be asked when an opera is “modernized” in this manner is: does it add something of value? In this case, it does.
In New Atlanta Opera Production, Silence Really Is Golden. This production is the brainchild of director Chuck Hudson, a disciple of the great mime Marcel Marceau. Hudson cleverly pulls dramatic cues from the worlds of mime and silent film into the production – two art forms rarely (if ever) associated with the very vocal, very big world of opera.
What’s best about Hudson’s conception for the show is its consistency. Opera directors often seek to update or change the setting or time of a classic work, but many times, this only succeeds in patches…Here, the new concept is sustained across characters, settings and acts…“Don Pasquale” is a surefire hit.
Women dominate strong cast in HOT’s superb ‘La Boheme’: Hawai‘i Opera Theatre opened its 2016-17 season with a charming production of Puccini’s “La Boheme” … that is at once personal and epic.
TO CLOSE OUT ITS SEASON, Arizona Opera did very well by the serious comic challenge of Verdi’s final masterwork…Chuck Hudson’s imaginative staging—on a splendidly evoked onstage galleried Elizabethan theater (by Douglas Provost and Peter Nolle) with Henry Venanzi’s well-drilled chorus (in contemporary clothes) as an increasingly participatory element—proved an eyeful, usually in successful ways…Hudson certainly directed one of the most consistently amusing Falstaff stagings I’ve seen. People laughed not only at subtitles, but at character-based comedy. Hudson was thorough.
Breaking ground with Arizona’s first ‘Falstaff’: the last time director Chuck Hudson helmed an Arizona Opera production, it turned into a profitable venture for the company. For the 2013-14 season finale, Hudson created a new concept for the company’s production of “Don Pasquale,” setting it in 1950s Hollywood. Fast-forward to the 2015-16 season finale this weekend, and Hudson is at it again, this time re-creating the classic Old Globe Theatre used in Shakespeare’s day as a setting for Verdi’s “Falstaff.”...(Craig) Colclough, who was in Hudson’s “Don Pasquale” two years ago, has done the heavy, almost depressing version of Falstaff…He prefers Hudson’s production that “sticks very closely to Verdi’s score and the libretto, which at its heart is hilarious. That’s my preference.”
Soaring sopranos and fat jokes make ‘Falstaff’ a very merry season finale for Arizona Opera: Arizona Opera’s season finale of “Falstaff” celebrates the work’s Shakespearean inspiration with a lovely set re-creating the Globe Theatre, complete with audience members on stage…which is just one of many surprises in store in an entertaining staging by director Chuck Hudson…In addition to serving up a delightsome dessert for the 2015-16 season, “Falstaff” is also the farewell production for Arizona Opera’s general director, Ryan Taylor…(and) this crowd-pleasing and musically astute performance of “Flagstaff” definitely sends him off on a high note.
Our last Falstaff in Phoenix was fantastic…..50 second applause in the MIDDLE of the fugue…..WOW!! Now THAT’S how you close out a tenure RYAN TAYLOR!!!
Working with Chuck Hudson is always a much anticipated event in the Melba Opera Trust calendar. ‘I first worked with Chuck last year and found the five-days of intensive study and training incredibly useful. He is a great director and an incredible motivator, but what I admired most about his style was that he was most interested in the ideas we could bring to the work as artists and performers. The sessions weren’t designed to simply choreograph a couple of arias or ensembles – they were aimed at making us more self-sufficient artists, capable of greater focus. Reflecting on my experience last year, it is clear that what the group was able to achieve in those five days couldn’t possibly have been realised in any less time. The journey of any artist is slow – it takes patience, nurturing and time to digest all the information that is thrown our way. Just as we spend a lifetime finessing our voices, so too do we need to spend time developing our interpretational skills. I’m very excited to be working with Chuck again this year, because it will give me an opportunity to reaffirm my approach to my craft. I’m also looking forward to seeing how I’ve developed since last working with Chuck.’
Sight gags, silent movies propel Don Pasquale: Cincinnati Opera’s lively new production, set in the golden age of Hollywood, lifted the silliness to a new level, and often had the audience laughing out loud…Hudson’s staging was animated from start to finish, and there were some very funny sight gags, which had the audience of 2,130 howling…this confection of an opera became a night of sheer fun.
If the repeated outbursts of hearty laughter from the audience at yesterday evening’s performance were any indication, the Cincinnati Opera has scored another hit with this production of Don Pasquale… the almost non-stop visual gags in the third act garden scene had the audience in stitches…There’s no question that Mr. Hudson knows his craft, and it was evident he had worked extensively with the soloists on what German-speaking folks would call Personenführung.
Cincinnati Opera uncorked a bit of bubbly…with stage direction by Chuck Hudson, the acting was hilarious.”
Cincinnati Opera’s Don Pasquale was a delight and, so far, the season’s best overall production…Hudson’s staging is based on his studies with Marcel Marceau and the best example of that was the staging of Com’e Gentil: it was hilarious…
(Knoxville Opera’s Carmen) Very impressive to me was the difficulty of the physical actions required while singing sometimes complex vocals, whether dancing, sitting or lying down.…stage director Chuck Hudson seems to have accomplished quite a feat with such an expansive work and the performances by each of the lead actors seemed to be as good as I could have imagined.
A Strong Cast Rules Knoxville Opera’s ‘Carmen’:A plus for this production was an exceptional roster of acting singers (who) brought energy, freshness, and character depth, not to mention captivating vocal performances.
‘Carmen’ entices, delivers:There is a lot to like about “Carmen,” being staged by the Knoxville Opera at the Tennessee Theatre…stage director Chuck Hudson populates(the stage) with lush groups of singers…At several moments in the opera, Hudson places his cadre of female cigarette factory workers so they look like Degas’ dancers, sitting with their skirts hiked up and legs spread wide.
Chuck Hudson’s production of Don Pasquale combined Commedia dell’arte with Hollywood movie history…This was a well thought out updating and it worked to make this nineteenth century opera a great piece of twenty-first century entertainment.
Opera aficionados tired of the old “park and bark” won’t want to miss Arizona Opera’s animated take on “Don Pasquale” set during the golden age of Hollywood… The production is packed with clever sight gags, including a lovely Busby Berkeley moment during the cocktail party… Performances are excellent across the board, both comedically and musically… for pure entertainment, this impish interpretation makes for a satisfying dessert.
In presenting this difficult and massive opera, Wichita Grand Opera did itself proud… I think that this will probably be the only time in my life that I will get to see a traditional William Tell, performed as the libretto demands, given the narcissistic willfulness of so many contemporary directors… And you know what? It worked! The traditional production made the action intelligible and did not leave the audience wondering just what the hell the director was thinking… the stage direction [sic] credited to Chuck Hudson was straight forward, the chorus moved well and realistically, and for the most part the singers were well directed and believable.
To produce Guillaume Tell is an ambitious undertaking for even the largest of opera companies, yet the forces of Wichita Grand Opera did themselves proud with this performance of Rossini’s last and perhaps greatest opera…The audience appeared quite enthralled by this profound work, applauding generously after scenes and arias, and greeting the conclusion of the stirring finale with unrestrained enthusiasm.
The Wichita Grand Opera offered us a rare and invaluable treat with its production of Rossini’s William Tell…[and] deserves hearty congratulations for their successful production.
Austin Lyric Opera’s MARRIAGE OF FIGARO is a Crowd-Pleasing Farce Austin Lyric Opera’s current production of The Marriage of Figaro clearly illustrates the brilliance and artistry of Mozart’s music while poking fun at the hypocrisies of the upper class…Under the direction of Chuck Hudson, the classic opera comes alive. Hudson smartly highlights the comedic moments of mistaken identities, crazy antics, and cross-dressing, all of which play to plenty of laughs. Still, in his hands the characters and the plot are never over-exaggerated. Hudson has a clear vision and an undeniable respect for Mozart’s material, and as neurotic, foolish, and irrational as these characters are, Hudson has them under control.
Strong voices, excellent acting…fabulously entertaining: In Austin Lyric Opera’s “Figaro,”…the pleasures are many: Sexual innuendo, bedroom stowaways and intricate schemes gave the audience belly-laughs…its characters actually come across as flesh and blood people instead of “types.”… the principals bring a charisma to the stage that makes each character’s story a sympathetic one, all while exploiting the opera’s many sight-gags and ironic winks at the audience… the direction by Chuck Hudson succeeds beautifully in its physical comedy. Small details like the swinging movement of Don Bartolo’s (Michael Wanko) cane are smartly considered, and mined for laughs.
Taming of the Shrew – 4 Stars out of 5: WAAPA’s presentation of The Taming of the Shrew brings several layers of highly-skilled entertainment to the Geoff Gibbs Theatre, in the Australian premiere of Herman Goetz’s opera…Chuck Hudson has worked with some fine young talent to bring out their best, presenting a version of The Taming of the Shrew that is pleasing to the ear and eye, tickles one’s sense of whimsy, and keeps the audience smiling and talking after the show is over.
WAAPA Tames Gutsy Shrew: It’s a beautifully mounted production…(with a) young cast who bring infectious enthusiasm to their roles. Chuck Hudson’s direction was spot on (and) presented with focused skill.
Taming of the Who? Shakespeare as you have never seen it! With multi-award winning New York director, Chuck Hudson in Perth fresh from the US specifically for the production, both the singers and audience were in good hands. Acclaimed Sydney Philharmonic Choirs conductor Brett Weymark joined Hudson on the highly entertaining and provocative show.
Opera Saratoga opens strongly with ‘Rigoletto’: Opera Saratoga opened its season at the Spa Little Theatre with Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” It was a strong production with everything at a high level…Chuck Hudson provided the expert direction.
Spontaneous applause…That’s what happened repeatedly Friday at Spa Little Theater, when Opera Saratoga opened its 51st season with one of the world’s favorite operas: Guiseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto.”… In Hudson’s production, spandex skirts and bad suits and ankle boots announced a contemporary setting… with neon lights spelling out the tawdry surroundings where Rigoletto met the assassin seemed to pin the action to the mid-20th century.
Sacramento Opera returns to full-length production with tasteful ‘Rigoletto’. (With) the return of former music director Timm Rolek as conductor and Chuck Hudson directing…this production signals that the company is back to producing full-length opera and in this production they have done so tastefully – which should always be a hallmark of this company’s offerings.
At times, the story (Dark at the End of the Tunnel) is so fluid and candid that the audience can’t help but lean forward and open their ears, sympathizing and hanging on every word.
With blocking polished to the choreographic and acting attacked like an audition, Paden Fallis performs his play (Dark at the End of the Tunnel, directed by Chuck Hudson) with an energy and precision seldom seen…It is the acting equivalent to a gymnast’s floor routine. Fallis nails it.
Director Chuck Hudson has helped Fallis do right by his own writing…the athletic physicality, the ability to project wolf-like hunger, the capacity to do emotional somersaults in an instant.
Everyone I’ve talked to or exchanged messages with so far has mentioned the magical power of your coaching.
Training nowadays usually begins with Chuck Hudson’s acting classes, in which the voice becomes one with the face and the limbs. “It was ‘Acting for Dummies,’ says David Lomelí, ’08. ‘He changed everything.’
In a short amount of time, Hudson so successfully focused each singer’s energy that every single one sang better and more convincingly the second time around… For several other singers, high notes blossomed, and formerly generalized performances became charged with electricity.
Making relationships between characters visible, giving physical shape to thematic relationships and their dramaturgical significance, even asking the audience to reconsider the information given in the score…are all part of the task. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of doing a production with you knows the performers are both comfortable and challenged, which is what we all want! Comfortable enough to utilize all they have spent years learning, and challenged to add to that almost daily in rehearsals and on stage at night.
They say you only see twelve great shows in a lifetime. I suspect that may be true. I have seen Chuck Hudson direct three shows that left me in a state of transport, and I do not praise easily.
Do these young professionals experience artistic breakthrough moments while working (at the Merola Program)? Lahyani and Rodrìguez mentioned acting teacher Chuck Hudson, and others agreed. Rodrìguez, for one, came in with set ideas of how to sing each of his arias and to interpret the characters. He reported that Hudson “took a hammer and smashed [them]” and said, “Now, let’s build them together.” “We sometimes get so used to seeing a character one way and think, ‘That’s the way it works for me, and I’m not going to change it.’ But then [Hudson] starts asking questions like why? when? how? It helped me so much to let go of things that weren’t helpful anymore for the characters I was singing.
Chuck Hudson’s strong and crisp direction (of La Bohème at Sacramento Opera) gave much dramatic heft to the work’s tragic moments and comic brilliance to lighthearted ones…Hudson’s stage direction was masterly in the tricky second act where crowds gather in the Latin Quarter. Here the stage is populated with chorus and supernumeraries, but never does it seem cramped or the actions artificial.
Stage Director Chuck Hudson did an excellent job of staging La Bohème. The action moved fluidly and naturally…the final scene was particularly well staged, and the closing tableau is an image that will long stay with me.
Inventive staging by Chuck Hudson and a solid performance combined to create a magical evening…Hudson’s staging was highlighted by the magical dream garden created by the fairies and sprites using large green fans and constantly rearranging themselves for the sensuously beautiful duet of Cendrillon and her Prince..
IU Opera (Cendrillon) offers appealing take on Cinderella story: Treats for eyes and ears are plentiful…Guest stage director Chuck Hudson has managed to maneuver all the soloists and groupings, the adult and children’s choruses and dancers through their escapades. They all remain comfortably stage-bound, save for the Fairy Godmother who is privileged to float in from on high.
Guest stage director Chuck Hudson’s … staging is clearly an organic part of the overall design. His blocking is clear and direct in many of the dramatic scenes and has a fittingly whimsical complexity in the more involved mystical parts of “Cendrillon.” …There’s a great scene in which the step mother has the daughters proudly unroll thirty or forty feet of a family tree that includes quite a catalog of various worthies and even a few appropriately royal mistresses.
Opera Cleveland serves up a hearty and graceful “Hansel and Gretel”. Chuck Hudson’s fluid staging kept the events moving blissfully along, with fine attention to characterization and atmosphere…the inventive episode during the pantomime featuring Hansel and Gretel’s deceased mother (danced by Lisa L. Lock) added psychological resonance.
‘Hansel and Gretel’ ‘fine production’ : Director Chuck Hudson and conductor Dean Williamson do an excellent job with the opera…Although much of the show is directed to children, the story has adult themes. Hudson and Williamson succeed in offering a fine production to both children and adults.
[Almost, Maine] A director less skilled and disciplined than Chuck Hudson might have encouraged excessive punching of some lines, even supported an actor’s inclination to go over the top. Not Mr. Hudson. Instead both he and the cast of four (who divvy up portraying 19 characters) respect the creative machinations of the playwright’s mind.
Chuck Hudson, directing all of this, has created both comic and touching moments for his cast to work through as they develop each small mystery.
This endearing show is just the ticket for escaping…to a world where a kiss is not just still a kiss, but a life changing big deal.
‘La Bohème’ plays up drama… (CCM-Opera Theatre) Hudson’s quest for meaning goes beyond words “to make the invisible visible.
Daring ‘Turn of the Screw’ thrills with a fine cast: In the Sacramento Opera’s deeply engaging and highly provocative production of Benjamin Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw,” sexual awakening is the dramatic fuse that sets the drama on fire…Chuck Hudson’s crisp and erotically veiled direction is filled with just the right fervor of caged sexuality. In this production, the housekeeper has unrealized sexual desires of her own that are directed toward the governess. All this seething ethereal erotica makes you wonder what’s in the drinking water in this country estate.
Imagine Benjamin Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw” in a spirited, flawless performance, a splendidly cast, convincingly directed, spectacularly sung and played production…(Quint’s) ghostly evil character (in Chuck Hudson’s self-effacing and clearly communicating direction) received equally deserved bravos and hisses. Director and singer are both special in their ability and willingness to disappear in their work. There is no Regietheater or star in Sacramento, “only” good direction and great performance.
Sac Opera’s production (of Turn of the Screw) was elegantly staged and shrewdly interpreted by director Chuck Hudson, whose program note rightly observes the Hitchcockian overtones of the material-which “seduces as well as repulses the audience by what is left unsaid.” Highly skilled, increasingly kinky, unabashedly creepy.
The Berkshire Opera’s first production of Puccini’s little masterpiece about love and friendship in the springtime of life succeeds under Chuck Hudson’s staging for a simple reason: It seems real, delightfully and painfully so… The accent in Hudson’s conceit for this “Bohème” is on realism. One never senses a mere traffic cop moving people around. He is impelling real people who are savoring and suffering life. The Act IV death scene is among the most cogent in memory as this Mimi slowly passes away and each character gradually realizes the tragedy that has occurred in that room.
Director Chuck Hudson did nothing to disturb the traditional setting of 19th-century Paris, nor did he throw the characters — poor young artists — off their fated course.
Here is a jewel-box setting for an intricately cut and excellently mounted gem of a production…Hudson has taken this opera into the plains of reality with strong physical kinships and a sense of realism that sharpened those relationships. He has painted pictures that make sense and that aid in the tugging of our heartstrings. It is beautiful work and this company will be fortunate to have him back in future seasons.
Piedmont Opera’s Così fan tutte: Fresh Insights Amid Tradition. My fulsome praise of stage director Chuck Hudson’s splendid achievements in his traditional staging of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Fresh touches abounded throughout this production… An imaginative twist at the end is fully justified by the ambiguity of both Mozart’s music and da Ponte’s libretto…Hudson’ “outside the box” approach was visible during mimed onstage action during the overture…Hudson’s staging benefited from a strong cast of young singer-actors who threw themselves wholeheartedly into the spirit of his approach.
Powerful Ending: Piedmont Opera gives ‘Cosi’ some clarity–stage director Chuck Hudson clarifies the less-than-clear conclusion of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. Hudson’s brilliant take on an opera:…Almost everything the singers do brilliantly illuminates or complements lyrics, instrumental sounds and the emotions they express. Thanks to Hudson, one scene flows smoothly into the next… We enjoy this Cosi for all the right reasons. It makes us laugh, and its music moves us in ways that few other scores can.
‘Madama Butterfly’ soars with simplicity. Stillness has a way of making sudden gestures seem profound. On Saturday, the Shreveport Opera’s production of “Madama Butterfly” soared because it made the simplest actions “” either strewing flowers petals or unsheathing a dagger “” overflow with emotion…The production was directed by Chuck Hudson and conducted by Louis Menendez. The staging was exotic without being extravagant, allowing our attention to focus clearly on the deft performances by the cast and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra…What struck me as most memorable was not the music but rather the calmly composed visions…Arguments were played without grand, distracting gestures. The cast always seemed to float in and out of view, never upstaging the two lovers…By highlighting crucial moments with true spectacle, the creators of this “Madama Butterfly” made sure the evening will not be forgotten soon. The Shreveport Opera deserves the highest marks for their efforts.
Overall credit must obviously go to a production team, who have worked long and hard to achieve so fluent a production (Le Nozze di Figaro at Cape Town Opera, South Africa), especially one which moves at this pace. Chuck Hudson’s direction is a winning combination of textual and historical fidelity, coupled with just enough leeway to ensure a surprising degree of contemporary currency. Hudson’s attention to detail in characterisation is exemplary and the result is a set of characters who are believable as fiction, but recognisable types in our own experience.
Visiting New York stage and opera director Chuck Hudson has led from the top (Le Nozze di Figaro at cape Town Opera, South Africa). He has energised and inspired his disciplined young cast to reach new heights and they have responded.
It is something of a tour de force to take a perennial pleaser like Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro and give it the freshness of a less familiar work while keeping to traditional staging and costumes with due respect for a sense of period. This is precisely what this co-production between Cape Town Opera and the UCT Opera School offers its audience, and the result is an evening of undiluted pleasure.
It was an outstanding performance (Le Nozze di Figaro at Cape Town Opera, South Africa)! I’m still smiling this morning.
Imagine Boccaccio channeled by Monty Python and you’ll have some idea of the hilarity of Wolf Trap Opera Company’s production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory…The splendid 20-member cast revels in outrageous overacting and onstage wardrobe malfunctions. The set’s angles and proportions are all wrong — which is exactly right. See Le Comte Ory if you can. There’s not a wrong note in the whole production.
Director Chuck Hudson seized on the silliness (Wolf Trap Opera Company’s production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory) to create a steady stream of gags that were executed with considerable assurance…Lollipops, a sequined cod piece, self-flagellation, a flying cow, and a unicorn — just some of the diversions that complemented all the confident, stylish music-making.
Funny, fast-paced ‘Ory’. “The Wolf Trap Opera Company launched its impossibly entertaining version of Gioacchino Rossini’s Le Comte Ory this past weekend, and it’s a must-see…Positively vaudevillian. Director Chuck Hudson picks up the cue, crafting a production that seems, at times, like an outtake from “Spamalot” executed at breakneck speed…making this production a refreshing musical and comedic romp that can be savored by longtime opera fans as well as opera rookies searching for a painless point of entry.TL Ponick, Washington Times??
Massenet has always gone down easy…or at least it did…at the second performance of the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater’s perfectly enjoyable production (Cendrillon)…Chuck Hudson, the director, stuck clearly to his story without too much embellishment…there was much to enjoy in this youthful evening.
The Manhattan School has turned out many fine singers of late, and the current crop is in good hands for this show (Cendrillon): those of the increasingly prominent French conductor Laurent Pillot and the experienced, creative director Chuck Hudson.
For its spring production, the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater presented a properly enchanting account of Cendrillon (Cinderella)…its score of crystalline elegance led with a suitably light touch by Laurent Pillot, its action imaginatively guided by Chuck Hudson.
The first-rate production (Le Donne di Gioccomo Puccini at Opera Santa Barbara / Puccini Festival of Lucca) featured…a terrifically strong cast of five sopranos performing, well, Puccini’s greatest hits. Under the able baton of Cal Stewart Kellogg and stage director Chuck Hudson, singers and orchestra indulged in the high drama, emotional power and unforgettable melodies that are the hallmarks of this composer.
Director Chuck Hudson (Barber of Seville, Sacramento Opera) never veered into slapstick or overextended the joke; he knew when to trust the audience. The sharp comic timing gave the stylized humor a sense of spontaneity.
The AVA production (of Cosi) came two days later as balm to my ears and to my theatrical preconceptions also…I found it to be a perfectly enchanting evening in the theater…Chuck Hudson’s direction showed a delightfully light yet dramatically insightful touch, and the soloists’ stage presence backed his inspirations up splendidly.
Vibrant singing, acting lift Academy of Vocal Arts’ `Cosi Fan Tutte’: the comedy… unfolds at a fast pace in Hudson’s physical staging. The director demands vivid acting, and the cast provides it… (The singers) both seize – and savor – the opportunities Hudson gives them for physical comedy.
Everything about the production (Don Pasquale at San Francisco Opera Center) cohered, from the ingeniously funny staging by director Chuck Hudson to the musical performance, conducted by Dean Williamson and sung with tremendous vivacity by the cast…There wasn’t a dull moment in Hudson’s staging, which overflowed with running gags, visual puns and physical shtick of every variety. The director set up the laughs, and the cast mined them for all they were worth.
Such a meringue of a plot (of Cosi fan tutte at Opera Santa Barbara) requires superb singing and deft comic timing to pull off. This cast succeeds, helped enormously by New York stage director Chuck Hudson, whose stagecraft is impeccable.
Talk about neglected genius! The Wolf Trap Opera Company ( production of Rameau’s opera “Dardanus”)…compensated for bygone neglect with a sparkling performance, worthy of the historic occasion.
Director Chuck Hudson (Rameau’s opera “Dardanus”) and choreographer Catherine Turocy have effectively re-created that charming mix of martial arts and dance that has been a vital sideshow in French opera since its earliest incarnations.
Judging from Saturday night’s opening, this “La Traviata” is anything but a perfunctory reading of an operatic chestnut…Chuck Hudson’s direction is refreshingly naturalistic for an opera that could easily slip into false melodrama. The teeming ensemble is impressive in individualizing the many minor characters, even when engaging in the layered, interweaving choral pieces that are a Verdi trademark.
A crème brûlée of a production…deliciously sweet… directed by Chuck Hudson amid a set reminiscent of a Viennese chocolate box (The Merry Widow) consistently leans upon the twin crowd pleasers of twist-filled comedy and star-crossed lovers…a light and lovely season opener.
Chuck Hudson’s staging (of The Merry Widow), augmented by Michael Matthew Ferrell’s cute choreography, showed a light, clever touch…and kept the show moving at a sprightly pace all evening.
Chuck Hudson, the director (of She Stoops to Conquer), keeps his able cast in almost constant motion on the stage, even through the scene changes. The pace and timing of the performances, essential for farce, is sharp throughout, from pauses to double-takes, and Mr. Hudson patiently lets the humor build on its own rather than trying to rush the laughs with stage business or mugging.
That the staging (of Don Pasquale at the Wolf Trap Opera Company) works as well as it does owes much to the cast of flexible young singers and to director Chuck Hudson’s well-gauged, highly detailed approach to physical comedy…And all the singers make the most of whatever comic business the director has sent their way.
Risk pays off for opera company: Eugene Opera did an excellent job of bringing this riveting opera (Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah) to the stage…the production on Friday night was what any opera should be – a complete musical drama…with Chuck Hudson’s fine dramatic direction, the opera set off sparks (as the singers) portrayed their characters with vocal and dramatic insight…This opera production was the best of the season. If “Susannah” is any indication, we should be in for some exciting years ahead.
Barber of Seville a witty confection: Barber is a warhorse, but director Chuck Hudson gives it a new patina. His emphasis on physical busyness, including an amazing amount of high-spirited acrobatics, is a model true to the extravagant nature of the piece that also enhances the characters…This is one of Minnesota Opera’s most successful productions of many seasons.
…The American theatre abounds in skillful movement teachers, fight choreographers, specialists in mime and modern dance and classical commedia, as it does in stage directors full of novel interpretive ideas. But not one in a hundred possesses, as does Hudson, the ability to infuse movement with intelligence, to make ideas flesh.
Chuck is dedicated and looks into the creative future. May destiny bless him and his company. I wish him a long success full of joy and drama. With love and great confidence always, for Chuck and his Immediate Theatre.
Figaro has explosively lively staging by Chuck Hudson…[with] fully believable character[s] whose every gesture worked toward greater expressive depth.
Acting is a whole area that’s been underemphasized in voice training…Their stage Guru? Chuck Hudson [whose] classes have also given [the singers] a safe place in which to make mistakes, learn through them, and to be comfortable… on stage.
The director of Così, Chuck Hudson [approached] the piece rather like the current Metropolitan Opera production, [playing] up its comedy with very few dark overtones. The audience loved it, responding with a lot of laughter, applause, and a rousing ovation at the end…I never saw an audience any more enthusiastic or more excited than those who attended Così.
A Tempest with vigorous movement…Hudson is a diverse talent.
The Tempest is a feast for the ears… a good production of Shakespeare can often be more enlightening than a thousand footnotes, if the actors and director have taken the time to truly digest the meaning of each line and then communicate it clearly to the audience. For this alone, director Chuck Hudson and the Borealis ensemble deserve high marks.
Hudson proves surprising: you never know when he’ll spring a back-flip on you. The graceful, pony-tailed actor brings physicality to Petruchio’s machismo with rooster struts and flaps. But he also injects moments of regretful tenderness into his maltreatment of Kate, making that dreaded line ‘I must be cruel to be kind” almost palatable.
Smooth, yet tightly coiled, Chuck Hudson (Petruchio) remains the centerpiece of this production. Long passages of verse melt on his tongue at the same time as he’s springing into somersaults and handstands, or propelling himself into the air off two straight legs like a tapping cane. And despite his bravura, he’s a team player.
Director Chuck Hudson has the visuals under control. He is a fight choreographer as well as director, and he offers two sensational demonstrations of brotherly hate between the valient Orlando and the dasterdly Oliver.
[A Round Game] is staged in the same hyper-stylized presentational aesthetic that made the company famous…With an extremely talented ensemble of local actors, [Hudson’s] work has…been innovative, stunning theater at its most finely tuned.
Under the direction of Chuck Hudson, a disciple of mime artist Marcel Marceau, The Immediate Theatre revisits the text [of Woyzeck] in a physically charged… rendering [that] conveys the poetic force and existential pathos of Büchner’s fable.
Echoes of King Lear–Hudson’s approach (to Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck) is…a legitimate choice, if you have visual and rhythmic imagination to pull it off, and Hudson has imagination to spare.
…Woyzeck receives a simple but effective Immediate Theatre production…[in which] Director Chuck Hudson sweeps up his ensemble of a dozen actors in a weird, flickering array of tableaux.
I went back and saw this show twice. I suggest that you see it at least once.
You must see The Metamorphosis, presented by The Immediate Theatre. [It] is about as touching as theater gets…Never have I seen a play so fully bring to life a state of mind.
Yushi and the Thunder Dragon is a wonderfully enchanting script brought to life through the use of Bunraku-like puppets and the beauty of the Japanese sets, costumes and music. There is endless creative opportunity…
In every field there are about five guys who know what they are doing–everybody else is more or less faking it. Well, when it comes to movement for the actor–[Chuck Hudson] is one of those five guys.