In Review: Mayes and McEuen impress in Atlanta Opera "Sweeney Todd"

"Mayes makes for a compellingly sinister and seething Sweeney, internally miserable but taking an outwardly visible delight in planning and exacting his revenge; his strongest emotional attachment is, believably, to his razors." -Atlanta Journal Constitution

Read full review. "Making his Atlanta Opera debut, baritone Michael Mayes portrays the revenge-driven, bloody barber Sweeney Todd with commanding voice and stage presence. Mezzo-soprano Maria Zifchak balances him well as Mrs. Lovett, Todd’s wily landlady and entrepreneurial partner who bakes and sells pies made from his dispatched clients. Their interactions run from cynical grimness to comically macabre, most effectively shown in the emotional shift between the strong pair of numbers that conclude Act I: “Epiphany,” in which Todd decides to kill as many people as he can after missing the opportunity to execute his powerful nemesis, the viciously self-righteous but morally corrupt Judge Turpin — sung with ruthless demeanor by baritone Tom Fox — and the sardonic “A Little Priest” where the man-to-pan plot is hatched, the psychopathic pair speculating on what men of different professions might taste like. . . Empathy is also there for the simple but goodhearted apprentice Tobias Ragg (tenor Ian McEuen), who has his own tenderly protective aria (“Not While I’m Around”) apart from his initially comic scenes."

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