HOUSTON GRAND OPERA | OCTOBER 2020
If you want a primer on how to film opera while each singer is safely separately spaced, this one-acter is the sine qua non of how to do it and do it exquisitely. Vinkensport is billed as comic opera, but there's so much more to it, thanks to the stunning co-direction from bass-baritone Ryan McKinny and E. Loren Meeker. Visually, it's a treat, a real movie.
D.L. GROOVER / HOUSTON PRESS
HGO Isn’t “Fowltering” with Its Mockumentary Staging of Vinkensport...The peculiar premise isn’t the only thing that makes Vinkensport different from other HGO productions. This digital show has been filmed as a kind of mockumentary, alternating between interviews with the trainers during one of these vinkenzetting events and b-roll footage of them in their everyday lives.
The video realization, by McKinny and E. Loren Meeker, is well-nigh ideal...Vinkensport sets out to be little more than a diversion, but it achieves its aim with professionalism and wit, and its translation to video is bracing evidence that HGO, in these troubled times, is very much in the game.
FRED COHN / OPERA NEWS
OLIVIA FLORES ALVAREZ / HOUSTONIA
WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA | FEBRUARY & MARCH 2020
Director E. Loren Meeker’s main conceptual notion was a silent cohort of white-clad women, the Don’s past conquests haunting the stage, shifting the center of gravity toward a female vantage. There were flashes of wit (Elvira entering with a train of literal baggage was a nice touch). But the overall strategy was lean, eschewing grandeur, setting up the singers to succeed and then getting out of their way.
MATTHEW GUERRIERI / THE WASHINGTON POST
Washington National Opera’s production of Don Giovanni, set in a marbled corporate lobby haunted by specters of women, underlines the ways this opera has always been way ahead of its time. Timely is an understatement: this production, directed by E. Loren Meeker with set designed by Erhard Rom, appeared days after Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of crimes not dissimilar from Don Giovanni, and although no ghost has yet to swallow him up, when has an opera that premiered in 1788 ever felt as prescient? This production takes full advantage of this, lining up voiceless women in white along stark office walls, staircases, and balconies, unafraid to shy away from some of the beloved arias, such as Leporello’s Catalogue aria, which rang with a darker overtone. It doesn't hammer in the point, but it doesn't have to.
SYDNEY BOYD / BACHTRACK
While Lorenzo da Ponte’s libretto certainly offers plenty of opportunity to go full tilt on the #MeToo movement messaging, in her directorial debut with the WNO, E. Loren Meeker’s less-is-more approach was the right one, letting the score do the work of depicting the searing pain caused by the serial rapist and murderer Giovanni, while relying on set and stage design to place in stark relief the work’s larger thematic treatment of pure evil.
WHITNEY FISHBURN / DC METRO THEATER ARTS
Feature: Eleanora Magazine
"THE CASE FOR COMMUNITY: WHY IT'S A THRILLING TIME TO BE A FEMALE ARTIST"
"People think of opera as being male-centric and yes, until recently, opera was written, composed, conducted and directed by men. Yet opera is full of amazing female characters with exciting and relevant stories. I think that women, both onstage and off, want to see stories told with a modern, feminine perspective–or at the very least, with a balanced perspective. Women are now actively telling these great operatic stories in communities across the globe."
E. LOREN MEEKER / ELEANORA MAGAZINE
The Pearl Fishers
HOUSTON GRAND OPERA | JANUARY 2019
"The Houston Grand Opera’s current production, directed by E. Loren Meeker, is a spectacle and a half, breathing new life into the work with imaginative visuals and a stellar cast."
HANNAH CHE / HOUSTONIA MAGAZINE
NEW ORLEANS OPERA | SEPTEMBER 2018
"Director E. Loren Meeker brought numerous interesting touches to the proceedings, and in general handled the crowd scenes effectively."
GEORGE DANSKER / OPERA NEWS
OPERA SAN ANTONIO | MAY 2018
"It’s an uncommonly lithe staging. This is that rare opera production in which every action of every character is purposeful and natural – not a false note the entire evening. As much as the words and the music, Ms. Meeker’s abundant, intelligently placed details show us who the characters are."
MIKE GREENBERG / MUSIC INCIDENT LIGHT
"Giacomo Puccini’s 'La Bohème' is an opera about the young and aimed at the young of heart. Which was what was so refreshing Thursday night in Opera San Antonio’s production of the Puccini masterpiece. Its cast was young, talented and ambitious, just like their characters... this 'La Bohème' presented an emotionally stirring experience for the audience of more than 1,100 people... Soprano Jessica Jones stormed into the cafe scene in Act Two as the vivacious Musetta, delivering the act’s knockout “Waltz” song, hitting all the high notes with supreme confidence before ending the act with a can-can dance. The dance was one of the many nice touches added by stage director E. Loren Meeker and [choreographer Eric Sean Fogel]."
DAVID HENDRICKS / HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Pelléas et Mélisande
BOSTON UNIVERSITY OPERA INSTITUTE | APRIL 2018
"Last weekend’s clarifying BU Opera Institute production at the Majestic dispensed with the gallimaufry of framing a timeless fairytale in a naturalistic stage picture box while accompanying it with emphatically advanced if highly agreeable music... E. Loren Meeker encouraged the performers to move with stateliness, and to direct their vocal effusions to one another rather than barking to the back rows. The quiet impersonations brought Method intensity to the exponents of Maeterlinck’s loaded prose."
LEE EISEMAN / THE BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER
SEATTLE OPERA | APRIL 2018
" 'Aida' may well be the grandest of the grand operas, but it needs inspired staging and exceptional voices in order to make Verdi’s masterpiece shine. Seattle Opera’s current 'Aida' does just that... Francesca Zambello, a renowned stage director with a lot of Seattle Opera history, created the original staging for this production; E. Loren Meeker has reinterpreted the staging for Seattle. The result is an imaginative balance between the show’s big-moment pageantry and the intimate smaller-scale scenes. 'Aida' can feel like a series of pompous tableaux, but this production is never static, always evolving."
MELINDA BARGREEN / SEATTLE TIMES
"E. Loren Meeker’s stage direction [is] surprisingly effective. There were few stock gestures... In the end, the evening demonstrated how difficult it is to meet Verdi’s demands with flawless strength and beauty. Few productions have been as eye-catching and unforgettable as Zambello and RETNA’s."
"While this is basically a French grand opera, Francesca Zambello, the original stage director, and E. Loren Meeker, the stage director for Seattle Opera’s production, did not let the spectacle steamroll 'Aida’s' human story."
MAGGIE LARRICK / QUEEN ANNE & MAGNOLIA NEWS
JASON VICTOR SERINUS / BACHTRACK
The Daughter of the Regiment
ATLANTA OPERA | FEBRUARY 2018
"Stage director E. Loren Meeker delivered a vibrant show with an endearing Gilbert and Sullivan feel..."
STEPHANIE ADRIAN / OPERA NEWS
"E. Loren Meeker's production of Gaetano Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment (or La fille du régiment) was like a finely tuned cuckoo clock, the well-oiled moving gears seamlessly presenting Atlanta Opera's setting at the Cobb Energy and Performing Arts Center with minimal distractions... The production was set for success with E. Loren Meeker's directing..."
DANIEL WEISMAN / SCHMOPERA
"Stage director E. Loren Meeker and choreographer Meg Gillentine have created an opera with little extraneous movement, where everything has its purpose and the purpose is usually comedic. The group numbers are special highlight, and the Act II trio "Tous les trois reunis" (“All three of us reunited”) is a number to remember just as much for Donizetti’s brilliant music as the popping physical comedy that accompanies it."
BASIL CONSIDINE / THE CHATTANOOGAN
MADISON OPERA | NOVEMBER 2017
"It is a rousing production, brought off with great spirit. Particular praise is due to stage director E. Loren Meeker, who produces activity as needed, sometimes lively, other times subtle."
JOHN W. BARKER / ISTHMUS
"It’s the nuance in individual expression that makes it memorable and, astonishingly, new... It would be easy to make Carmen harder opposite softer, sweeter Micaela, José’s erstwhile country mouse girlfriend. Director E. Loren Meeker resists the trope."
LINDSAY CHRISTIANS / THE CAP TIMES
LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO | OCTOBER 2017
"In addition, the excellent director, E. Loren Meeker, has devised an inspired innovation, so that as the overture is still being played we see a bereft Rigoletto (Quinn Kelsey), court jester to the Duke of Mantua (Matthew Polenzani), peering up at the small window where he once believed he could keep his beloved daughter, Gilda (Rosa Feola), safely hidden away. That, of course, was not to be. And the rest is a flashback of the catastrophic events... Driven by a perfect storm of glorious singing, superb acting and stunning design, the performance was met by the sort of extended ovation not often heard these days. And it deserved every bravo that echoed through the audience."
HEDY WEISS / CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
"The last couple of Lyric “Rigoletto” productions have ranged from muddled to disastrous, but this one, using handsome sets that originated at the San Francisco Opera in 1997, and deftly staged by revival director E. Loren Meeker, works to tell the story directly, without fuss or fustian."
"Director E. Loren Meeker brings these interesting characters vividly to life by artfully arranging their movements, such as in the opening tableau and in the way certain individuals are tossed about by the crowds."
BARNABY HUGHES / STAGE & CINEMA
JOHN VON RHEIN / CHICAGO TRIBUNE
La pietra del paragone
WOLF TRAP OPERA | SUMMER 2017
"The animated Wolf Trap cast, imaginatively directed by E. Loren Meeker, sporting whimsical costumes by Erik Teague [in] a performance that merrily romped all over an Erhard Rom-designed stage got its visual energy from rotating rectangular panels and projections. (Additional energy was amusingly generated by cardboard cutouts of animals that were trotted out for the hunt scene.)"
TIM SMITH / OPERA NEWS
"To the credit of the Wolf Trap Opera and E. Loren Meeker, the stage director, the company’s new production, concealed the flimsiness of the plot through a combination of humor and strong performances... Meeker’s madcap production helped make this scenario antic rather than merely tiresome... There is also an obligatory hunt/storm scene with music that foreshadows Rossini’s subsequent effort in “The Barber of Seville,” which in Meeker’s staging got belly laughs from the audience as animals and people crossed the stage in exaggerated slapstick poses."
ANNE MIDGETTE / THE WASHINGTON POST
"Rossini's The Touchstone triumphs at Wolf Trap... E. Loren Meeker’s fast-paced production of The Touchstone (La Pietra del paragone) at Wolf Trap was a delightful romp and a vehicle for showcasing some excellent emerging coloratura talent... a good performance of Touchstone shows you how refreshingly un-Romantic it can be if everything, every single thing, is performed with a knowing sense of irony. Meeker knows all this and allows it free rein: she luxuriates in stylization, and then some. Case in point: Candice, when dressed up as her pretend “long lost” twin brother (we, of course, welcome every hoary old cliché in the high-camp aesthetic) was holding up a moustache before her face, and so were all her military subalterns (for all the world as if they were selfie-sticks). One doesn’t need to suspend disbelief in Rossini’s world. One can go on blithely disbelieving, and in a clever production, one is actually encouraged to do so: just sit back and enjoy the fantasy."