by Peter Feher
Cleveland Opera Theater saw the payoff of several years’ work when La Casa de Bernarda Alba premiered earlier this month. The production, fully realized on the mainstage at Baldwin Wallace University’s Kleist Center for Art and Drama from June 9-12, didn’t just spring out of nowhere. The company nurtured the piece through its New Opera Works Festival beginning in 2017 with a series of public readings of the source material.
And Federico García Lorca’s 1936 play is a good place to start. La Casa de Bernarda Alba makes for highly effective theater in that the simplest elements (a chair, a door, an offstage character) generate all the drama. Even in this operatic adaptation, Scott Skiba’s direction and Jeff Herrmann’s set design emphasized the essentials and communicated much of the action silently.