Review Dr. Miracle: 'Spectacular' (volkskrant)
In April 2017 the tour of Dr. Miracle's last illusion came to an end after 30 shows. Never before so many shows were played of an OPERA2DAY production. The responses of press and audience were almost unanimously enthousiastic. 'Spectacular', wrote Volkskrant, 'A hit', wrote Theaterkrant. An overview.
De Volkskrant reviewer Patrick van de Hanenberg praises the way in which stage director Serge van Veggel merges opera and illusionism into magic musical theatre. He labels this 'artistic fusion at a high level' and concludes that Dr. Miracle is 'the most accessible and spectacular' production OPERA2DAY has staged so far. Even an audience that may be on edge because of too many opera divas on stage, so he writes, 'is captured by the combination of Woedy Woet's impressive illusionism, dreamy dances and strong sopranos'.
De Theaterkrant even calls Dr. Miracle 'a hit'. Reviewer Dick van Teijlingen praises Serge van Veggel: 'His inspiration is his fascination for illusionism and the atmosphere and music of the late 19th century ... and mixes it into a delight for ear and eye.' He likes the stage setting: 'The decors by Herbert Janse are wonderful!' Moreover, he greatly values the music in the performance. In imitation of 18th-century pasticcios Dr. Miracle combines fragments from operas and ballets by Bellini, Offenbach, Verdi, Wagner and Stravinsky into a new whole, an 'interesting choice of arias and duets'. Dick van Teijlingen is impressed by the 'excellently performing New European Ensemble' and by the sopranos: 'Lucie Chartin gives a dazzling vocal display. She shines in acting and singing as the singing doll Olympia from Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann ... Kristina Bitenc is beautifully subdued and delicate in the lyric-plaintive Ah! Non credea mirarti from Bellini's La sonnambula'. And 'Violet Broersma from De Dutch Don't Dance Division dances elegant choreographies'.
Colourful and ingenious
Trouw's Peter van der Lint appreciates Dr. Miracle as a 'colourful and smoothly performed show'. With the person of Woedy Woet an internationally prize-winning illusionist was attracted to play the part of Dr. Miracle. According to Van der Lint this results in 'terrific and ingenious tricks, beautifully performed by Woedy Woet'. The New European Ensemble and the three sopranos were inspired by historic recordings on 78 discs in order to perform in the same liberty as their colleagues in the 1900s. Some of these recordings are played during the show. At the end of the show 'a fragment by Lilli Lehmann in Wagner's Liebestod is sung live by Martina Prins, beautifully fading. Well done'.
Appealing musical theatre and a high level of musicality
NRC's Floris Don praises Dr. Miracle as 'appealing musical theatre' and highly appreciates the music. 'Three very fine sopranos are accompanied by the radiant New European Ensemble'.
Ferdi de Lange of FerdiBlog also was present at the premiere of Dr. Miracle's last illusion. His four-star review says: 'Splendid decors show that the producers did their utmost'. As a result the performance feels as '1900'. He, too, is in awe of the 'excellent sopranos' and thinks the New European Ensemble has a 'high level of musicality'.
Go see it!
Webmagazine Place de l'Opera is also enthusiast about the three sopranos: 'Dr. Miracle's last illusion is a vocal delight ... Chartin rendered a magnificent Olympia and Bitenc a beautiful daughter in Menotti's Medium. Martina Prins convinced as Lady Macbeth.' The opera scenes are given a new context in the show. Reviewer Peter Franken writes: 'Dr. Miracle appears as a psychiatrist and succeeds by hypnosis in convincing a female patient of having murdered him. Splendidly found is the music supporting this scene: the aria Una macchia by Verdi's Lady Macbeth.' That illusionist Woedy Woet is able to perform his magical acts 'very convincingly and expertly' is also thanks to stagecraft: 'which was taken care of very well. So well that the antics performed on the various ladies looked absolutely true to life'. Place de l'Opera concludes: ' Once again OPERA2DAY proved with this production that they are a gifted newcomer in the Dutch opera scene. Or rather, they have risen to the level of an established ensemble. Obtaining this position in these days shows great enthusiasm, much talent and an enormous drive ... go see it, go see it'.
Reactions from the audience
The audience not only responded with standing ovations and shouts of bravo: our mailbox filled up with fan mail. A concise compilation: ' Beautiful music, marvellously sung and excellently directed. Most rewarding.' - 'Visually wonderful.' - 'Supporting programme very impressive.' - 'Fine combination of amusement, opera and illusionism.' - 'Breath-taking!' - 'Fine merge of different genres. Beautiful music!' - 'A highly original idea, beautifully executed, a spectacle to be proud of.' - 'Rich fantasy and inspired artists, fantastic voices and an excellent performance created a memorable experience.' - 'Heartbreakingly beautiful.' - 'The music swept you away into the show. How inspiring a subject: Death!' - 'Beautiful in many if not all respects. Singing and music, very, very beautiful. Clever techniques. Good story and representation. Moving finale.' - 'Never been to an opera before, but really liked this combination. Enjoyed the introduction, the supporting programme in the theatre and of course the show itself.' - 'Very entertaining. Really miraculous, exciting. Beautiful singing and dance. Breath-taking.' - 'I have seen all shows made by OPERA2DAY and this one, again, surpasses all expectations.' - 'The disappearance acts and the singers, especially Olympia, I found tremendously good.' - ' Orchestra was small but magnificent!' - 'Impressive, catching from the first to the last minute, very well made and executed.' - 'The music was beautiful and was beautifully performed by the New European Ensemble and the singers!' - 'Fantastic concept, beautiful decors, nice entrance with the decorations in the salons. All worked perfectly together. Un-Dutch quality!!'.