Reviews

Wotan, Wanderer
Ring Cycle
Long Beach Opera

Rod Nelman surmounted the hurdles of all the Wotans with indefatigable sturdiness.

This “Ring” is, simply put, an amazing, entertaining, overwhelming and theatrically delicious experience If you see or have seen other productions, these singers are the characters you’ll remember in these iconic roles. See Rod Nelman as Wotan, the one-eyed god whose mistakes doom the world, (think shave-headed Bruce Willis with an eye patch and spear) and you’ll never want another. His voice is powerful, and his Wotan grows over the three operas. At first he is dignified and in charge, later enraged and violent, finally resigned to his fate.

Enough cannot be said about Rod Nelman as Wotan, convincingly solid in stature and voice. The words seem to blast imperiously from his lips.

The level of talent Long Beach opera brought for together for this production was astonishing. Rod Nelman as Wotan in the first three operas embodied a virile god of iron will, with a penetrating voice that never seemed to tire.

Head god Wotan (rounded, rock solid, patient bass-baritone Rod Nelman) strides the earth in search of the ring and its power.

Wotan, Wanderer
Ring Cycle
Pittsburgh Opera Theater

Rod Nelman sang all three Wotans valiantly, within a span of twenty-six hours, sounding as fresh when Siegfried broke his spear as he had in his opening lines on the mountaintop above the Rhine.

Rod Nelman was effective as Wotan, using his resonant instrument effectively and emphasizing the situational ethics of a personality that subsumes honor to the exigencies of power.

Morosus
Die Schweigsame Frau
Long Beach Opera

Vocally, luminosity of tone and dramatic point balanced the satirical airs at hand. Especially impressive were Rod Nelman, in the anchoring role as the old misogynist Sir Morosus, and Anna Vikre as his chameleonic innocent-turned wicked Aminta.

And Rod Nelman, as Morosus was simply phenomenal. He has a bass voice to die for, and superb acting chops to boot. A former admiral who still wears his life vest around the house, the Morosus could easily be written off as a nut. But Nelman kept it real, and the comedy, anger and pathos in his well-rounded characterization were all believable. And the voice!

George
Of Mice and Men
New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Florentine Opera, Washington Opera

Driven by Anthony Dean Griffey’s disarmingly openhearted characterization of the dim, trouble-prone but sweet-natured Lennie, and Rod Nelman’s equally crucial portrayal of his fellow migrant worker George, Rhoda Levine’s production, staged by Andrew Chown, maintained its grip from the first pre-curtain siren to Curley’s final show of rage over Lennie’s corpse. Nelman’s George had a rock-steady presence, physically and vocally. His smooth, expressive bass was especially compelling in reprising his vocal evocation of the farm they’ve dreamed of buying – an effort to make Lennie’s final moments as serene as possible.

This Washington Opera production stars two superb singer-actors in the lead roles. Bass-baritone Rod Nelman as George is at once a loyal friend and a hopeless dreamer. Taking on the responsibility of the childlike Lennie, Mr. Nelman’s George alternately rages at his charge’s skill in getting them into trouble, yet supports him like a son when they dream together of a better future. Mr. Nelman’s voice is crisp and clear, and his command of his complex character makes the opera’s genuinely teary denouement all the more heart-rendering.

in the cast is deserving of praise, especially the two leading singers: Rod Nelman as a thoroughly admirable, deeply contained George, and Anthony Dean Griffey as an unforgettable Lennie.

Rod Nelman as George takes out his deep-voiced anger in the first scene, where both are hiding from the police in a junk yard, and turns sonorous whenever describing the farm home he expects to buy.

Of Mice and Men a true triumph. Glimmerglass Opera opened the fourth and final opera of the summer season Saturday with a sensational, must-see production of American composer Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. Judging by the expression on Floyd’s face during the bows, he was eminently pleased with what he saw, and well he should have been, for it is difficult to imagine a more satisfying performance. Bass Rod Nelman, as Lennie’s companion, turns in a beautiful performance as the protector. One wants to dislike him for leaning so hard on Lennie, but Nelman steals the heart with strong acting and powerful singing.

Of Mice and Men is monumental production. The performances are exceptional, Anthony Dean Griffey singing, and his duets with George, sung by baritone Rod Nelman, are powerful and emotionally draining. We know the ending, yet it is still a shock. The power of the story and singers Nelman and Griffey make Of Mice and Men a not-to-be missed production at the Glimmerglass opera.

Bass Rod Nelman was a superb George, vocally supple and dramatically sure in every move: Nelman wrung every ounce of credibility from the final scene.

The central figures are George Milton, portrayed at Glimmerglass by bass Rod Nelman, and Lennie Small, sung by Metropolitan Opera tenor Anthony Dean Griffey. Nelman was excellent as George, a man dedicated to supporting his companion through thick and thin.

As George Milton, Rod Nelman brings a strong voice and plenty of conviction to his role.

Glimmerglass cast carries Mice and Men. Glimmerglass’ suberb production of Carlisle Floyd’s of Mice and Men gets three out of four stars. Rod Nelman is also good as the long-suffering companion George.

Of Mice and Men a must see. The talented cast furthered Carlisle Floyd’s vision by responding to the music and giving captivating performances. Rod Nelman (“George”) did a fabulous job as Lennie’s friend George. His bass-baritone voice continually conveyed his loyalty to his dimwitted companion right down to the tragic ending when his loyalty to his friend was tested.

The bass Rod Nelman was outstanding as George, showing marvelous diction, strong action and a deeply touching grasp of the character.

What has become more and more apparent at the annual Glimmerglass Opera season is a superb sensibility for casting the right singers in the right roles. It happened again this summer. Strong, beautiful, expressive voices, in accord with character, were matched by excellent acting skills. Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men was given a brilliant production. Floyd is not afraid to let the music soar with moving eloquence, and in Rod Nelman’s George and Anthony Dean Griffey’s Lennie, Glimmerglass found the perfect interpreters. Their interaction, both vocally and dramatically was riveting. Nelman sang with wonderful commitment and control, especially in his great “visionary” aria of Act II.

This production is superbly acted and sung. In the role of George, Rod Nelman’s tremendous bass-baritone voice seems almost too big for the role. The final scene of the opera is astounding.

Opera offers perfect match. The key interplay between Lennie and George is just right, and Rod Nelman and Michael Hendrick are unusually well-matched vocally, and Nelman is unusually melodic and supple for a bass.  Nelman also looks the part of the road-weary wanderer who tries to protect his sidekick, the simple minded Lennie Small.

Rod Nelman proves to be one of the few superb bass singers on the opera stage. His voice is clear and succulent down to the bottom of his range. And, again, he is a fine actor showing his driven protective passion for Lennie.