Ingenues Give Us Hope

Two fresh-faced singers in ingenue roles helped me realize how youth and innocence can restore our faith in the future. In “The Always Present Present,” seen in Princeton, with lyrics by Renee Weiss and score by Peter Westergaard, Darlene Kelsey fairly radiated joy, love, and sweet passion for her lover and future husband. There was some dancing. Net: The dancing was good, the singing fabulous.

The following week I was lucky to get a friend’s extra ticket to the revival of West Side Story, with the original Jerome Robbins choreography. Argentinian opera singer Josefina Scaglione sang her heart out as Maria in the tale of the star-crossed lovers. I have a hard time with the tragedy of this story but Scaglione’s unswerving love made me believe, for at least that day, that love can conquer evil. Net: The singing was good, the dancing — of course — fabulous.

The Center City Opera has scheduled one more performance of the Weiss/Westergaard collaboration, on Saturday, September 12, at the Lantern Theater, 10th and Ludlow streets in Philadelphia. Tickets are $25 and are available online, by calling (215) 238-1555 or at the door. At 2 p.m. on the 12th, a documentary about Ted and Renee Weiss will be shown ($5). And West Side Story is a true “don’t miss” at the Palace. Peanut gallery seats would be sufficient, with opera glasses, but note it has a 2 hour 40 minute running time.

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