While there’s always something magical about seeing a live performance, be it an opera, musical, or play, there’s also something about seeing a show around the holidays. Perhaps …
While there’s always something magical about seeing a live performance, be it an opera, musical, or play, there’s also something about seeing a show around the holidays. Perhaps it’s the memories and feelings the holiday season brings out, but I love seeking out the touching stories that we so often share to remind ourselves of the true meaning of the season.
The Delaware Valley Opera’s performance of “The Gift of the Magi” this past weekend at their brand new Delaware Valley Opera Center was truly a joy to experience – and to top it off, I got to bring my sister who has never been to an opera before. It was a pleasure to get to see the DVO in their new space, and to see the turn out for their first performance there.
“The Gift of the Magi” is based on the short story by O. Henry where a young couple give up their most prized possessions to purchase gifts to prove their love for one another. If you haven’t read the story before, there is a bittersweet twist that’s a wonderful reminder during this holiday season that the best gift to give is the gift of love.
The DVO’s production was led by the talented Marcelle McGuirk as Della, and Mark Hosseini as Jim. McGuirk and Hosseini had such wonderful chemistry, and their performances on stage together were electric. McGuirk’s angelic voice was a highlight throughout all four scenes, and she really soared during her aria. Hosseini gave a heart wrenching performance as Jim as he struggled over his decision to sell his prized pocket watch to purchase the perfect gift for Della. And when the two sang together and harmonized it was truly divine!
What a joy to see Annie Chester and Nicholas Wuehrmann again! Both wowed with their voices at the DVO’s operetta concert back in July, and I loved seeing them on stage in full character this time. Chester’s performance as Della’s protective neighbor and friend Maggie was both comical and touching. She and McGuirk sounded wonderful together during their duet at the end of “Della’s Aria.”
Wuehrmann’s performance was yet again spectacular as one of the Magi, disguised as a homeless man. It was lovely to be able to see a fully stage performance of Wuerhmann’s direction. Timing the play in the 1930s and having the set designed as if the audience were looking into Jim and Della’s flat was unique. With the hustle and bustle of the Magi and the main characters between scenes, it was easy to close your eyes and imagine yourself on a busy New York City street right before Christmas.
The Magi were perhaps my favorite part of the show, and I know they were my sister’s favorite as well. In her words they were “very Shakespearean”, while I deemed them a bit like the Greek chorus. Erik Tofte who also doubled as Jim’s friend Henry, Anthony Maide and Nicholas Wuehrmann gave the most beautiful and touching performances with their advice as the Magi. Their harmonies wove together seamlessly, and the message that “wise fools among us learn that love is their gold” was a wonderful end to a truly touching opera.
“The Gift of the Magi” was a wonderful way to start the holiday season, and the cast and crew should be proud of their hard work and talent. I know I thought about the show, its performers and its message for days after I left. Perhaps this season, we should all try to give just a little extra love as the year comes to a close.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here