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.
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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’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…
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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??
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.
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, 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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.