Puss in Boots, presented by the Boulder Opera Company, was a very good opera to see.
This was my first opera, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. The first thing I noticed (besides how long it took us to find the building!) was that the room was a lot smaller than I expected. At the beginning, I was a little confused on what was
happening, because there were students performing some instruments like violin and cello. I wasn’t sure how it directly related to “Puss in Boots,” but that was clarified after the performance. Dr. Ashley Gulbranson, the Music Director, explained that what we just saw were performances from the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras. She also told us some things about opera that were very interesting, and very comforting for me, seeing as I knew very little.
Ashley told us that it is definitely okay to clap, and what to say to congratulate one of the singers. For a male cast member, you would say, “Bravo.” For a female cast member, you would say, “Brava.” For multiple cast members you would say, “Bravi.” It was helpful and made me more comfortable.
Then, she explained what our orchestra did. The Chamber Ensemble Woodland Quintet played the flute, bassoon, horn, clarinet, oboe throughout the performance. Aric Vihmeister accompanied them on the piano. Together they created a really cool and unique sound.
The opera was great and the cast members, starring Winona Martin (The Cat) and Nathan Snyder (Miller), really fit their roles. They did an incredible job. They had beautiful voices. I sat behind the orchestra, and it was really interesting to see what they were doing. I was awed at how good they were.
I enjoyed the opera, but it was a little confusing; and I had read the “Puss in Boots” book! My mom, who hadn’t, was completely confused. We acknowledged that it would’ve been good to read the synopsis! I didn’t really understand why they said for ages three and up, because I know my cousin wo
uldn’t have followed, and technically she was the right age.
I noticed that there were other kids in the audience, and they seemed to enjoy it, although the question and answer at the end showed that they were still a little confused. The most confusing thing that popped up in the Q&A was if Puss was a boy cat or a girl cat. In the story, Puss is referred to as a male, and in the opera they referred to him as a male, but the long hair and the higher pitch was a giveaway that Puss was played by a female actress. I thought she was the perfect person for the part, but I can see why there would’ve been confusion. Another confusing thing for some of the kids was if the Princess was the Queen. The maids in the background made it a little more confusing, just because you wonder who they are, so you doubt who is the Princess.
Other than these confusing parts, the show was fabulous, and a fun show to see with family. This would be a good first opera. The Boulder Opera Company works hard to keep this old art form alive. Bravi!