Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Evergreen Baby in Colorado

Central City Opera celebrated the 60th anniversary of The Ballad of Baby Doe with a hip, canny, multi-faceted new production.

Lean and Mean Tosca in Colorado

Someone forgot to tell Central City Opera that it would be difficult to fit Puccini’s (usually) architecturally large Tosca on their small stage.

Die Walküre, Baden-Baden

A cast worthy of Bayreuth made for an unforgettable Wagnerian experience at the Sommer Festspiele in Baden-Baden.

Des Moines’ Elusive Manon

Loving attention to the highest quality was everywhere evident in Des Moines Metro Opera’s Manon.

Falstaff in Iowa: A Big Fat Hit

Des Moines Metro Opera had (almost) all the laughs in the right places, and certainly had all the right singers in these meaty roles to make for an enjoyable outing with Verdi’s masterpiece

Die Fledermaus, Opera Holland Park

With the thermometers reaching boiling point, there’s no doubt that summer has finally arrived in London. But, the sun seems to have been shining over the large marquee in Holland Park all summer.

Nice, July 14, and then . . .

J.S. Bach’s cerebral Art of the Fugue in Aix, Verdi’s massive Requiem in Orange, Ibn al-Muqaffa’ ‘s fable of the camel, jackal, wolf and crow, Sophocles’ blind Oedipus Rex and the Bible’s triumphant Psalm No. 150 in Aix.

Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance

The champagne corks popped at the close of this year’s Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance at the Royal Opera House, with Prince Orlofsky’s celebratory toast forming a fitting conclusion to some superb singing.

Prom 2: Boris Godunov, ROH

Bryn Terfel is making a habit of performing Russian patriarchs at the Proms.

Des Moines’ Gluck Sets the Standard

What happens when just everything about an operatic performance goes joyously right?

Des Moines: Jewels in Perfect Settings

Two years ago, the well-established Des Moines Metro Opera experimented with a 2nd Stages program, with performances programmed outside of their home stage at Simpson College.

First Night of the Proms 2016

What to make of the unannounced decision to open this concert with the Marseillaise? I am sure it was well intended, and perhaps should leave it at that.

La Cenerentola, Opera Holland Park

In a fairy-tale, it can sometimes feel as if one is living a dream but on the verge of being awoken to a shock. Such is life in these dark and uncertain days.

Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno in Aix

The tense, three hour knock-down-drag-out seduction of Beauty by Pleasure consumed our souls in this triumphal evening. Forget Time and Disillusion as destructors, they were the very constructors of the beauty and pleasure found in this miniature oratorio.

Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Three parallel universes (before losing count) — the ephemeral Debussy/Maeterlinck masterpiece, the Debussy symphonic tone poem, and the twisted intricacies of a moldy, parochially English country estate.

Siegfried, Opera North

This, alas, was where I had to sign off. A weekend conference on Parsifal (including, on the Saturday, a showing of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s Parsifal film) mean that I missed Götterdämmerung, skipping straight to the sequel.

Götterdämmerung, Opera North

The culmination of Opera North’s “Ring for Everyone”, this Götterdämmerung showed the power of the condensed movement so necessary in a staged performance - each gesture of each character was perfectly judged - as well as the visceral power of having Wagner’s huge orchestra on stage as opposed to the pit.

Le nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne

Michael Grandage's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, which was new in 2012, returned to Glyndebourne on 3 July 2016 revived by Ian Rutherford.

Cosi fan tutte at the Aix Festival

Said and done the audience roared its enjoyment of the performance, reserving even greater enthusiasm to greet stage director Christophe Honoré with applauding boos and whistles that bespoke enormous pleasure, complicity and befuddlement.

In Parenthesis, Welsh National Opera in London

‘A century after the Somme, who still stands with Britain?’ So read a headline in yesterday’s Evening Standard on the eve of the centenary of the first day of that battle which, 141 days later, would grind to a halt with 1,200,000 British, French, German and Allied soldiers dead or injured.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

The Lady of the Lake by Howard Chandler Christy (1910)
16 Apr 2007

City Opera Presents La Donna del Lago

The New York City Opera continued its tradition of championing works that are less frequently performed with this season’s production of La Donna del Lago.

Above: The Lady of the Lake by Howard Chandler Christy (1910)

 

Although the New York Times regarded the straight-forward plot as purely conventional we experienced the adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake as somewhat unusual opera seria largely because the ending was happy, the king did not get the girl, and the only death occurred off-stage. Briefly, the plot consists of three men who each love Elena (the title character): Rodrigo, who has been promised her hand in marriage by her father; Uberto, the king of Scotland in disguise (a surprise to us all at the very end); and Malcolm, a handsome young man with few credentials to recommend him to her father other than the deep love he and Elena share.

La Donna has grown in popularity lately due to the diligence of musicologist Philip Gossett, who worked with Marilyn Horne in reviving Semiramide. La Donna also has a pants role—Elena’s young lover Malcolm is cast as a mezzo-soprano—and like Semiramide, it is the soprano/mezzo-soprano love duets that offer the most musically sensual moments.

Laura Vlasak Nolen as Malcolm stirred what was otherwise a somewhat sleepy matinee audience on Saturday, March 24, rousing them to cheers with her first-act aria, an electric out-pouring of love for the absent Elena. Nolen’s duets with Alexandrina Pendatchanska as Elena were also cause for much applause.

Pendatchanska’s voice and training were well-suited to the bel canto role of Elena, but she was at times hard to hear, possibly because the orchestra was overpowering her extremely florid and delicate sound. The two high tenors, characteristic of Rossini but a rare find nowadays, were also impressive. Robert MacPherson as Rodrigo was a very commanding presence, if somewhat inconsistent; we particularly were impressed with his energy in his first aria. The role of Uberto was ably filled by tenor Barry Banks who has a close performing relationship with Pendatchanska. Elena’s controlling father Douglas was performed by Daniel Mobbs.

The orchestra also performed admirably. The musicians handled the challenges of Rossini well, keeping the scales clean and the touch light. The woodwinds are to be especially commended for their solos in the overture. Too, offstage horns heralding the onset of war created some of the greatest spatial effects of the opera.

The set and costumes were designed by David Zinn, who characteristically employed lots of brick in his set design. The overall feeling was somewhat claustrophobic, especially in the scene inside Elena’s home where the wings moved inward and the towering walls reached the fly. Still, you must admire the man who tries to portray a lake with a wall of bricks. The uncomfortable effect was heightened by the presence of numerous stiff-looking chairs that were toted about the stage by stern women dressed in black. One other moment was particularly unfortunate in large part because of the set and staging: although the first duet of the opera was well-sung and dramatically acted, the mood was ruined by laughter elicited from the audience when Elena and her suitor Uberto exited the stage in a boat that was ostensibly carrying them across the lake.

Overall, City Opera’s production of La Donna had an emotional impact that was greater then the sum of its parts. While the audience seemed somewhat disinterested, we found the singers strong and Rossini’s music beautiful. A unique work in the canon, we are truly appreciative of the effort given on all fronts to put on this gem.

Sarah Gerk
Megan Jenkins

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):