"The Winter's Tale," Quantum Theatre, Chatham Baroque, Attack Theatre (Sept. 16, Union Trust Building)
LSD is illegal and you don’t need to risk it. Just go see The Winter’s Tale. This Quantum Theatre presentation is hallucinogenic, hilarious, and, pardon the cliché, awesome.
Since the 1960s there have been many works of the performing arts that strive to be trippy. By comparison, The Winter’s Tale makes most of them seem about as transcendental as a trip to Sheetz for a pair of hot dogs. This thing is high art in every sense of the term. It contains no prefab sausage or bland white bread.
Handel’s “Julius Caesar” is a baroque opera seria first performed in London in 1732, but there’s nothing musty or old-fashioned about Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s must-see Summerfest production that opened Friday evening in Winchester Thurston School’s Falk Auditorium. Taking a cue from (but not imitating) the much-lauded David McVicar production that was shown Live in HD from the Met in 2013, resourceful director Dan Rigazzi, who is on the Met’s staging staff, has imbued this work with modern-day relevance, vitality, humor and more than a touch of Broadway pizzazz.
"Chatham Baroque provided the core of the orchestra, and was supplemented by young string and wind players who have become expert in baroque style through study at Carnegie Mellon. The instrumental ensemble was world class, including Morales' harpsichord improvisations."
There are a number of labels you could use to describe Quantum Theatre's production of “The Winter's Tale” — an anniversary celebration, a collaboration of enormous complexity, an extraordinary leap of faith.
You also could distill it down to a single adjective: wondrous.
As you might expect from Quantum Theatre, the production that's playing through Oct. 3 goes beyond a traditional staging of Shakespeare's tragedy.
"As self-confident as it is audacious, it is a remarkable creation to mark the 25th year of both Quantum and Chatham Baroque."
Rest assured, the most famous Shakespearean stage direction is fully honored: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”
During the intermission of “The Winter’s Tale,” two friends told me they were surprised: They hadn’t expected an opera.
And why should they? Quantum Theatre is staging the production, in collaboration with period instrument group Chatham Baroque and dance company Attack Theatre. In a Post-Gazette article previewing the performance, Quantum head Karla Boos said she preferred the term “ultimate piece of theater” to opera.