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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA students bring down the house in ‘Il Matrimonio’

    Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The members of the cast in Il Matrimonio Segreto (The Secret Marriage).
    Rodney Haas
    Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat The members of the cast in “Il Matrimonio Segreto” (The Secret Marriage).

    Walking into Crowder Hall on Thursday night, I found myself wondering what to expect from “”Il Matrimonio Segreto.”” Having never been to an opera before, I wasn’t so sure I would enjoy it. But thanks to the talented cast and symphony, I found myself loving it much more than I’d ever anticipated.

    The light, humorous atmosphere that was maintained throughout the show made it accessible to first-time opera goers. Even before the performance began, the symphony was playing what seemed like a hodgepodge of entertaining music as a warm up, meant to set a fun tone for the night.

    The audiences’ attitude certainly helped too. As people packed into the cozy theater, they were abuzz with anticipation and chatted excitedly about the show, creating a positive vibe before the curtain even went up.

    I realized how much I was going to like this show as the overture began. The whimsical piece provided a perfect introduction to the comical soap-opera style drama that was about to unfold. It was beautifully performed by the skillful Arizona Symphony Orchestra.

    The music was wonderful, but the acting made the show great. The cast members proved how talented they were within just a few minutes of their first onstage appearances. While everyone did a stellar job, two actors in particular managed to stand just a few inches above the rest.

    Asleif Willmer and Dennis Tamblyn gave flawless performances. Willmer, the only undergraduate in the show, was perhaps the most impressive and managed to portray the fiery Carolina with ease. The most notable part of her performance was how well she expressed emotion as she sang, transitioning from upset to excited to angry and never missing a beat.

    Tamblyn, who played Carolina’s secret husband Paolino, arguably faced the greatest challenge. What made the portrayal of his character so difficult was that, while everyone else had very defined emotions to display, Paolino had to be much more subtle to keep his marriage a secret. While other characters could overflow with love, rage or jealousy, Paolino had to communicate the same intensity discreetly. Thanks to Tamblyn’s excellent body language and facial expressions, the audience had no problem understanding just how he felt the entire show.

    Most of the comedy came from either Geronimo or Count, played by Chris Herrera and Greg Guenther respectively. Herrera managed to sing excellently while still conveying his character’s confusion and anger. His timing was excellent and his facial expressions were priceless. Most of the scenes during which he was onstage he left the audience laughing.

    Guenther’s Count, with a tendency to make insulting remarks in asides or straight to another character’s face, made for some entertaining situations that had the audience waiting to see the reaction. Guenther also managed to make being head-over-heels in love funny, which is no easy feat.

    Not to be overlooked are Katie Vanderhooning and Mackenzie Romriell, who played Elisetta, Carolina’s sister, and Fidalma, Carolina’s aunt. Both of them were brilliantly convincing in their jealousy of Carolina and in their scheming against her, but still managed to keep things light. Elisetta’s arrogant attitude comes off as amusing instead of annoying, and Fidalma is manipulative without seeming like a villain.

    The plot was funny by itself and the cast highlighted the best moments. It was slightly ridiculous, but most operatic plots seem to be. Despite misunderstandings and multiple love triangles, everything worked out well in the end. It wasn’t as if anyone was expecting anything different.


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