Review: In ‘The Astronaut’s Tale,’ a Farm Boy Dreams of Flying to Mars   By Vivien Schweitzer,  The New York Times  January 29, 2016 for   The Astronaut’s Tale

Review: In ‘The Astronaut’s Tale,’ a Farm Boy Dreams of Flying to Mars
By Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times
January 29, 2016
for The Astronaut’s Tale


January 28-31, 2016 at BAM Fisher


“...piquant score ... by composer Charles Fussell. ... The imaginative use of percussion evoked faraway galaxies ... effectively directed by Nancy Rhodes.”
Vivien Schweitzer, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Encompass deserves credit for its commitment to musically and thematically adventurous new work.”
Joanne Sydney Lessner, OPERA NEWS

“…straddles the boundary between musical theater and opera.”
Vivien Schweitzer, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“…the singers were impressively accurate and sang with clear, unforced diction. Eapen Leubner brought a light, focused tenor and fresh-faced optimism to Abel. Frank Basile’s stentorian bass lent authority to Peccavit … Lianne Gennaco gave the standout performance as Ann, her bright, flexible soprano skating over Fussell’s punishing tessitura without fading in color or size. Narrator Christopher Vettel … lent a firm baritone to the closing quartet.”
Joanne Sydney Lessner, OPERA NEWS

“Lianne Arnold’s panoramic projections and set designer Stephen H. Carmody’s shifting firmament captured the lure of outer space … Conductor Nicholas DeMaison drew shifting, vibrant colors from the accomplished orchestra and was sensitive to the singers.”
Joanne Sydney Lessner, OPERA NEWS

“…a duet between Abel and the peddler, charismatically rendered by the bass Frank Basile.”
Vivien Schweitzer, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“…There were no titles provided here and none were needed – the words were intelligible throughout.”
Vivien Schweitzer, THE NEW YORK TIMES



“THE WISE WOMAN (Orff) was one of the most enchanting events in memory, a musical dream, theatrical magic. The whole wonderful production should be credited to Nancy Rhodes whose stage direction was marvelously simple and endlessly inventive.”
Robert Jones, CUE

“The Encompass Music Theatre's opera performances have been rare theatrical experiences...Virgil Thomson's THE MOTHER OF US ALL and Aaron Copland's THE TENDER LAND were staged in past seasons with unusual distinction by Miss Rhodes.”
Raymond Ericson, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“A huge thanks for the remarkably ingenious and imaginative treatment you gave my opera.”
Virgil Thomson

“…Stephen Carmody’s fabulously expressionistic set—an upscale Victorian parlor animated by sharp diagonals in the wall panels and floor…”

“Encompass New Opera Theatre’s production of A Wake or a Wedding is charming, entertaining and funny. … Under Nancy Rhodes direction, the cast had the audience entertained throughout with splendid acting and strong singing … an enjoyable experience and wonderful effort by a talented group of performers.”
— Broadway After Dark

“The inventive direction by Rhodes was thoughtfully conceived and executed with the kind of ensemble polish one has come to expect from an Encompass production.”
— Peter G. Davis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Exposure to the world of serious music frequently means exposure to the work of extraordinary people. Encompass New Opera Theatre assembled approximately one hundred of New York City’s most accomplished and dedicated musicians to participate in the world premiere of Louis Gioia’s opera Un Racconto Fiorento (A Florentine Tale) at Alice Tully Hall. The result was a glorious, impassioned performance of a composition of great beauty and sincere interest.”
Donald Westwood, OPERA NEWS

“The Encompass lineup of singers, instrumentalists and technicians was flawless. Rhodes’ direction throughout was consistently alive and beautifully balanced, while the large number of multimedia specialists made both operas colorfully and excitingly watchable. … unequivocally first-rate singers.” (APPROACHING INFINITY)
— Bill Zakariasen, THE WESTSIDER

“The Amazing ‘Angel of the Amazon.’”
— Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News

“When the entire ensemble sang together during multiple scenes, their voices blended into a thunderous force of emotion.” (ANGEL OF THE AMAZON)
— Annie Wu, The Epoch Times

“Every performer in the eight member cast sings superbly, and the twelve instrumentalists of the IONISATION New Music Group, under the able baton of Mara Waldman, interpret the bright, tuneful score with appropriate verve.”

“The orchestra members play with great expressive vigor and gratifyingly pure intonation. Mara Waldman conducts with skill and precision.” (ANGEL OF THE AMAZON)
Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News



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