After 10 years, Barrie Kosky leaves his opera dancing
However, Kosky must first complete the run, until July 10, of the “Revue”, an original creation he arrived at after not wanting his final production to be something expected, like an operetta, and after the pandemic upended his plans for a Stravinsky Marathon. Few directors would or could imagine the result: an homage to the Yiddish entertainment common in mid-20th century Catskill Mountain resorts.
“The list of artists who were there – it’s like a who’s who of American culture, all of them go to this Jewish utopia, kind of a summer kibbutz,” Kosky said, mentioning Joan Rivers, Danny Kaye and Brooks. “I mean, what is the Catskills but a kibbutz without politics?”
Rhythm like a playlist – with ups, downs and, at times, lulls – the show features popular music arranged and conducted by Adam Benzwi (called Adam Benski from the stage) and madness-like choreography, with a eye for physical comedy, by Otto Pichler. Company members and guest stars appear in different guises, with none more surprising than Dagmar Manzel in a heartbreakingly sober twist from his boisterous Cleopatra earlier last week.
Throughout, Kosky — who also hosts the show via pre-recorded intros — engages in a delicate balance of irony and campiness. Men and women sing in drag; borscht (“below the belt”) humor abounds; and performers assume characters across the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s the “Minsk mezzo” Sylvie Sonitzki, a boy band of Orthodox Jews, and don’t forget the temple choir. In an ending to something like Verdi’s “Falstaff,” Kosky brings in everyone, a huge ensemble backed by a huge orchestra, for a show that, joyful and celebratory, sends the audience on with a command: “Dance!”
Kosky couldn’t have said goodbye any other way.