INTENSE INTERROGATIONS: Inspector Goole (Shawn Fennell) stares down his resistant suspect (Aaron Strand) in a rehearsal for Princeton Summer Theaters production of J.B. Priestleys An Inspector Calls, a 1945 psychological murder mystery with a heavy dose of social commentary, running through July 27 at the Hamilton Murray Theater on the Princeton University campus.
There is an air of excitement this summer at the Hamilton Murray Theater on the Princeton University campus. It’s the kind of excitement that pervades a theater when what’s happening on stage is happening with the full commitment, energy, intelligence, and imagination of all involved. It’s the kind of excitement that makes theater emotionally and intellectually engaging — meaningful to present and well worth seeing. The purveyors of this excitement and first-rate entertainment are the dedicated, young ensemble of the Princeton Summer Theater (PST) company. Their current production, J.B. Priestley’s 1945 socially conscious murder mystery An Inspector Calls, is another winner.
How times have changed; if a virtual stranger walked up to you professing eternal love, you would at a minimum consider calling the authorities, if not canceling that online dating subscription. However, such is the stuff of 19th century opera, and Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was among the best of his time in providing audiences with musical drama that pulled at the public heartstrings. La Traviata, which premiered in Venice in 1853, was not quite the immediate success Verdi likely envisioned, but since that time, has become a beloved staple of the operatic repertory worldwide. Opera New Jersey, in its fifth summer season, brought a concise and appealing production of “Trav,” as it has become known in singers’ circles, to McCarter Theater’s Berlind Theatre on Friday night for the first of five performances. Conducted by Fernando Raucci (known to area audiences as the conductor of the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra), La Traviata was presented in Italian with English subtitles.