Moscow kicks off opera season on the right note

The Moores Opera Center took audiences to the new and improved 1950s Moscow with its charming rendition of “Moscow, Cheryomushki.”

A show written and scored to entertain, “Moscow, Cheryomushki” tells the story of three Russian couples and their friends as they fight for new apartments in Cherry Town and find love in unexpected people.

Directed by Buck Ross and conducted by Jake Sustaita, the opera premiered Friday night and was well-received.

The production was put together with darling vintage designed costumes and visual stage effects that gave the show a whimsical element, reflecting the originality of the opera. Dancers Katie Mae Kennedy, Nicole Young, Erik Sampson and Jorge Cardozo performed ballet numbers throughout the show that added to its charm.

Lead performers Brandon Grimes and Katarina Van Mannen gave a terrific performance from their effortless on-stage chemistry to their breathtaking vocals.

Grimes swept the audience off its feet with his cool boyish attitude, bringing trouble and wit to the main stage, while Van Mannen brought the saintly and adorable character, Lydochka, to life with her graceful manner and flawless solos.

Amongst the many endearing characters, another dynamic duo shared the spotlight: supporting cast members Nicole Woodward and Tyler Tucker brought laughs as the charismatic love-struck couple Masha and Sasha.

Together the cast and chorus were vibrant and wildly hysterical, carrying the comedy with personality as it unraveled from start to finish.

Opening night attendee and theater enthusiast Jessica Owens described the production as “not a traditional” opera.

“In most operas I’ve seen, the acting isn’t as good, but the acting was very well done,” Owens said.

“It was very different, very lively, a lot of comedy — overall it was really nice.”

This season the Moores Opera Center bravely took on “Moscow, Cheryomushki,” a strange and lesser known opera and made it a hit.

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