Point Loma Opera Theater is cranking out performances like mad these days. I caught their double bill of Trouble in Tahiti and Dido and Aeneas on Sunday evening. These were the fourth and fifth productions of the year for PLOT.
For most of the night I was aware that these were undergraduates but every now and again I was drawn into the show in a way that I didn't expect.
Trouble in Tahiti was well done. The acting was good. The singers were locked into what they were doing and were connected to their characters.
With that said, the performance was somewhat dominated by the band. I think the band was playing as softly as they could but in the sections where the music was percussive the singers were almost covered up. Part of that had to do with how the music fit the voices.
Dido and Aeneas had some incredible moments. The young man singing Aeneas has a future in singing. I thought his voice was beautiful and full of potential. However, he didn't quite have the epic hero thing down as his body language seemed unsure at times. Aeneas is never unsure in his body.
Dido was the real deal. Her rendering of When I Am Laid in Earth was mesmerizing. Her voice didn't just fill the hall, it filled everything in the hall as well.
This is one of the elements of opera that people love. When a singer's voice feels as though it is resonating inside of the audience — that is special and it's just not the same with a microphone and amplification.
Dido’s death was shocking and unexpected. The audience was engrossed in the aria to the extent that a few members gasped when Dido pulled the trigger.
It was a great moment of theater.