Mixing impeccable musicianship with colorful visual antics, the New York Chamber Soloists lived up to their reputation for doing the unusual in a thoroughly original and delightful program at the Library of Congress last night.
Marionette artist Daniel Llords joined the ensemble with some of the more than 900 puppets he has created to stage works from the classical repertoire. The centerpiece of the evening was Falla's "Master Peter's Puppet Show," in which Llords acted and sang the puppeteer's role, as well as handling the puppets. The originality of Ravel's music, and the humor of the story, taken from the tales of Don Quixote, rival Stravinsky's "L'Histoire du Soldat" and should earn the work an equally significant revival.
In effective staging the singers acted their roles and the puppet show was placed to reveal the puppeteer's backstage maneuvers. Bass Raymond Murcell and Soprano Jean Hakes were superb both vocally and dramatically. Llords handled himself and his handsome puppets with splendid theatrical sense. The musicians, dressed in colorful costumes, brought a delightful spirit and glory playing to the event.
The earlier part of this most rewarding evening included singing of the highest quality from tenor Charles Bressler in music of Poulenc and Monteverdi.