Scenic Designer: Martin T. Lopez; Costume Designer: Miranda Hoffman; Lighting Designer: Josh Epstein
Lawrence Edelson, Director and Choreographer
Manhattan School of Music - 2009

“Manhattan School of Music again did New York’s opera-goers a service in mounting a fine, persuasive account of a rarely-staged work, Fauré’s Pénélope. It will surely never be a repertory staple – the libretto’s odd excision of the entire Te1emachus sub-plot makes Penelope’s overall effect somewhat static - but approached seriously, as here by the excellent conductor Laurent Pillot and ingenious director Lawrence Edelson, it makes a compelling evening in the lyric theatre. Edelson managed a great deal of dramatic variety on the Borden Auditorium’s smallish space.”

Opera Magazine, UK

“The imaginative staging by Lawrence Edelson bristled with activity for the secondary characters, especially the hard-drinking suitors and the servant girls who help them pass the time. Edelson invented playful business for a Ulysse who slips in and out of disguise, and the director took advantage of the multiple levels and symbolism of the lapidary set by Martin T. Lopez.”

Opera News

“Fauré’s “Pénélope” is a critics’ favorite of longstanding…The production, by Lawrence Edelson, was simple and attractive.”

The New York Times

“For lovers of rare French opera, and fans of Gabriel Fauré last night’s premiere of Pénélope at the Manhattan School of Music was a nuit divine…Lawrence Edelson left not a nook or cranny uncovered in his direction, helping make these characters come to vivid life. Visually there were so many wonderful moments in this staging it would be impossible to recall them all here, but several were just too beautiful not to mention. The serving maids entrance, with their Greek masks and beautifully uniform choreographed gestures and the human “wall” they make to prevent the suitors from attacking the palace. Pénélope’s despair as she sits weaving at her loom, the metallic silver threads and its frame weaving her into a sort of visual tapestry. The entire second act with the shepherds on the hill, the despondent Pénélope thinking of hurling herself off the cliff into the sea, and the final image of the reunited king and queen on their thrones, with an enormous shower of rose petals being tossed from the shepherds on the second level. All of this – and so much more, were just beautiful to behold…For so rarely performed an opera, this performance set a standard. In a perfect world, this run would be extended, the performance captured for DVD release, but, helas, such is not the world in which we live.”


“Director Lawrence Edelson’s adroit handling of the tale kept the opera moving forward…All in all, a welcome tribute to a marginal work.”

Musical America

“Manhattan School of Music presented a beautifully stylized production of a rarity, Fauré’s Pénélope”

New York Observer (Featured in “The Very Best of the Fall Opera Season”)