The New England Chamber Opera Group

Charles Gounod Gift of the Gods
Ferruccio Busoni Arlecchino

Arlecchino
Ser Matteo — Matthew Dooley
Abbate Cospicuo — David Arnold
Dottor Bombasto — Scott Brumit
Arlecchino — Bruce Burroughs
Leandro — Paul Johnson
Colombina — Maureen McGuire
Annunziata — Jo Ella Todd
Two Sbirros — Kimberly Daniel de Acha, Sue Ellen Kuzma

Gift of the Gods
Philemon — Wayne Rivera
Baucis — Kimberly Daniel de Acha
Jupiter — Peter Bugel
Vulcan — Michael Auclair

Director — Rafael de Acha
Conductor — Philip Morehead

"Here for once was a double bill where both operas were of equal value on the entertainment spectrum and each was performed with equal finesse. The New England Chamber Opera Group presented its midwinter selection during the last week of January in Radcliffe's intimate Agassiz Theater. The curtain raiser was Gounod's Gift of the Gods (Philemon and Baucis), a delightfully lyric, sometimes amusing, retelling of the legend of the gods who give a loving couple back their youth only to find out what a mixed blessing it is. Director Rafael de Acha made the translation.

"Canny semi-serious performances from Kimberly Daniel and Wayne Rivera spelled the greatest success of the gentle piece and Peter Bugel and Michael Auclair made the Gods Zeus and Hephaetus (Jupiter and Vulcan in the program) as human as Wagner made his teutonic deities with their quirks of personality and their eccentricities. The second piece, Busoni's Arlecchino, is an ingenious retelling of the time-honored Harlequinade by the all too much neglected German-Italian master pianist and composer. (His Doktor Faust is rumored for production at the Met in the near future with Fischer-Dieskau.) All performances ran high in humor and spirit.

"Especially outstanding were Paul Johnson's remarkable funny caricature of the traditional operatic tenor, Jo Ella Todd's delightful presentation as the cuckoldewd tailor's wife (no frustrated Spanish Hour this), and Sue Ellen Kuzma and Kimberly Daniel as two silent zanies in the best tradition. Others in the cast included Bruce Burroughs, adroit in the title role, Maureen McGuire, marvelous as his steely-voiced spouse, Matthew Dooley as the poor befuddled tailor and Scott Brumit and David Arnold whose large talents didn't have much chance for expression in the small supporting roles of Doctor and Cleric.

"Since your reviewer was unable to attend a performance he was kindly permitted into the dress rehearsal where the excellence of Maestro Philip Morehead's musical direction had to be observed at the piano as this rehearsal was sans orchestra. In spite of th crowd at the operatic summit in Boston, this little group seems to have earned its right to stand with them. This is their fourth production and operas number seven and eight and they seem to be with us to stay." (William D. Miranda, Jewish Advocate, March 8, 1973)

Gift of the Gods — (l-r) Kimberly Daniel de Acha, Michael Auclair, Peter Bugel, Wayne Rivera

Arlecchino — (l-r) Maureen McGuire, David Arnold,
Scott Brumit, Kimberly Daniel de Acha, Sue Ellen Kuzma

Arlecchino - baritone David Arnold

Arlecchino - Bruce Burroughs, Matt Dooley