STAGE DIRECTOR REVIEWS

"Returning stage director Lorna Haywood (she was the creative force behind last season’s fabulous Marriage of Figaro) again brings her myriad talents to the Virginia Opera stage. As a former opera star, Haywood really knows how to move singing actors around; her insightful approach to movement, character interaction, and detail is unsurpassed.  For this double bill, Haywood has set the time period in the 1940’s: These tales have been pushed up into the 20th century as a continuum of characters and events within the same village. "Mama Lucia" and "Santuzza," principal characters in Cavalleria, appear in the Pag crowd: Santuzza, whose pregnancy in Cav was one of the catalysts of the drama, now holds the child of her murdered lover."

"Haywood brilliantly exploited the play-within-a-play structure of Pagliacci by having Oakden sing the famous Prologue as he is transformed from actor in dressing gown to vile, deformed clown during the aria; thus engaging the audience in another layer of the "theater is real life, real life is theater" sub-theme."

Richmond 'Portfolio'
Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, Virgina Opera


"I found the opening night an absolutely joyous feast! In an overall season of striking productions, Virginia Opera puts the final gem in place with CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA and PAGLIACCI. What is unique about the pairing in this production is that they both take place in the same Sicilian village. The highly inventive stage director Lorna Haywood came up with the idea and it works extremely well. There is a perfect cast to help her bring her concept to triumphant fruition."

WHRO Edgar Loesslin -Norfolk, VA
Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, Virgina Opera


"Powerhouse singing and intelligent direction marked the Virginia Opera's production of the perennial Italian opera twins. Director Lorna Haywood opted for an updated vision of the operas, set a year apart and moved to Mussolini's Italy.This allowed a nice tie-in with the neorealistic cinema familiar from the late 1940s and actually enhanced the "realism" of the operas. Haywood was particularly skilled at creating a village of real people, whose interactions with the leads added to thepower of the dramas."

The Virginian Pilot (Lee Teply)
Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, Virgina Opera


"Verismo Double Bill of Cav and Pag Packs a Wallop"

No small part of the success of these two operas is due to stage direction of Lorna Haywood, who found telling small details that added up to wholly convincing dramas within traditional period approaches. Every bit of stage business contributed to building the intensity of the opera. The curtain fell on a scene of high drama: the dead Turiddu sprawled on a table being mourned while Alfio, switchblade in hand, disappeared off stage, chasing Lola with murderous intent.

Classical Voice of North Carolina (William Thomas Walker)
Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, Virgina Opera


"This production has a cast of excellent singers and actors guided by the sure hands of stage director Lorna Haywood. Haywood's direction of the large cast kept it moving at a pace that fit the music - when quick easy comedy was called for Haywood's creative use of space and props was delightful."

Virginian Pilot (Lee Teply)
Le nozze di Figaro, Virginia Opera


"Virginia Opera's non-stop fun production is a sexual romp without a bed, either rumpled or made-up, in sight. It's a carousel of comedic delights propelled by romantic intrigue.Stage director Lorna Haywood doesn't miss one farcical moment or naughty nuance - double entendres abound - in fact, this nice English lady can be downright bawdy."

WHRO (Edgar Loessin)
Le nozze di Figaro, Virginia Opera


````"The production has been staged with crisp efficiency by Lorna Haywood….Fluid stage direction makes this final production of the company's season a success."

San Francisco Chronicle
La Traviata, Opera San Jose


"The production offered intelligent direction by Lorna Haywood. Haywood provided clean, direct staging...gave life to the crowd scenes, individuality to the members of the chorus, and increasing depth to the relationships among the principal characters."

Le Concertographie
La Traviata, Opera San Jose


"Lorna Haywood's direction builds tension nicely and brings forth credible characterizations from all the performers."

City Search
La Traviata, Opera San Jose


"Lorna Haywood's stage direction showed most strongly in moving complex party crowds around without collisions and in guiding the principals so as to strengthen their dramatic interactions."

Isthmus
La Traviata, Madison Opera


"The stage direction by Lorna Haywood is unusually strong and inventive." 

The Capital Times
Le Nozze di Figaro, Madison Opera 


"Lorna Haywood's stage direction had many nice touches, from the lightly risqué physical action that suited the music and libretto to the pushing and pulling and pummeling among the characters." 

Wisconsin State Journal
Le Nozze di Figaro, Madison Opera


"Lorna Haywood's sensitive stage direction brought home both the plays broad comedy and moving pathos." 

Isthmus
Le Nozze di Figaro, Madison Opera


"Lorna Haywood is a tremendous asset. 'Albert Herring' is polished, rich, funny and cleverly staged." 

Daily Telegram
Albert Herring, Opera Lenawee!


"Haywood, as she has done in two previous productions, proves to be a director of exceptional talent."

Daily Telegram
I Pagliacci & Gianni Schicchi, Opera Lenawee!


“Lorna Haywood’s direction was superb. Countless small touches uncovered every shading whether in the great set pieces or in the complex ensembles.
She kept the comedy from becoming too raucous while at the same time revealing the full content of the dramatic text and the emotional subtext, a daunting task masterfully achieved.”

Isthmus
“La Bohème” Madison Opera


“Stage director Lorna Haywood got good acting performances from her cast, and offered many lively moments in the street scene second act. The direction of the final act was at first appropriately robust and then beautifully touching.”

Wisconsin State Journal
“La Bohème” Madison Opera


“Lorna Haywood’s staging is excellent. The director moves players with naturalism on stage, maximizing their capacity for youthful motion, The fourth act’s horseplay among the room-mate bohemians was accomplished, drawing deserved laughter from the audience.”

San Jose Mercury News
“La Bohème” Opera San Jose


“Once again, the star who most impressed me was director Lorna Haywood. Haywood repeatedly devised sensible action to make it all work as theater. The opera’s concluding moments, so easily a scramble, were brilliantly worked out, with Manrico’s death and Azucena’s horrific triumph made into a truly chilling climax.”

Isthmus
“Il Trovatore” Madison Opera


“Imaginative and impressive stage direction built in intensity to the last two scenes, some twenty minutes of high drama and tragedy culminating in a shockingly abrupt climax, during which the singers were at their best.”

The State Journal
“Il Trovatore” Madison Opera


“Stage director Lorna Haywood didn’t tie herself into knots trying to make too much dramatic sense of the opera’s unpredictable twists and turns, instead letting the story’s emotional high points play out forcefully and with a minimum of fuss (the fleet footed production groups Verdi’s four four acts neatly into two.)

San Francisco Chronicle
“Il Trovatore” Opera San Jose


“A resourceful, compelling staging worthy of a world class house. Lorna Haywood maneuvered her cast assuredly, keeping the blocking purposeful and clear.”

Carl Byron. Opera News
“Il Trovatore” Opera San Jose


“Directed by the marvellous Lorna Haywood, this may be the most moving, most sensitively directed Butterfly in my memory.”

Lea Frey
“Madama Butterfly” Opera San Jose


"For me, perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the show was the stage direction by Lorna Haywood, a veteran of many a Madison Opera production. Her movements for the principals were always to the point, while the details she devised to fit the musical and dramatic circumstances were wonderfully imaginative. Constant bits of business avoided distraction from the action while bringing the context to life. Little touches were so illuminating: Scarpia's fetishes for Tosca's shawls, the prelate's artfully placed blessings at the end of Act I, etc. This is the kind of direction that can make opera so overwhelmingly theatrical. We must have Haywood back for more."

John Barker. ISTHMUS
"Tosca" Madison Opera


"'Tosca' soars as topnotch tragedy" . . . "Director Lorna Haywood coaxed compelling dramatic performances from her relatively small cast. The singers performed with energy and even occasional wit, creating an interpretation accessible even to those without an ear for opera."

Michael Muckian Special to The Capital Times
"Tosca" Madison Opera


“Using the simplest of means, director Lorna Haywood created a taut dramatic structure that peaked with a palpable sense of rescue and release.”

John Koopman,OPERA CANADA
Fidelio Atlanta Opera.


“Lorna Haywood finds parallels between “Fidelio” and the Abu Graib prison scandal . She put the evil/goodness and dark/light dichotomies in context. Thus the playful domestic scenes properly contrasted with the heroic life-and-death struggles at the opera’s climax.”

Pierre Ruhe, The Atlanta  Journal-Constitution
Fidelio Atlanta Opera.


“Lorna Haywood’s direction was outstanding, from the subtle blowing of a French door’s curtain to the Gilbert and Sullivan-like handling of the septet at the end of Act 2.”

The Washington Post, Le nozze di Figaro
Virginia Opera


“Lorna Haywood’s stage direction is physically animated, at times mildly bawdy, without being  overly busy or interfering with musical delivery.”

Times Dispatch. Virginia, Le nozze di Figaro
Virginia Opera


“These young singers benefited from the strong direction of Lorna Haywood. This was one smoothly conceived and executed Figaro. It’s definitely one of the company’s most flawless and most excellent productions and definitely one not to miss.”

The Virginia Gazette, Le nozze di Figaro
Virginia Opera 


“Have you ever thought of Mozart as sexy and scandalous?  Critics and audiences alike are raving about the sexual humor and creative genius of the Virginia Opera production of  The Marriage of Figaro directed by Lorna Haywood.”

The Broadside, George Mason University, Le nozze di Figaro
Virginia Opera


“It’s a three hour blitz of lust, parties and death – staged with real integrity.”

Mercury News, Don Giovanni
Opera San Jose


“It was the best staged of any opera I have seen since I have been reviewing the company.”

Keith Kreitman, Inside  Bay Area, Don Giovanni
Opera San Jose