NARROWSBURG — There was not a seat to be had at the Tusten Theatre on Sunday afternoon, which is to say that if you want to catch a first-rate production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" staged by Delaware Valley Opera, you have only two more opportunities in theaters of limited capacity.

Directed by Jim Blanton, this first of three presentations sung in Italian with English supertitles could not have been better. And given its quality in everything operatic, it surely ranks among the best of staged productions in recent memory.

Delaware Valley Opera does it again - another excellent 2008 season production

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — As funny as any sitcom in today's lineup of television comedies, Donizetti'e opera buffa, "Don Pasquale," would surely warrant an Emmy Award.

And while the original story is set in Rome during the mid-1800s, Delaware Valley Opera in a three-time run is transposing the work to here and now. Thus, in its first presentation Saturday night at Seelig Theatre on the campus of Sullivan County Community College, the comedy was not only done in English with contemporary fixtures and clothes, but the performance also showcased — despite occasional overplaying by the orchestra — great singing.

A 'Rainbow' of songs, lovingly sung

Narrowsburg, NY — Edgar Yipsel "Yip" Harburg (1896-1981) might have failed with his appliance store business. But he was more than successful with his turn-of-phrase talent to help create a host of memorable songs with collaborators such as George Gershwin, Harold Arlen and Burton Lane.

It's with these composers that Harburg is remembered in "The Wizard of Verse," a Delaware Valley Opera creation and production. The double meaning in its title refers to the lyrics he wrote for "The Wizard of Oz," the 1939 movie containing his Academy-Award winning "Over the Rainbow." In all, he wrote lyrics for more than 600 songs, the most famous of which were written during the 1930s.

Narrowsburg, NY — Tusten Theatre was alive with the sounds of glorious operatic singing Saturday night as a large cast of enthusiastic Delaware Valley Opera singers and a polished pit orchestra under the direction of James Blanton staged a magnificent production of Jacques Offenbach's "La Perichole."

Coloratura (high-wire acrobatic singing) never sounded better in the hills of Sullivan County as Julie Ziavras, in the title role, displayed florid passages, trills, glissandos and sustained tones on high as her character exults in "waking up" in the Viceroy's palace. But before this upward mobility, Perichole and Paquillo (Osualdo Ciochetti) are poor street singers in 18th-century Lima, Peru, before she is tapped by the Viceroy to be his mistress. By play's end, the indigent couple is reunited and all ends well.

The Times-Herald Online (Original Article here)

Narrowsburg, NY — Vincenzo Bellini's "Norma" contains some of the most challenging arias for a soprano, and turning in an impressive performance in the title role of this difficult work in Sunday afternoon's presentation by Delaware Valley Opera was Erika Wueschner.

It's as a scorned woman that the High Priestess of the Druids, forsaken by a Roman officer serving Caesar's army in Gaul, that she not only avenges his duplicity but also accepts the shared fate of death.

For the Times-Herald Online (Original Article here)

Narrowsburg, NY — For the many fans of Broadway musicals, the names of Victor Herbert and Sigmund Romberg may not be familiar.

But the musical lineage from these composers to Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber is clear. "The Sound of Music" and "Phantom of the Opera," for example, could not have happened without the roots planted in operettas by these men a century ago.

But while the "story-to-song" model may not have changed, one element in which musicals of the past differ from their followers is "plot gravitas." Despite thin story lines, predecessors do have the appeal of wonderful melodies that sparkle in songs of romance, fantasy and pageantry.

So, in wanting to pay tribute to these early classics, Delaware Valley Opera is staging "Naughty Operetta" in repertory and in revue format. Featured in Friday night's fast-paced and polished presentation at the Tusten Theatre were four musical veterans: soprano Jody Weatherstone, tenor Anthony Daino, baritone Mark Gargiulo and director-accompanist Jim Blanton at the piano.