Review: ANGEL

by Lynn on November 9, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

A film premier available until November 12, 2021.

Conducted by David Fallis

Directed by Marshall Pynkoski

Choreographed by Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg

Choreographer, performer, contemporary solos, Tyler Gledhill

Translator, Grace Andreacchi

Resident set designer/Art Director, Gerard Gauci

Costume designer, Michael Legouffe

Costume designer, Michael Gianfrancesco

Composer Edwin Huizinga

Filmmaker, Marcel Canzona

Audio production by Matthew Antal

Additional music: Overture from Here all they active fires diffuse by William Boyce;

Curtain Tune from The Tempest by Matthew Locke,

“Summer 1 and Winter 1 from Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi The Four Seasons/Max Richter

Cast: Colin Ainsworth

Mireille Asselin

Jesse Blumberg

Measha Brueggergosman

Meghan Lindsay

John Tibbetts

Douglas Williams

Plus Artists of Atelier Ballet, Tafelmusik (Music Director, Elisa Citterio), The Nathaniel Dett Chorale (D. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, Founder/Artistic Director).

NOTE: As with all Opera Atelier productions that I review, I will be focusing on the theatricality of the piece which is where my ‘expertise’ is and not commenting on the dancing and singing.

Opera Atelier co-artistic directors, Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg have named the 2021-2022 season, “Wings of Desire.” This filmed piece is entitled Angel and has been in development for four years.

From Marshall Pynkoski’s programme note: “Angel explores timeless themes of heroes versus atni-heroes, loss of innocence, isolation and redemption. The story—although loosely chronological, is not meant to be linear. The texts selected from Milton’s Paradise Lost and Rilke’s mystic poetry have been chosen ‘not so much for their clarified straightforwardness as for their richness, suggestiveness and harmonious resources.’ (NOTE:  The epic  poem Paradise Lost concerns the biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.)

The action of Angel is broken down as follows: Angel, Separation, Creation, Sacrifice, Harbinger, Incarnation. It is our hope that the music, text, dancing and staging of Angel will wash over you like a dream—giving you a brief respite from the rather fraught world we currently inhabit.”

In truth Angel is so full of Opera Atelier’s trademark attention to detail in creating beauty and artistry that we are totally engaged and enlivened by the results. This tingling engagement also offers “a brief respite from the rather fraught world we currently inhabit.” Angel is a crowning achievement of composer Edwin Huizinga who was commissioned by Opera Atelier to compose the piece.

The pandemic might have provided obstacles to co-artistic directors, Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg in producing their usual in person productions, but these artists are resourceful and ‘leapt’ over the obstacles.  They adapted without missing a step to produce this film by Marcel Canzona of the fully staged production by Marshall Pynkoski. It was filmed at St. Lawrence Hall. The Opera Atelier creative team has branched out in their endeavors to now embrace film which captures the elegant theatricality of their productions. Angel is the first production conceived exclusively as a film. Opera Atelier’s previous two on-line presentations: Something Rich & Strange and Resurrection were hybrid creations as the company coped with the ever-changing COVID restrictions.

Angel is a cohesive collaborative affair between director Marshall  Pynkoski, the full corps of Artists of Atelier Ballet with choreography by Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg and additional solo contemporary choreography created and performed by Tyler Gledhill, and featuring the renowned Tafelmusik conducted by David Fallis.with The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, under the direction of D. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor.

Designers Gerard Gauci for sets and art direction and Michael Gianfrancesco and Michael Legouffe for costumes have created an ethereal look and feel to the production. Mist billows out in eerie light that creates a sense of both heaven and hell. Gerard Gauci’s floor design echoes the configuration of the stars when they first began filming and that too adds to the atmosphere.

There is a sense that the billowing costumes worn by the dancers and singers are choreographed as well as the material flows as if on a breeze, as characters flit quickly from one point to another.

The singers are stellar: soprano Measha Brueggergosmantenor Colin Ainsworth, soprano Mireille Asselin, baritone Jesse Blumberg, soprano Meghan Lindsay, baritone John Tibbetts and bass-baritone Douglas Williams. The artists of Atelier Ballet choreographed by Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg with solos choregraphed and danced by Tyler Gladhill are also stellar.

As always one gets an education in music, dance, singing, grace, harmony, history and art by experiencing a production by Opera Atelier, whether in live production or now film. Angel is an example of such artistry. Bravo.   

Created by Opera Atelier

Streams: until Nov. 12, 2021.

Running Time: 70 minutes.

Tickets and information at

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