Shalimar the Clown in the Press

“Intelligent, beguiling… a bravura performance”
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times – June, 2016
“The intelligent, beguiling soprano Andriana Chuchman… turned in a bravura performance as the impulsive, bracingly honest Boonyi, her dancing as beautiful and idiomatic as her singing. She stood out in an overall excellent cast… As Shalimar, the tenor Sean Panikkar demonstrated versatility and stamina, his voice supple and bright in the earlier lyrical exchanges, taut with a glint of hysteria as jealous fury took over.”

“The dramatic resonance of modern Shakespearean tragedy... Shalimar is a keeper.”
John Von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune – June, 2016
“A gripping production that exemplifies what this envelope-pushing, opera-in-English company does best: high-gloss music theater that speaks to the cultural and political issues of today… Director Robinson and his usual team of designers… bring a difficult, complicated to subject to life with fluidity and flair… Perla’s accessible, eclectic, conservatively tonal music… incorporates the local color of Indian ragas… conspiring with Joseph’s taut libretto… to invest Rushdie’s heartbreaking lament with the dramatic resonance of modern Shakespearean tragedy… New operas come and go, but Shalimar is a keeper. I hope it travels to Chicago one day soon.”

“Haunting… topical, literary, and theatrical”
Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal – June, 2016
“Jack Perla’s haunting Shalimar the Clown… succeeds at being topical, literary and theatrical. The libretto… is a remarkably succinct and faithful distillation… Mr. Joseph’s eloquently spare text leaves plenty of space for Mr. Perla’s music to tell the story….  James Robinson’s clear direction and Seán Curran’s terrific choreography… seamlessly connected the big chorus scenes and the intimate moments, drawing the parallels between personal and community tragedy.”

“Moving drama and music… of poetry and power… exemplary.”
Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch – June, 2016
“Fine performances and stretches of moving drama and music… Rajiv Joseph’s libretto has moments of poetry and power…  The sitar, performed by Arjun Verma, and the tabla, played by Javad Butah, are well-integrated in the score, always informing, but never overpowering, the orchestra. The players were exemplary, as were conductor Jayce Ogren and his split of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.”

“Another astonishing over-achievement from this committed and tireless company… damn thrilling.”
James Sohre, Opera Today – June, 2016
“This riveting new work by composer Jack Perla and librettist Rajiv Joseph… is not so much a towering achievement, as another astonishing over-achievement from this committed and tireless company. Like OTSL’s Champion and “27” before it, Shalimar the Clown seems destined for further greatness… owing to not only a restless, unnerving score replete with profound dramatic declamations but also colored with serenely beautiful melismatic phrases… a score that truly sings, and which sounds like nothing else in the operatic canon… a pretty damn thrilling addition to the repertoire.”

“Stricken with gooseflesh… by the end of the performance”
Raphael Maurice, Alive Magazine – June, 2016
“You’re stricken with gooseflesh and your proverbial hat is blown off by the end of the performance… I can only commend OTSL… for having the grit, bravery, and sense to carry through with the project of the opera…  It’s one thing to see, say, Puccini done perfectly, which OTSL has done this season. It’s quite another to witness an actual world premiere of something that surpasses the old classical operas, given the freshness, the alterity, and risk involved.”

 “Beautifully orchestrated… deserve[s] the thunderous applause… Panikkar triumphs in it!”
Steve Callahan, Broadway World – June, 2016
“Perla’s… beautifully orchestrated score for Shalimar reflects… a strong thread of northern Indian music… a supremely intense raga that supports the conflict beautifully… the musical and vocal virtues of Shalimar the Clown are enough to make it deserve the thunderous applause with which the curtain call was met… Tenor Sean Panikkar stands out… His pure, clear voice displays truly remarkable power. It shines like a beacon… Shalimar is a tour de force role; Panikkar triumphs in it!”

“A reminder that opera is a living breathing art form and that Opera Theatre continues to do its part to keep it that way.”
Chuck Lavazzi, On Stage St. Louis – June 2016
“The best things about this production were the stunning performances by a truly remarkable cast, James Robinson’s clear and theatrically apt direction, the wonderful singing by Robert Ainsley’s chorus, and the superb job conductor Jayce Ogren and the St. Louis Symphony musicians did… a reminder that opera is a living, breathing art form and that Opera Theatre continues to do its part to keep it that way.

“Another example of OTSL’s remarkable success commissioning bold and challenging new pieces.”
Mark Bretz, Ladue News – June, 2016
“Lavishly mounted and stirringly performed, Shalimar the Clown offers another example of OTSL’s remarkable success commissioning bold and challenging new pieces… It is a riveting production stylishly directed by OTSL artistic director James Robinson…”

“A richness that feels close to a good dream… Shalimar the Clown deserves a long life.”
Jay Harvey, Jay Harvey Upstage – June, 2016
“Perla's music has a lavish variety of sound… Conductor Jayce Ogren held masterly sway over the elaborately layered instrumental and vocal textures… Through costuming and lighting, the village has a richness that feels close to a good dream… Shalimar the Clown deserves a long life.”