Theater archives

Opera in the Air in a DUMBO Basement


In a dungeon-like barroom under a DUMBO restaurant, a plucky troupe of circus performers, augmented by five fine young opera singers, brings life to Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, the first of which is familiar to dance mavens, having also been transformed into the ballet Coppelia. The heroine of each tale is double-cast, played by a high-flying circus artist and a singer; the title role belongs to tenor David Gordon, all in white, who woos one stunning woman after another, only to lose them all and descend into drunkenness. For the three acts, he pursues his aerialist amours (including Leah James Abel in a wide-weave marine net) among puppeteers, a magician, a stilt walker, and a lovelorn clown (Anna Zastrow), not to mention a sadistic bartender (baritone Mark Womack) who plays several villains. The voices of Jeannie Im, Amy Cheifetz, and Silvie Jensen underscore the seductive airborne antics of Teresa Kochis, Abel, and Olivia Lehrman, respectively.

Jeff Caldwell, the music director, pounds the saloon piano underneath it all; Ruth Juliet Wikler, Cirque Boom’s founder and artistic director, conceived the production. Dinner and drinks are available on-site.