Yesterday we saw soprano aerialist Elizabeth Wohl debut her one-woman show Laudate, A Singing Circus.
We know Elizabeth a bit from her legal work for the hospital, and we’ve run into her around town and heard her sing at the Friday night opera sings at the Brooks House. She’s also a student of the aerial silks and a board member at NECCA. And the wife of a newspaper columnist and state legislator. She is as charming as she is ecumenical.
In this show, the proceeds of which all went to NECCA and the Brattleboro Music Center, she tried to combine the soaring voice with the actual soaring. In the introduction, we were challenged to decide whether that was genius or mere stubbornness. Some of both, and an awesome clinic in breath control.
Altogether, she sang 11 pieces, ranging from Bach, Handel and Mozart to Copland and Bernstein. Some were sung on the ground, recital style, and others involved various amounts of acrobatics. She had accompaniment from piano, violin, and bass.
She definitely succeeded in illuminating some of the texts in a new way. Hearing Copland’s setting of the Emily Dickinson verse “Why do they shut me out of heaven? Was it for singing too loud”? as she clambered up and up and then spun down to the ground was marvelous. “Dream with me” from Bernstein’s Peter Pan and “Je veux vivre” from Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet made wonderful sense swinging in the silks.
While I doubt the show will find its way onto a larger stage, she packed the room with family, friends, and curious others, raised a little money for good works, and certainly exorcised any remaining performance anxiety she may have been harboring. It was a little weird, powerfully moving at times, kinda silly at others. That is to say, it was a deep drink of distilled Brattleboro.