(Four Stars) Ted Huffman’s staging is a hand-crafted masterpiece. Carefully thought through to the smallest detail and full of imagination with seemingly little effort. In this intimate setting sings and plays the excellent Junges Ensemble of the Theater an der Wien. Ted Huffmans Inszenierung ist eine handwerkliche Glanzleistung. Durchdacht bis ins kleinste Detail und vor allem höchst fantasievoll mit scheinbar wenig Aufwand. In diesem intimen Rahmen singt und spielt das Junge Ensemble des Theater an der Wien ausgezeichnet.
Marion Eigl, Kurier (October 6, 2014)
This is charming and fits the simple and beautiful production of Ted Huffman, who, apart from a multi-functional wall in the background, lets us look back in time to the early 19th century. Beginning with an incredibly beautiful vase with flowers on the dining table ... Tchaikovsky’s epistolary call “the costumes must necessarily be from the time in which the action takes place” was met. The many scenes succeeded because Huffman and the five new members of the Young Ensemble made them so believable that you feel transported to another time. Das ist charmant und passt zur schlicht-schönen Inszenierung von Ted Huffman, die, von einer Multifunktionswand im Hintergrund abgesehen, in die Zeit des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts zurückblicken lässt. Superschön die Vase mit Blumen auf dem Esstisch ...Tschaikowskys brieflicher Forderung “die Kostüme müssen unbedingt aus der Zeit sein, in der die Handlung spielt”, wurde entsprochen. Manche Ensembleszenen gelingen Huffman und den fünf neuen Mitgliedern des Jungen Ensembles so glaubhaft, dass man sich in eine andere Zeit versetzt fühlt.
Stefan Ender, Der Standard (October 7, 2014)
A complete delight — fresh, funny, sometimes bawdy, and often deeply touching….the production was splendid. Ted Huffman’s direction made it easy to keep up with the many disguises and mistaken identities that advance the plot, and it was unfailingly inventive and often uproariously funny.
Joe Law, Opera News (October 2014)
Cincinnati Opera’s superb production of Cavalli’s antic creation perfectly balances the story’s randy and rambunctious elements with the delicate portions that dot it…The stage direction by Ted Huffman is sure-footed and impeccably stylish.
Rafael de Acha, Seen and Heard International (July 23, 2014)
This creative team took it up a notch, with complicated cross-dressing and bawdy moments that made the audience laugh out loud. A terrific cast, inventive staging by Ted Huffman and a wondrous set design by David Centers made for an entertaining evening…The end was magical.
Janelle Gelfand, The Cincinnati Enquirer (July 18, 2014)
Don’t walk. Run to catch the remaining performances of La Calisto, an opera composed in 1653 that’s equal parts romance and raunch, performed by a superb cast of singers, instrumentalists and dancers who are all clearly having a wonderful time…Ted Huffman’s staging is witty and occasionally wild…La Calisto is Cincinnati Opera’s first Baroque opera and they couldn’t have made a better choice. It’s heavenly.
Anne Arenstein, Cincinnati City Beat (July 22, 2014)
A mix of bawdy comedy and deep feeling, it exemplifies what was choice entertainment for opera-mad Venetians in the 17th century. Staged by Ted Huffman, it brought the same mix to Corbett Theater. Sung in Italian with English surtitles, the work’s seamless blend of aria, recitative, and ensemble, stylishly ornamented by the singers, was handsomely presented, while the abstract period production was lovely to look at…In sum, La Calisto was one of the most enjoyable productions in recent seasons at Cincinnati Opera.
Mary Ellyn Hutton, Music in Cincinnati (July 21, 2014)
That’s the spirit in which Cincinnati Opera has mounted its production, directed imaginatively by Ted Huffman and performed with gusto by a cast of adept equilibrists — equally capable of comedy and searing pathos.
Jay Harvey, Jay Harvey Upstage (July 18, 2014)
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything as completely original on a major Milwaukee stage as the weird and wonderful Hydrogen Jukebox, which opened this weekend at the Skylight Theater…the Skylight production defies expectations from its opening bass thrum to its powerfully simple finale…against this rich but grayscale backdrop, Ginsberg’s poetry emerges in all its technicolor dreaminess…It’s an odd mix—a minimalist composer like Glass and a maximalist poet. But as the Skylight production shows, it works—sometimes ravishingly.
Paul Kosidowski, Milwaukee Magazine (March 16, 2014)
Wow. Just wow. That’s how I still feel days after catching the opera Hydrogen Jukebox at the Skylight Music Theatre. Not as much for the singing itself – although the sextet performing was marvelous – but for the sheer audacity of producing it…Glass’ works are atmospheric, and occasionally minimalist. Ginsberg’s poems are abstract, chaotic and littered with obscenities. But there’s beauty in both, if you’re brave enough to give them a chance. And there’s greater beauty in their synthesis, as seen on the Cabot stage. It doesn’t seem so at first, with the curtain rising upon a completely bare stage, but the six performers soon begin to reshape and transform it into the setting for 20-odd vignettes using modular furnishings and often epic projections upon the back wall (designed by Sven Ortel). The earliest production of Hydrogen Jukebox, in 1990, cast its six characters in the role of six American archetypes, but I won’t bore you with the details of that because stage director Ted Huffman has been wise enough to omit them. Instead, we get a team of blank slates clad in charcoal slacks, white dress shirts, silvery ties and thin black cardigans, occasionally led by a writerly type presumably meant to evoke Ginsberg (Kempson) but otherwise content to fit themselves into whatever story Ginsberg’s words suggest, be it a debaucherous party interrupted by lines about the war brewing between Israel and Palestine, romantic evenings with male lovers in Calcutta or the mountains of Denver, or violent evocations of the Iran-Contra affair and the CIA’s involvement with drug trafficking. Their elusiveness also makes them elegant in the opera’s more abstract scenes, kinetic ballets of motion that become as haunting as the words and music that surrounds them.
Matthew Reddin, Third Coast Daily (March 19, 2014)
The trajectory of Jukebox starts out as a highly political statement, and ends as a quieter, more personal one. Under the direction of Ted Huffman, all of the show’s elements – actors, lighting, stage design, projections – work harmoniously to create a memorable and unique experience not seen previously in Milwaukee (at least, not on this large a scale).
Anne Siegel, Total Theater (March 2014)
The highly evocative and eerily serene Hydrogen Jukebox opening on a mid-March Friday night challenges the casual theatergoer. Those who fill the seats and step along on Skylight’s theatrical journey might eventually succumb to the sophisticated beauty of the production…Be courageous and take that first step into the Skylight’s Cabot Theatre for this mesmerizing evening of dance, poetry and music that coalesces into a captivating production to be remembered by Milwaukee audiences. The Skylight’s operatic journey, whether effortlessly enjoyed or interestingly appreciated, travels the road of endless theatrical imagination…
Peggy Sue Dunigan, Broadway World (March 17, 2014)
The original production cast the roles as American archetypes—waitress, policewoman, businessman, priest, mechanic, cheerleader. Director Ted Huffman and co-director/choreographer Zack Winokur did away with that…they are dressed like the central character; maybe the idea is that they represent varied sides of Ginsberg. Or maybe they simply would have been more distracting as a cheerleader, policewoman and waitress. Either way, good choice. The bare stage runs to the concrete block wall at the back of the theater. Carrie Cavin’s lighting carves up the space in starkly beautiful ways. Sven Ortel’s projections give us signs of the times—WWII and Vietnam footage, and of course H-Bomb mushroom clouds. The performers rolled on a desk, a sofa, a chair and a lamp, and they laid down a rug to create the poet’s study, a house party, a wake. They did not simply set the stage. Winokur choreographed these rearrangements into real dances of great charm. These singers moved very well indeed throughout this physical show…
Tom Strini, Tom Srini Writes (March 15, 2014)
Ted Huffman’s direction gives the work a sleek yet chilling darkness, where bare walls capture projections ranging from atomic bomb clouds to Allen Ginsberg’s explosive verse…the cast delivered words and music with coolness and ease. Projected texts help the audience digest Ginsberg’s ravishing, dense poetry, something left wanting in Glass’s setting…Exciting things are happening at the Skylight.
Joel K. Boyd, Express Milwaukee (March 19, 2014)
...a sizable fraction of the text’s very personal references will come across as hermetic, if not baffling. But what splendid bafflement it is! Music director Viswa Subbaraman, Director Ted Huffman, Choreographer Zack Winokur, Projection Designer Sven Ortel and Lighting Designer Carrie Cavins have created a total performance work, sophisticated in ways we’d expect to see in New York or London, but which might strike some Skylight audiences as a bit rarefied…whether the theme is lofty, accusatory, or scatological, one thing is certain: there is not a cliché, poetic or musical, to be found.; it’s always alive, fresh, and raw.
Jeff Grygny, The Milwaukee Examiner (March 18, 2014)
Stage directors Ted Huffman and Zack Winokur (who also choreographs) underscore that sense of beginning anew, starting with a bare stage on which Kempson soon receives help from his musically impressive friends…Dressed much like Kempson and doubling as stagehands, this ensemble provides him with desk and lamp as well as inspiration and courage…when the staging works, it’s marvelous. In one disarmingly simple song about the power of the imagination, Kempson’s Ginsberg sits on a couch, whisked about by four vocalists as he travels back to an idyllic past. In a second song, antic agitprop morphs into a furious indictment of Iran-Contra and a harrowing look at its victims.
Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (March 15, 2014)
Les mamelles de Tirésias
Court, efficace et impeccable. Arrivant à Bruxelles après les festivals d’Aldeburgh et d’Aix-en-Provence, la production des “Mamelles de Tirésias” qu’a donnée la Monnaie ce week-end en sa salle Malibran fut une réussite de tous points de vue…Mais le prix de ce spectacle vient aussi et surtout de la magnifique mise en scène de Ted Huffman. A la Grand-Place de Zanzibar imaginée par Poulenc, le jeune Américain préfère un café français des années 40, tenu par Thérèse et son mari. Il y a un grand bar sur roulette en mouvement perpétuel, il y a des globes lumineux et des ballons (qui seront, forcément, les célèbres mamelles), il y a les chorégraphies de Zack Winokur et il y a les superbes éclairages de Marcus Doshi. De quoi créer, dans une ambiance stylisée de comédie musicale à l’ancienne, une énergie communicative qui fait merveille.
Nicolas Blanmont, La Libre (January 20, 2014)
Face à une troupe de chanteurs largement inexpérimentés, le metteur en scène Ted Huffman n’a pas cherché la facilité : interprétant avec beaucoup de liberté les indications de mise en scène proposées par Poulenc, il situe l’action dans le décor unique d’un café avec son comptoir et demande à ses jeunes recrues un investissement scénique de tous les instants, les faisant bouger, danser et sauter dans tous les sens, occupant l’espace dans un joyeux désordre organisé où le burlesque le plus déjanté le dispute aux références cinématographiques du cinéma américain de l’immédiat après guerre, pour la plus grande joie des spectateurs. Inspiré, maîtrisé, virtuose, le spectacle est franchement réussi, en tous cas dans sa dimension visuelle.
Claude Jottrand, Forum Opera (January 21, 2014)
L’extrême liberté de ton d’Apollinaire, une action qui part dans tous les sens à tout moment, un argument de départ centré sur la volonté de changement (ici de sexe), ces quelques traits de folie présentent de réelles connexions avec l’effervescence du mouvement surréaliste. Les solutions trouvées par le metteur en scène britannique Ted Huffman pour renouveler chaque instant de la farce sont aussi foisonnantes que s’il s’agissait d’un spectacle de cirque. Intelligence, humour, habileté, chaque geste a été étudié de sorte à ne jamais laisser les chanteurs inoccupés, ou traverser un creux. Et comme ils se donnent à fond…De même que le public qui a fait une ovation à ce spectacle qui prélude un peu au carnaval.
Philippe Dewolf, MUSIQ 3 (January 17, 2014)
Faites-vous plaisir, ce soir et ce week-end, avec la petite bulle d’humour et de légèreté que propose la Monnaie…Le metteur en scène sculpte une enfilade de tableaux autour d’un unique élément de décor – un long comptoir qu’il déplace à volonté pour libérer le « dance floor ». S’y agglutinent les chanteurs dans des compositions picturales que n’aurait pas reniées Poulenc (qui aimait autant la peinture que la littérature) et qui font référence aux comédies musicales des années ’40 de la Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer…En guise de réconciliation des sexes, le spectacle s’achève par une inévitable scène de débauche, mais sans s’y attarder, conservant intacte la parfaite légèreté de l’ensemble. Le bonheur!
Xavier Flament, L'Echo (January 17, 2014)
Rythmée, ciselée et gentiment irrévérencieuse, la mise en scène de Ted Huffman revendique le burlesque des anciennes comédies musicales. Les décors et les costumes de Samal Blak inscrivent d’ailleurs ce récit loufoque dans un café des années 1940 tenu par Thérèse et son mari, les luminaires sphériques et les ballons gonflables symbolisant bien sûr les mamelles. Ce petit spectacle à l’humour fin constitue un véritable antidote à la morosité ambiante. On en reprendrait volontiers une dose.
Sébastien Foucart, ConcertoNet (January 22, 2014)
Director Ted Huffman chose to set the piece in a café of the mythical Riviera town and with the sense of a 1940s movie musical and Samal Blak’s sharp, stylish design achieved this admirably…the performance bristled with energy and elan, roles and costumes interchanging seamlessly…The sharp, astringent edge that is such a characteristic and attractive feature of Poulenc’s music was gloriously captured…For one hour the mist and rain swirling round the hall were forgotten in a joyous outpouring of musical theatre. An excellent performance of an all-too-rarely heard work.
Gareth Jones, Ipswich Star (January 07 2014)
A marvellous and entertaining production…directed with great flair, imagination and skill by Ted Huffman, an American stage director…
Tony Cooper, East Anglian Daily Times (January 08 2014)
The Soldier’s Tale
The Greenwich Music Festival added another feather to its cap with a thought-provoking, atmospheric performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale,” a chamber piece for instrumentalists, dancers, actors and an actor/narrator….One consistent characteristic of GMF fare is, in a word, class. Regardless of the subject matter, the musical work or the composer, GMF patrons can count on its class. “The Soldier’s Tale” added another entry to the already long list.
Jerome Sehulster, Stamford Advocate (June 27, 2012)
What followed was a precedent-setting performance of the “The Soldier’s Tale.” In one hour, a group of actors, dancers, musicians (the Deviant Septet) and a narrator took Stravinsky’s creation to another dimension…This dark, androgynous production brought images to mind of Bertolt Brecht and Berlin in the 1930s. According to the program, the production was inspired by Shakespeare’s play within his play, “Hamlet. ” In this production, what came across is the striking originality, the elegant level of professionalism.
Anne Semmes, Greenwich Citizen (June 29, 2012)
Der Kaiser von Atlantis
This is the happy genius of this burgeoning little music festival’s accomplishment: under the direction of Ted Huffman, this crack team of performers and designers has managed to present this many-faceted jewel of an opera in a manner utterly respectful of its unique origins while remaining so fresh that it feels incidentally composed for this moment.
Georges Briscot, Operaticus (June 2009)
In a word, superb. That sums up the Greenwich Music Festival’s premiere of Viktor Ullmann’s one-act opera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis…This “Kaiser” succeeded by dint of expert musician ship by all, crisp and creative stage direction by Ted Huffman, and performers who never lost their focus or energy.
Jerome Sehulster, Stamford Advocate (June 14 2009)
…true art does not always please. It can repel, attract, surprise, shock and change us. That is the accomplishment of this production, which was at once absurd, grotesque, and brilliant…
Linda Phillips, Greenwich Citizen (June 16 2009)
The best proof of this came in the fine playing of the International Contemporary Ensemble under his aegis and the impressively mounted, visually memorable and well-sung staging by Ted Huffman…Deserved standing ovations greeted the committed team of artists.
David Shengold, Opera News (September 2009)
This production, engagingly directed by the festival’s artistic director Ted Huffman…beautifully caught the spirit of the original conception.
Eric Myers, Opera (November 2009)
The nine singers, each taking multiple roles, were superb, and director Ted Huffman created lively staging for them…The most inspired moment in the score was given to Maria Celeste, performed with youthful freshness by Cincinnati soprano Alexandra Schoeny. In the third vignette, she sang a letter from the convent to her father, finishing with a lovely vocalise. It was a poignant moment and beautifully staged.
Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer (July 12, 2013)
With the glowing, suspended spheres used in Galileo’s demonstration and the perky, understated accompaniment, this scene was a triumph for Ted Huffman’s stage direction, always sensitive to the music. Similarly enchanting was the scene, with apt masks and movement, that stages Galileo’s controversial book.
Jay Harvey, Jay Harvey Upstage (July 12, 2013)
The staging by Ted Huffman was superbly handled, with an ease and flow that made for a truly engrossing tale.
Mary Ellyn Hutton, Music In Cincinnati (July 12, 2013)
There are no chorus, ballet sequences, large sets and mercifully, none of the grandstanding that usually passes for acting on many operatic stages—certainly not in this fine production directed by Ted Huffman…The imaginative set, the elegant costumes by Rebecca Senske, the magical lighting by Thomas C. Hase and the terrific make-up by James D. Geier all serve to enhance the work of director Ted Huffman, who collaborates with movement director Yara Travieso to make the proceedings visually arresting and dramatically cohesive.
Rafael de Acha, Seen and Heard International (July 23 2013)
Most of the Boys
Alice In Wonderland
Ted Huffman’s semi-staging was deftness itself. Everyone in black. And who will forget Felicity Palmer’s searing Mrs Peachum, John Tomlinson’s stentorian Peachum or the cabaret artist Meow Meow’s smokily and movingly sung Jenny?
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times (February 28 2013)
(Four Stars) With a band drawn from the London Philharmonic, Vladimir Jurowski conducted The Threepenny Opera in a simple but edgy semi-staging by Ted Huffman that allowed Brecht’s commentaries on monetarism, racism and sexuality to hit home with tremendous force.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian (February 28 2013)
(Four Stars) ...with superb instrumental playing and a top-notch cast it worked equally well as straightforwardly entertaining satire. Ted Huffman’s crisp stage direction replaced the dialogue with Brecht’s own sardonic linking narration (delivered with brilliant impassiveness by Max Hopp) and added a few extra witty touches of Brechtian alienation.
Richard Morrison, The Times (March 03 2013)
(Four Stars) Putting on Die Dreigroschenoper is a challenge. Perform it as low-life entertainment and you miss its poisonous satire. Present it quasi-operatically and it becomes too beautiful. The LPO’s German-language performance, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, directed by Ted Huffman and lit by Malcolm Rippeth, steered clear of both extremes. By presenting the narrative as a concert hall cabaret – snappy, fluent, minimalist – it stressed the innocent simplicity of the music and the cynical wit of the words.
Andrew Clark, The Financial Times (March 04 2013)
(Four Stars) Vladimir Jurowski’s performance of The Threepenny Opera with the London Philharmonic Orchestra had more tang and grit, more Beethovenian ambition. Brecht’s brutal lyrics (required listening in an age when we are being encouraged to hate and fear the poor) and Weill’s sour-sweet orchestrations registered vividly in Ted Huffman’s icily stylised semi-staging.
Anna Picard, The Independent (March 09 2013)
The minimalist concert staging by Ted Huffman was nonetheless elegant, wherein all of the elements, like the lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, contributed to a propitious atmosphere.
Jean-Marcel Humbert, Forum Opera (March 18 2013)
(Four Stars) This rarely heard 17th-century opera had wit, flair and a scene stealing performance…ETO’s well-sung production, sensitively conducted by Joseph McHardy and intelligently directed by Ted Huffman, gives much pleasure.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (October 11, 2013)
(Four Stars) English Touring Opera have a sure touch in choosing repertoire: their exhumations of neglected works are always successful. Thus it was with Francesco Cavalli’s Jason...Director Ted Huffman sees it as pervaded by a very modern cynicism and, with Samal Blak’s effective designs, his production keeps a balance between narrowly-skirted tragedy and broad comedy. Vocally the performers may not all be top-notch, but the drama never flags for an instant and it capitalises on three born comedians.
Michael Church, The Independent (October 7, 2013)
(Four Stars) Shipwrecks and bigamy give a tragi-comic edge to this production of Cavalli’s erotic classic…the almost Shakespearian collisions between comedy and intensity prove remarkably compelling.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian (October 6, 2013)
(Four Stars) Ted Huffman’s naturalistic production and Samal Blak’s post-modern designs mix old and new with freshness and contemporary relevance…To his credit Huffman doesn’t coarsen the comic elements. Stuart Haycock portrayed the stuttering servant Demus with a quiet dignity that invited sympathy instead of mockery; and the drag role of Delfa was played by countertenor Michal Czweniawski as a real character, rather than pantomime dame.
David Hart, Birmingham Post (November 1, 2013)
(Four Stars) Ted Huffman’s production uses the Ronald Eyre translation, which I remember from the Buxton Festival production of 1985, and his young cast, thanks partly to the pin-drop acoustics at the Snape Maltings, make every word as well as every note count.
Anne Morley-Priestman, What's On Stage (October 18, 2013)
The director Ted Huffman and designer Samal Blak have given a clean, modern look to a panelled Venetian interior, complete with chandelier and plenty of flickering candles..the darkest arias have raw intensity, with the dazzling, comic elements providing levity, compounding rather than undermining the emotions expressed. The reunion of Jason and his wronged but faithful wife Isiphile unfolds with potent dignity…The impact was indelible.
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer (October 13, 2013)
Jason, Cavalli’s greatest hit, emerges trimmed and translated as a witty commentary on fidelity in English Touring Opera’s new production. Substantial cuts have shorn the Golden Fleece from the tale, not to mention the Argonauts…None of this bears much relation to the myth it is based on, but it’s miles funnier in Ted Huffman’s pacey production.
Intermezzo, Intermezzo Typepad (October 14, 2013)
It’s done exceptionally well: everything – lyrics, music, humor and action – moves seamlessly…Admiration and applause are due to ETO, whose ability to create original, gracious and amazingly transportable operas extends the reach and audience of the demanding theatre that is opera.
Jaime Robles, Bachtrack (October 7, 2013)
Director Ted Huffman places us in an uncomplicated no-time, no-place, framed with elegant simplicity by Samal Blak’s sets…both ETO’s productions leave their mark in a sense of ebullient energy. You feel very well entertained on leaving the theatre, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk (October 9, 2013)
And in Rosand’s words, this time in the programme, the arias of Giasone, ‘are specifically justified by the dramatic circumstances: rather than undermining verisimilitude, they promote it.’ Both of those observations fitted very well with my experience in the theatre, no mean feat…Ted Huffman’s production mostly lets the action speak for itself. Stage direction is for the most part keenly observed, the balance between comedy and darker emotion well handled.
Mark Berry, Boulezian (October 5, 2013)
I was gripped by Ted Huffman’s production, which tells the story simply with the focus squarely on the acting and musical expression - and amazingly nothing feels far fetched or over done, however extreme the situation.
Ted Huffman’s new production certainly keeps the comic dimensions, particularly in the parts of Orestes and Demus, but it does take fairly seriously the characters’ emotions and dilemmas…
Curtis Rogers, Classical Source (October 5, 2013)
The third of English Touring Opera’s season of Venetian operas is Jason, by Cavalli and, on the evidence of this production, the most fun.
Catriona Graham, The Opera Critic (October 30, 2013)
...particularly well staged…
Roger Jones, Seen and Heard International (October 27, 2013)
(Four Stars) Overall it is a very satisfying piece of theatre which this production (designed by Neil Irish and directed by Ted Huffman) gets the absolute best out of. No arbitrary updating here: in this world of oilskin and shadows, everything, from lighting to costumes via the characters’ chain smoking, is geared towards a murky atmosphere, entirely faithful to the piece.
Kimon Daltas, The Arts Desk (October 12 2012)
(Four Stars) Neil Irish’s set doubles cleverly as the courtroom and the lighthouse interior, just as the three remarkable performers – tenor Adam Tunnicliffe’s flakey Sandy, baritone Nicholas Merryweather’s lairy Blazes and bass Richard Mosley-Evans’s forbidding Arthur – switch fluently between the two sets of characters. Ted Huffman’s English Touring Opera staging is taut and direct.
George Hall, The Guardian (October 12 2012)
(Four Stars) Parallel to this is a narrative of explosive psychological tension, handled with consummate theatrical adroitness. English Touring Opera’s pitch-perfect production doesn’t drop the easy catch, and the director Ted Huffman has drawn sensitive portrayals of the imploding keepers (doubling up as investigators who decide on a cover-up) from Adam Tunnicliffe, Nicholas Merryweather and Robert Mosley-Evans. Neil Irish’s set contributes greatly to the success of the staging…this is a truly gripping yarn, and it’s not often one can say that of an opera.
Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph (October 12 2012)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s chamber opera, The Lighthouse, received a splendid performance from English Touring Opera…Both Huffman’s staging and Richard Baker’s conducting are excellent, equal in precision…these were performances that would have graced any stage. The excellent news is that they will grace a good few more stages….
Mark Berry, Seen and Heard International (October 12 2012)
The third of English Touring Opera’s autumn trio of contrasting and complementary chamber operas, this production is also the best - the success of Ted Huffman’s magnificently intense period setting heightened by Neil Irish’s lighthouse interior and Guy Hoare’s superbly atmospheric lighting. The three-man cast is outstanding - Adam Tunnicliffe, Nicholas Merryweather and Richard Mosley-Evans each fully committed and engrossing…You will rarely experience a more compelling and affecting night at the opera than this. Don’t miss it.
Graham Rogers, The Stage (October 12 2012)
If I have not yet drawn attention to Ted Huffman’s sweetly paced production, that is because it does not draw attention to itself. Unshowy yet never less than thrilling, the American director’s stagecraft somehow manages to be restrained and explosive at the same time. As a masterly staging of a great opera it deserves the widest possible audience. Do catch it on its travels: it’ll lift you up and leave you drained.
Mark Valencia, Classical Source (October 13 2012)
With its oilskins and bare, drum-like walls, Ted Huffman’s new production only enhances the taut, free-flowing storytelling…Every minute is utterly riveting as the tension builds inexorably to the final revelation. Maxwell-Davies himself emerged at the final curtain to congratulate the cast - I can’t imagine he could be anything but delighted.
, Intermezzo (October 14 2012)
(Four Stars) Wisely, Ted Huffman’s new staging for English Touring Opera allows the music to weave its spell by playing the drama pretty straight — though straight is not the word to describe the relationship between Adam Tunnicliffe’s needy Sandy and Nicholas Merryweather’s unhinged Blazes, smashing chairs and breaking into falsetto shrieks. Richard Mosley-Evans, as the morbid killjoy Arthur, is the third member of this excellent cast, living their final moments in Neil Irish’s aptly grim lighthouse interior.
Richard Morrison, The Times (October 14 2012)
(Four Stars) This touring version of Peter Maxwell Davies’s chamber opera conjures dark magic with utmost skill.
Richard Fairman, Financial Times (October 15 2012)
(Four Stars) ...the stage effectively drew spectators into the claustrophobic world of this maritime signal tower as well as its wider aura of isolation…The last scene was exquisitely managed, and provoked an ecstatic reaction from the audience.
Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Bachtrack (October 15 2012)
Huffman wisely keeps things simple, allowing the spare elegance of the score to do its work, while establishing some neat visual tensions in his differing three-way reminiscences. The framing outer sections, in which the three singers become the patrol team sent in to investigate the tragedy, flow neatly into the central drama. The ghosts here are no alien spirits but the guilty secrets of the past – flesh and blood spectres whose weapons are also very much of this world. In this latest production by English Touring Opera it’s a show that will haunt you well beyond its brief 80-minute span.
Alexandra Coghlan, The New Statesman (October 16 2012)
[Maxwell Davies] chose to attend both performances and was clearly delighted with the interpretation…this is one of Maxwell Davies’s top five works and English Touring Opera have done it justice with this engaging production…The director, Ted Huffman does an excellent job in getting his three protagonists to act with great intensity… Don’t miss this modern classic.
Miranda Jackson, Opera Britannia (October 17 2012)
The Lighthouse was brilliantly, claustrophobically evoked by the same designer in Ted Huffman’s gripping staging of this chilling opera about the true-life disappearance of three Scots lighthouse men.
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times (October 28 2012)
Together with the three singers, director Ted Huffman and Richard Baker conducting the Aurora Orchestra deliver an engaging and thought-provoking performance of this intriguing opera.
Catriona Graham, The Opera Critic (October 29 2012)
[The Lighthouse] created a terrifyingly claustrophobic sense of drama, aided by the no-nonsense designs by the ETO team…
Flora Willson, Opera (December)
Hänsel und Gretel
Stage director Ted Huffman and set designer Patrick Rizzotti sent Hansel and Gretel down the rabbit hole with a set of chairs and cabinets…It was a nontraditional setting to be sure, but it didn’t hinder the story for me. Even the last scene, (spoiler alert) where a table of sumptuous cakes and a miniature gingerbread house take the place of the candy house, worked for me. I hope it showed the many kids in the audience that you don’t need literal representation to capture meaning…With the run on tickets for this production, I would recommend the company not wait so long to bring it back.
Andrew Druckenbrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (January 28, 2012)
Pittsburgh Opera’s welcome revival of “Hansel & Gretel” in a new production Saturday night featured an especially appealing cast drawn from the young professional singers of its Resident Artists program and impressive stage direction by Ted Huffman.
Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune (January 29, 2012)
There’s still time to keep on your Sunday best and head to the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts to catch Amarillo Opera’s impassioned La Boheme. When you do, you’ll see a marvelous cast giving a striking, new interpretation of one of the most popular operas in the world. It’s not a radical departure from what you may have seen before, but director Ted Huffman and his cast lay bare the opera’s beating heart by focusing on the emotional truth of the characters and their world…It was breathtaking.
Chip Chandler, Amarillo Globe-News (October 2, 2011)
Merola Grand Finale
Among my umpteen Merola Program closing concerts — all memorable in various ways — Saturday’s was one of the most enjoyable. Programmed, directed, and performed with care and effectiveness, this was what opera doesn’t always manage to be: delightful entertainment. Directing the quasi-staged evening was one of the program’s apprentice stage directors, Ted Huffman, a young artist who will go far.
Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice (August 21 2010)
The three-hour showcase, conducted by Dean Williamson and directed with winning tact by Ted Huffman, turned a revealing light on the 25 young artists in this year’s crop. If the Gounod duet - a sumptuous display of close-knit harmonies and emotional intensity - was a high point of the evening, it was far from the only one. Things got off to a splendid start with the opening scene from “The Rake’s Progress,” Stravinsky’s neo-classical take on the operas of Mozart and Donizetti.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle (August 23 2010)
La voix humaine
La Voix Humaine is one of those works that, while belonging to a very specific time period of party lines and telephone interferences, doesn’t demand much more than a singer and a telephone. Huffman embraced the minimalism of the opera and used it as a metaphor for the isolation inherent to the piece. All told, it made for some appropriately haunting stage pictures and brought a visceral freshness to the work.
Olivia Giovetti, WQXR (June 11, 2011)
…this work was emotionally riveting, poignant, and ultimately heartbreaking; as the protagonist’s lover called, she wrestled with a party line…three performers held lights, moving with the singer, going up and down and in and out with her, ultimately blinding the audience briefly so that the denouement would be a shock and surprise. The audience erupted in bravos for this marvelous performance.
Linda Phillips, Greenwich Citizen (June 24, 2011)
Some of the most visually striking, emotionally resonant local opera productions in recent years have been the work of the Greenwich Music Festival, founded in 2004 by artistic director Ted Huffman…
Critic's Pick, Time Out NY (June 10 2010)
There are still some diamonds of artistic excellence hidden in this seaside town, including the shockingly well-done production of Hans Werner Henze’s The Runaway Slave (El Cimarrón) by the Greenwich Music Festival. This most likely will be the only time I will ever see this rarely performed gem live, but after experiencing the awesome power of the work last night, I am happy that I’ve seen this amazing piece realized to its greatest potential. This production is a shining beacon of minimalism, using sparse staging and simple, elegant and realistic costumes by Austin Scarlett (yes, he of Project Runway fame).
Valmont, Parterre Box (June 10 2010)
...the enthusiastic reception awarded Ted Huffman’s excellent new production of the work demonstrated the open-minded attitude and artistic freedom often denied Mr. Henze, 83… a compelling musical and theatrical experience, especially in this tightly wrought production.
Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times (June 11 2010)
We, the audience for El Cimarrón, were unexpectedly hurtled back to the very origins of music, when rocks struck served as percussion, the voice as instrument, the leaves, wind and water as accompaniment. That the Greenwich Music Festival was able to portray the entire history of musical sound within this short presentation was brilliance. That the production itself conveyed dream states, memory, phantasms, and actual events was akin to harnessing the music of the spheres, and bringing it to earth: sheer genius.
Linda Phillips, Greenwich Citizen (June 14 2010)
El Cimarrón does not specifically require staging, but the performance was greatly enhanced by the work of directors Ted Huffman and Zack Winokur. The theater space is in the low-ceilinged basement of the church, which rules out the possibility of elaborate sets. Huffman and Winokur impressively relied on creative use of lighting and highly athletic dancing to convey the drama in a meaningful yet unobtrusive way.
Arlo McKinnon, Opera News (September 2010)
Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria
The five-year-old Greenwich Music Festival, created by conductor Robert Ainsley and baritone Ted Huffman, enriches the musical life of Connecticut’s Fairfield County every June. To judge from this year’s centerpiece — an affecting, musically rewarding staging of Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria conducted by Ainsley and directed by Huffman — it does so on a high, destination-worthy level.
David Shengold, Opera News (August 2008)