Chicago Opera Review: DON QUICHOTTE AUF DER HOCHZEIT DES COMACHO (Haymarket Opera)

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by Barnaby Hughes on March 14, 2015

in Theater-Chicago


Closing out their fourth season with Georg Philipp Telemann’s Don Quichotte auf der Hochzeit des Camacho (Don Quixote at the Wedding of Camacho), Haymarket Opera Company beautifully rescues another early opera from obscurity. The composer’s final operatic composition, written in 1761, Don Quichotte’s single act runs slightly longer than an hour. In director Sarah Edgar’s hands, it is a gem of comedic farce.

Don Quichotte begins with the titular knight errant and his faithful companion Sancho Panza stopping for some much-needed rest. Instead of sleeping, each sets the scene for what follows by reminiscing about their adventures. When they are joined by a wedding party, Don Quixote waxes lyrical about Dulcinea and Sancho unfavorably compares his wife to an ass. Finally, the the bride Quiteria’s poor lover Basilio tricks her into marrying him instead of her wealthy suitor Comacho by faking a mortal wound. These ridiculous scenes only work because of Edgar’s excellent direction, a fine cast, and Telemann’s splendid score.


Baritone Ryan de Ryke’s Sancho Panza easily steals the spotlight with his delightfully warm voice and humorous antics, especially during the aria “Mein Esel is das beste Tier.” Peter van de Graaf’s Don Quixote gives a compelling and enjoyable performance, though his vibrato is too pronounced. It would have been nice to hear more of Shawn Mlynek’s bright, velvety tenor, but his character Basilio only appears at the very end. As a shepherdess singing a delightful wedding song, soprano Kaitlin Foley gets plenty of opportunity to display her pretty voice, but doesn’t quite capture the playfulness of Telemann’s music.

Meriem Bahri’s gorgeous and well-researched costume designs are one of the chief delights of this production, as is the period orchestra led by artistic director Craig Trompeter and concertmaster Jeri-Lou Zike. An energetic and breathtaking performance by Jory Vinikour of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for Harpsichord precedes the opera, adding welcome length and variety to an eminently entertaining program.

photos by Chuck Osgood and Elliot Mandel

Don Quichotte auf der Hochzeit des Comacho
Haymarket Opera Company
Mayne Stage, 1328 W Morse Ave
ends on March 14, 2015
for tickets, call (866) 468-3401 or visit
for info, call (866) 468-3401 or visit

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