An audience of about 400 came Saturday to Quiet Waters Park and remained, despite mid-90-degree heat, for the entire Annapolis Opera program of "Operetta in the Park."
All three singers were in fine voice and had stage presence, charm and more than enough stamina to qualify as dedicated troupers.
Tenor Douglas Bowles sang in a pseudo-military uniform, including a high-collared shirt plus jacket, and still managed a romantic gaze at soprano Mary Gresock. Baritone Thomas Zielinski also seemed to enjoy performing in the heat. Victoria Gau provided excellent accompaniment on a diminutive electronic piano.
Difficulties with the sound system marred the first half of the program. Voice pickup was erratic, the problems compounded by feedback resulting from poor placement of speakers. Zielinski was cut off in midnote of "Ol' Man River" because the batteries on his body microphone died. However, most of these sound problems were remedied by the second half.
Mary Gresock was outstanding. Seemingly oblivious to the weather, she delivered an all but flawless performance. She did a rhythmic "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" (from "Show Boat"), an enchanting "Summertime" (from "Porgy and Bess") and a
sparkling "Laughing Song" (from "Die Fledermaus." Also serving as producer-director of the program, Gresock helped buoy the male singers. Bowles was noticeably off-key early in "Make Believe," but he found the right notes and gained confidence when she joined him. He sang Victor Herbert's "Everybody Else's Girl Looks Better Than Mine" in fine style.
Zielinski was initially off-key and had problems with the lyrics of .. "Ol' Man River" (even before his battery died), but he recovered on "It Ain't Necessarily So."
Both men have fine voices, so it was fortunate that they solved their initial difficulties. They distinguished themselves in the second half of the program, which was devoted to the music of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Bowles and Gresock appeared in Annapolis Opera's Gilbert and Sullivan program last year. At Quiet Waters, they and Zielinski did a fine job of interpreting music from "The Pirates of Penzance," "The Yeomen of the Guard" and "H.M.S. Pinafore."
Audience members enjoyed the program so thoroughly that they remained seated until the last song was sung. The operetta got the Quiet Waters' concert series season off to a fine start.
L Information on other concerts at Quiet Waters: 410-222-1777.
Pub Date: 6/26/97