Closed 2h 20m
Death for Five Voices
East Village
73

Death for Five Voices NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(12 Reviews)
Positive
67%
Mixed
33%
Negative
0%
Members say
Ambitious, Absorbing, Disappointing, Entertaining, Original

About the Show

Prospect Theater Company presents a musical that celebrates the dark harmonies of Renaissance composer—and murderer!—Carlo Gesualdo.

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Member Reviews (12)

65
Great production values, At times the songs and delivery seemed too modern, Some very good performances, Story is depressing

See it if you love the Renaissance.

Don't see it if violence on stage bothers you.

80
Ambitious, Original, Romantic, Epic, Entertaining

See it if You appreciate wholly original musicals, or that rarest of shows, a musical based on history. Or if you like Peter Mills's exquisite music.

Don't see it if You want likable characters - they are all either terrible people, or (literally) too stupid to live.

Critic Reviews (10)

April 3rd, 2016

"It took nerve to write the new musical...But 'Death for Five Voices' is not one of their more successful efforts...Unfortunately, 'Death for Five Voices' has little feel for the period or the personalities. The vocabulary and the psychology are contemporary, the characterizations and plotting shallow. The writers mean to suggest a connection between the disturbing innovation of Gesualdo’s works and the dark cast of his mind, but they haven’t yet found a way to put these ideas in tune."
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April 10th, 2016

"Magnetically complex...It's a fascinating blend of music theory and character development...The ensemble members sound beautiful singing choral pieces...While the lyrical cleverness Mills has displayed in past musicals is inappropriate here, his contrast of the way Gesualdo musically expresses himself with that of the world surrounding him is often thrilling...Daring in ambition, exciting in execution, 'Death for Five Voices,' deserves far more exposure than its current limited run."
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April 11th, 2016

"We haven't had a real, honest-to-God floperetta in decades, but here comes 'Death for Five Voices,' which manages to be simultaneously stiff and overwrought: The narrative is filled with forbidden passions, acts of violence, and cynical maneuvers by the Catholic Church, and still it manages to be thoroughly dull...Reichel's production, marshalling a vocally gifted, but dramatically at sea, cast, does the material no favors...Overall, this is a sluggish, unconvincing evening."
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April 3rd, 2016

"Mills's most stirring, shocking, and boundary-pushing compositions...One can't help but wish that all of 'Five Voices' was at this level. But, too often, the narrative strength of the score is not supported by the libretto...This is a musical that is at war with itself. But considering that the best of what's here transcends what you'll find in any other new musical in town, that might just be a war worth waging...Even in this not-there-yet incarnation, it is thrillingly, theatrically alive."
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April 3rd, 2016

"Because so much interest resides in the bloody conclusion, everything preceding it is bound to be anticlimactic. Even as the affair blooms, the stereotypical characters aren’t interesting enough to keep us in thrall...Moreover, the show’s few laughs don’t compensate for the lack of any humorous characters or songs...'Death for Five Voices' never escapes the specter of musty, nineteenth-century, costume tragedies about Renaissance lovers, like Francesca da Rimini."
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April 4th, 2016

"Mills and Reichel have sweetened and sanitized what likely was a cold-blooded honor killing…A solid, if uninspired, production. The seven singing actors handle both the polyphonic choral sections and their solo parts with operatic aplomb…The mystery of this production is why the authors have elected to depict in relatively anemic terms events that, in reality, outstripped in savagery and bloodthirstiness the revenge tragedies written by Gesualdo's contemporaries."
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April 4th, 2016

"Even while weaving Gesualdo’s musical idiosyncrasies into his score, Mills has crafted a piece that is rooted in the American musical theater tradition...The music in this score may not be all of a piece, but Mills doesn’t let the stitches show. The cast is excellent...Director Reichel deftly moves the characters around Ann Bartek’s evocative set...Mills’ score is the main event here, and he seldom disappoints."
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April 8th, 2016

"Though the music is beautiful and the staging by Cara Reichel haunting, the show never really goes anywhere. The characters are written one dimensionally and when they act out there seems to be hardly any reasoning...The cast is possessed with wonderful voices...If music that goes in interesting places and evokes a sense of mortality send you as they do me, this piece will at least deliver."
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April 4th, 2016

"Songwriter Peter Mills has long deserved to be far better known than he is...Much of the Mills-Reichel contrivances are quite beautiful...'Death for Five Voices' does go on longer than it needs to while making its macabre point, but without doubt it’s far enough off the beaten musicals track to be recommended."
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April 4th, 2016

"Peter Mills is responsible for this magnificent, sweeping, and lush musical along with Cara Reichel, who worked with Mr. Mills on the book...The subject matter is perhaps an awkward choice, but when properly imagined on the stage, as Ms. Reichel and her more than capable company has done, is a majestic and breathtaking journey into the past...The result is nothing short of musical delight with a murderous twist...The entire superlative cast could not have been more pitch perfect."
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