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Review Wed Mar 09 2011
I caught one of the last runs of Hercules at the Lyric on Monday and I am so glad I did, although when I left the theater I wasn't so sure about that. Peter Sellars offers us a vision Hercules as an American soldier in modern fatigues, and I do appreciate the focus on current events, but I feel like the correlations were already there without having to be spelled out so blatantly. There is also the question of Hercules fighting for the US -- he is a god after all. So some of the director's choices raised questions, but the performances were stellar across the board.
Lucy Crowe made her Lyric debut with this show, and what a debut it was for her. As a soloist she was able to capture the hearts of the audience even when she was fully cloaked.
Eric Owens as Hercules sounded great but, and maybe this is because Hercules is more an oratorio than an opera, he didn't control his body and movements as convincingly as he sung. Say what you will about fat Hercules, though, Owens can perform almost as well upside down as he does right side up.
It couldn't have been easy conducting for this performance. There were no real crescendos to speak of, just a bunch of solos, and however wonderful the performances were, three and a half hours of solos can get a bit boring. So a huge thank you goes out to conductor Harry Bicket -- without him at the helm I am sure I would have dozed off a bit.