In Review: Piper, Mayes, Mechavich, and McIntyre in Madison opera's "Cav/Pag"

"The two are given handsome visual presentations. . . Kristine McIntyre’s staging, some points aside, is imaginative, again, especially in Pagliacci. (Giving the Prologue an anticipatory staging of its own was especially clever.) . . . The vocal cast is excellent throughout. . . Baritone Michael Mayes is vocally strong as a brutal Alfio . . . he’s simply terrific as the malevolent Tonio. . . These two scores involve workhorse orchestral writing, but conductor Joseph Mechavich does an excellent job finding expressive nuances when he can." -Madison Isthmus

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"“Cavalleria” has a lot of orchestral music built into its structure, and Joseph Mechavich leads the large pit through plenty of high drama, with romantic flourishes of the harp and, later, threatening bassoon. To fill the stage time, director Kristine McIntyre gives the cast large chunks of elaborate pantomime in the town square, as they gather for church and greet each other. . . The two leading men take major roles in each opera. Michael Mayes, as a betrayed husband and a stalker type who won't take no for an answer, is arguably the most intimidating baritone to walk this opera stage in the last decade or so. In both "Cav" and "Pag," he radiates the intensity of a man who believes himself dangerously wronged. . . And Mayes gets more marvelously menacing stage time as a Harlequin crossed with Sideshow Bob. . . Canio, an aging clown hiding a violent and jealous nature, is a better role fit for Piper, who gives an expressive performance of the opera’s greatest hit, “Vesti la giubba.”" -The Cap Times

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