Overwhelming success for Andrew Bidlack in the world premiere of ‘Everest’

2 February 2015

On 31 January tenor Andrew Bidlack opened as Rob Hall in the world premiere of Joby Talbot’s opera Everest at Dallas Opera.

Everest is based on a real life expedition that aimed for the top of Mount Everest in 1996 and ended in a disaster. The work by first-time opera composer Joby Talbot with a libretto by Gene Scheer (Moby Dick) was a resounding overall success. This was not least thanks to tenor Andrew Bidlack, who created the role of Rob Hall, the world-famous Everest guide who never returned from his final summit and attempt to rescue postal worker Doug Hansen:

“Tenor Andrew Bidlack is sympathetic as Rob Hall, trapped between his sense of duty and impending fatherhood. His clear and versatile lyric tenor voice sails through his range-challenging music, with great nobility of spirit alternating with grim determination.”
(Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones)

“An extremely strong cast throughout helped to tell this harrowing tale. Tenor Andrew Bidlack (Rob Hall)’s clear and resonate tenor cut through moments of apprehension and tension in order to bring false hope to the audience that maybe he would make it back to the tents with Craig Verm (Doug Hansen). His scenes with the fabulous Sasha Cooke (Jan Arnold – Rob Hall’s pregnant wife) were positively gut-wrenching.”
(David Weuste, Opera Pulse)

”... Rob, played by tenor Andrew Bidlack, responds in a crystalline tenor voice that floats across the opera house and nearly destroys you with its message and tone. “Doug can hear you,” he cries.
Andrew Bidlack is, for me, the star of the entire production. His voice is clear, bright, pristine, and subtly strong. When he stands on Everest’s summit and sings about being on top of the world, you want to join him. His duets with his wife, Jan, played by the powerful Sasha Cooke, are charming. ... Both Cooke and Bidlack, by the way, are dealt a difficult hand in this piece in terms of range, but they find and execute a slew of extremely high notes with precision.”

(Catherine Womack, D Magazine)

“Andrew Bidlack’s sweet-voiced tenor expressed Hall’s hopes and fears poignantly.”
(George Loomis, Financial Times)

“The excellent cast made fine work of Mr. Talbot’s expressive vocal writing. Andrew Bidlack’s sweet tenor brought a touching vulnerability to Rob. The opera’s most devastating passage was his final telephone conversation with Jan, the powerful Sasha Cooke, as he is dying on the mountain, when the two let go of their anguish to simply comfort each other.”
(Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal)

“Bidlack’s performance as Rob Hall is achingly adept, and his duets with mezzo Sasha Cooke as his wife Jan are tender and and heartfelt. They are the standouts.”
(Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice)

“One of the highlights was the duet between Bidlack’s gorgeous tenor and Cooke. Taking place before Hall knows his fate for certain, it’s hopeful and big in a way most of the opera is not, to its credit.”
(Jennifer Smart, Arts+Culture Texas)

(Photo credits: Karen Almond/The Dallas Opera)

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