[20020053] Stand-Up Opera

Stand-Up Opera

BJ Ward @ Elder Hall

8:30pm, Fri 8 Mar 2002

Score: 8

Short Review: Octavulous

One-time Playboy Bunny BJ Ward (who you may know from her extensive TV voiceover experience – my fave being Jana in the Jungle) presents an evening of opera and comedy, with sidekick Joseph Thalken on piano (and, when coaxed, also delivering some powerful vox).

Ward certainly can hold a note, and her range is huge, but her genius is in her comedic timing. Her analyses of various popular operas are bloody funny; she amusingly dealt with sneezing “hecklers”; and the audience participation bits (“ci”) were a delight. Thalken also proved to have the comic touch – the Swiss aria bit was a hoot.

The second act begins with Ward wandering through the audience, serenading as she goes, but then takes a very humorous turn as Ward “teaches” Thalken to sing, and thereafter perform a “Don Giovanni” duet – both on piano and vox. They then promise an entire opera in seven minutes – and deliver Puccini’s “Turandot”, again with a great deal of wit.

Sure, Ward and Thalken may not be the wunderkind of their arts – but they can both belt out steady notes, and they’re both enjoying what they do. Really, this show should be a must for anyone (like me) who knows jack about opera – it’s educational, but most of all, FUN.

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