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Virginia Opera: Street Scene

Benjamin Werley and April Martin, and Lippo Fiorentino and Greta Fiorentino. Street Scene, Virginia Opera 2018

“But along the way there were other good doses of comic relief: Tenor Benjamin Werley, paying musical tribute to the wonders of ice cream as Lippo Fiorentino; Baritone Trevor Neal as the happy singing and jamming janitor Henry Davis; Ahnastasia Albert (Mae Jones) and David Michael Bevis (Dick McGann) singing and dancing their drunken way in “Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed”; Peter Kendall Clark as Rose’s slimy boss Harry Easter; and Talin Nalbandian and Adriane S. Kerr as the nosy nursemaids.”

GRACE JEAN- Washington Classical Review

"Standouts in the large ensemble included...Benjamin Werley as the spirited Lippo Fiorentino (his bright tenor shone in the irresistible Ice Cream Sextet)"

TIM SMITH-Opera News

Street Scene is full of wonderful moments, too numerous to mention, but here are some highlights: Trevor Neal, as the janitor Henry Davis, singing “I Got a Marble and a Star;” Peter Kendall Clark, as Rose’s creepy boss Harry Easter, unsuccessfully trying to seduce her in “Wouldn’t You Like to Be on Broadway;” Alan Fischer as the speechifying neighborhood Marxist; a sextet praising ice cream cones, in light Italian opera style, led by Benjamin Werley as Lippo Fiorentino; two nannies pushing prams (Talin Nalbandian and Adrienne S. Kerr) who simultaneously try to calm their babies and gossip about the crime they’ve read about in the papers; and two ensemble numbers for children who express innocent hope and joy in “Catch Me If You Can” and “Wrapped Up in a Ribbon and a Bow.”

BOB ASHLEY-DC Metro Theater Arts

“Kurt Weill’s love of America is evident in at least two places. The first is “The Ice Cream Sextet” The new Americans blend their voices into a musical mixing pot celebration of a unique American invention – the ice cream cone. Led by Benjamin Werley’s winsome Lippo Fiorentino, he is joined by his wife Greta, played by April Martin, Carl and Olga Olsen (Ryan D. Kuster and Melisa Bonetti), Vincent Jones, played by Joshua Arky, and the Henry Davis of Trevor Neal. The group wins the audience over with their joyful singing”


“Yet there are lighter moments, and even comic relief, as in the “Ice Cream Sextet.” Neighbor and Italian immigrant Lippo Fiorentino (Benjamin Werley) brings home ice cream to his neighbors in the hot June weather: he and the other sextet members fluctuate between jazz, Broadway, and operatic stylistics, all on the topic of ice cream! Like much else in Street Scene, the mundane life of the everyman is raised to sublime art.”



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