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Quantum’s The Winter’s Tale

This operatic adaptation of Shakespeare is exquisite

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Rebecca Belczyk, Robert Frankenberry and Shannon Kessler Dooley in Quantum Theatre’s The Winter’s Tale - PHOTO COURTESY OF HEATHER MULL
  • Photo courtesy of Heather Mull
  • Rebecca Belczyk, Robert Frankenberry and Shannon Kessler Dooley in Quantum Theatre’s The Winter’s Tale

How time does fly when you’re having fun. Quantum Theatre celebrates its 25th anniversary — as does Chatham Baroque — with a new collaborative multimedia adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Also count in Attack Theatre (20th anniversary).

One of the Bard’s lesser works, Winter provides a classic (if unrealistic) tragedy in its first act, and an unabashed comedy in its second. An apparently insecure king upends his family and friends, only to enjoy an unlikely happy ending.

It’s a perfect structure for opera: lots of rich characters, edge-of-your-seat situations, and an adaptation of Baroque (plus) secular and sacred music from Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and others of your favorite hits. Is it great, or even acceptable “opera”? Don’t ask me. I’m a theater person who doesn’t even much like opera. But Winter, directed by Quantum founder/director Karla Boos, is exquisite.

The title stems from Shakespeare’s line “a sad tale’s best for winter: I have one of sprites and goblins.” The spirit group is most ably, if silently personified by Attack dancers Kaitlin Dann, Dane Toney, Anthony Williams and Ashley Williams. In the voicing of the action, we are treated to an indomitable line-up of Raquel Winnica Young as the wronged queen; Eugene Perry as the faithful courtier suffering an ignominious end; and David Newman and Robert Frankenberry as the life-long friends gone awry — among many notable others. And let us not overlook the extraordinary talents of countertenor Andrey Nemzer as a colorful, comic villain.

The production is staged in the ornate auditorium of Downtown’s Grant Building. Winter’s multimedia magic comes from the stylistic projections of Joseph Seamans; costumes that evoke looks from the Shakespearean era to the Savoyards, from Susan Tsu (assisted by Sophie Hood); the versatile set design of Tony Ferrieri; and the sensitive light design of C. Todd Brown. The show is an intensive Quantum collaboration with music director and conductor Andres Cladera, Baroque’s Andrew Fouts, Patricia Halverson and Scott Pauley, and Attack’s Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope.

Winter’s Tale is a massive enterprise that succeeds on many levels. Sorry, I can no longer resist the pun: Quantum et al. go for Baroque — beautifully.


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