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

Haitink at the Lucerne Festival

Bernard Haitink’s monumental Bruckner and Mahler performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) got me hooked on classical music. His legendary performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 in C-minor, where in the Finale loosened plaster fell from the Concertgebouw ceiling, is still recounted in Amsterdam.

BBC Prom 45 - Janáček: The Makropulos Affair

Karita Mattila was born to sing Emilia Marty, the diva around whom revolves Leoš Janáček's The Makropulos Affair (Věc Makropulos). At Prom 45, she shone all the more because she was conducted by Jirí Belohlávek and performed alongside a superb cast from the National Theatre, Prague, probably the finest and most idiomatic exponents of this repertoire.

Two Tales of Offenbach: Opera della Luna at Wilton's Music Hall

‘Two outrageous operas in one crazy evening,’ reads the bill. Hyperbole? Certainly not when the operas are two of Jacques Offenbach’s more off-the-wall bouffoneries and when the company is Opera della Luna whose artistic director, Jeff Clarke, is blessed with the comic imagination and theatrical nous to turn even the most vacuous trivia into a sharp and sassy riotous romp.

Britten Untamed! Glyndebourne: A Midsummer Night's Dream

This performance of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Glyndebourne was so good that it was the highlight of the whole season, making the term ‘revival’ utterly irrelevant. Jakub Hrůša is always stimulating, but on this occasion, his conducting was so inspired that I found myself closing my eyes in order to concentrate on what he revealed in Britten's quirky but brilliant score. Eyes closed in this famous production by Peter Hall, first seen in 1981?

Salzburg encores

A staged piano recital and an opera as a concert.  Pianist András Schiff accompanied the Salzburg Marionette Theater at the Mozarteum Grosser Saal and Anna Netrebko sang Manon Lescaut at the Grosses Festspielhaus.

Leah Crocetto at Santa Fe

On August 4, 2016, soprano Leah Crocetto and accompanist Tamara Sanikidze gave a recital at the Scottish Rite Center in Santa Fe New Mexico. A winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Contest, this year Crocetto was singing Donna Anna in Santa Fe Opera’s excellent Don Giovanni.

Angela Meade at Sante Fe

On July 31, 2016, against the ethereal beauty of the main hall in the Scottish Rite Center, soprano Angela Meade and pianist Joe Illick gave a recital offering both opera and art songs ranging in origin from early nineteenth century Europe to mid twentieth century America. Many in the audience probably remembered Meade’s recent excellent portrayal of Norma at Los Angeles Opera.

Turco in Italia in Pesaro

When more is definitely more, and less would indeed be less. Two of the biggest names in Italian theater art collide in an eponymous theater.

Proms Chamber Music 5: Shakespeare at 400

It was the fifth Proms Chamber Music concert at Cadogan Hall this season, and we were celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th. And, given the extent and range of the composers and artists, and the diversity and profundity of the musical achievement inspired by the Bard, we could probably keep celebrating in this fashion ad infinitum.

La donna del lago in Pesaro

Each August the bleak and leaky, 12,000 seat Arena Adriatica (home of the famed Pesaro basketball team) magically transforms itself into an improvised opera house that boasts the ultimate in opera chic — exemplary Rossini production standards for its now twelve hundred seats.

Proms at … Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

This highly enjoyable Prom, part of 2016’s ‘Proms at …’ mini-series, took as its guiding concept the reopening of London’s theatres following the Restoration, focusing in particular upon musical and dramatic responses to Shakespeare. Purcell, rightly, loomed large, with John Blow and Matthew Locke joining him. Receiving their Proms premieres were the excerpts from Timon of Athens and those from Locke’s The Tempest.

Santa Fe: Straussian Sweet Nothings

With all the bombast of the presidential campaigns rattling in our heads, with invectives being exchanged and measured discussion all but absent, how utterly lovely to retreat and relax into the harmonious soundscape and well-reasoned debate posed in Strauss’ Capriccio, on magnificent display at Santa Fe Opera.

Santa Fe’s Civil War Gounod

When we entered the Crosby Theatre for Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette the stage was surprisingly dominated by a somber, semi-circular black mausoleum, many chambers inscribed with scrambled names of US Civil War era dead.

Coolly Elegant Vanessa in the Desert

Molten passions were seething just below the icy Nordic exterior of Santa Fe Opera’s wholly masterful production of Barber’s Vanessa.

Le Comte Ory, Seattle

Farce is probably the most difficult of dramatic comedy sub-genres to put across. A farce got up in the stately robes of opera sets its presenters an even higher bar. Presenting an operatic farce on a notoriously chilly and cavernous auditorium is to risk catastrophe.

Racette’s Golden Girl in New Mexico

Fan interest began raging when Santa Fe Opera engaged venerable artist Patricia Racette to make her role debut as Minnie in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West.

Santa Fe’s Mozart Cast Sweeps All Before It

A funny thing happened on the way to Andalusia.

Die Liebe der Danae in Salzburg

The tale of a Syrian donkey driver. And, yes, the donkey stole the show! The competition was intense — the Vienna Philharmonic and the Grosses Festspielhaus in full production regalia for starters.

Snape Proms: Bostridge sings Brahms and Schumann

Two men, one woman. Both men worshipped and enshrined her in their music. The younger man was both devotee of and rival to the elder.

Cosi fan tutte in Salzburg

This Cosi fan tutte concludes the Salzburg Festival's current Mozart / DaPonte cycle staged by Sven-Eric Bechtolf, the festival's head of artistic planning.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Andrea Concetti as Moses [Photo by Liz Lauren courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater]
11 Aug 2010

Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto at Chicago Opera Theater

Although productions of Gioachino Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto are infrequent, the lively debate on successive versions of the work has generally led to questions of priority and to informative discussions on performance history.

Moses: Andrea Concetti; Faraone: Tom Corbeil; Elcia: Siân Davies; Amaltea: Kathryn Leemhuis; Mambre: Samuel Levine; Aronne: Jorge Prego; Amenofi: Emily Grace Righter; Osiride: Taylor Stayton. Conductor: Leonardo Vordoni. Director: Andrew Eggert. Production Designer: Anka Lupes. Lighting Designer: Keith Parham. Chicago Opera Theater.

Above: Andrea Concetti as Moses

All photos by Liz Lauren courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater

 

For the first opera during its Spring 2010 season Chicago Opera Theater staged a production based on the new critical edition of Mosè by Charles S. and Patricia B. Brauner. As Philip M. Gossett indicates in his notes accompanying the program for this production, the Italian Mosè, originally performed in Naples, “is a work of great value” which “contains some of Rossini’s finest music.” The present production, with strong vocal contributions from a convincing cast, gave ample support to these statements.

Under the direction of Leonardo Vordoni the brief orchestral prelude set a tone both stately and somber, in which the distraught court of the Pharaoh and the plight of Moses and his people are alternately depicted. Darkness has fallen over the land, and Faraone determines to free the camp of Moses in order to release Egypt from such a plague. When he sends for Moses and makes known his intention, the captive leader calls out to God and, with the gesture of his staff, causes light to return to the land. The two opposing leaders were sung by bass-baritone Tom Corbell as Faraone and bass Andrea Concetti as Mosè. Mr. Corbell showed admirable facility in his delivery of rapid notes whereas Mr. Concetti struck an imposing figure with declamatory weight in his delivery of Mosè’s opening lines. In the ensemble showing varied reactions to this change, brought about by Mosè, Faraone and his consort Amaltea are joined by the Egyptian heir and Prince Osiride along with Aronne, the compatriot of Mosè. Faraone declares that the Hebrews will, in return for this gesture, be set free and Amaltea supports the decision. Corbell as Faraone was joined in his florid statement with the equally challenging line composed for Amaltea, here sung admirably by Kathryn Leemhuis, a member of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Leemhuis gave a strong individual impression in her careful decoration yet blended with the others to yield a memorable and dramatic ensemble. The final lead member featured in this group was the Osiride of Taylor Stayton. Mr. Stayton shows great promise as a tenor able to project with dramatic lyricism the challenging dramatic line featured in this and comparable pieces by Rossini. Here Osiride expresses his disagreement concerning the release of the Hebrews, since his secret beloved Elcia is one of the people of Mosè, now scheduled to depart in freedom.

After the others leave, Osiride plots with the high priest Mambre and suggests that the latter use his powers to sow discord once again between Mosè and Faraone. Elcia now joins her lover Osiride in order to bid farewell as she expects to leave Egypt with Mosè. In their moving duet Siân Davies sang the part of Elcia with great urgency and proved to be an appropriate match for Mr. Stayton’s compelling depiction of the Egyptian prince. Upon the exciting conclusion to their duet, Amaltea appears and chides Mambre for his attempts to dissuade Faraone from releasing the Hebrews. Her words go unheeded, for Osiride’s plan has succeeded, Faraone declares his decision revoked, and the Hebrews feel themselves betrayed. At the close of the act Mosè invites further storms to fall upon the land of Egypt.

Moses_COT_Photo-5.gifTaylor Stayton as Osiride

After an intermission, Acts II and III were performed without pause in this production by Chicago Opera Theater. Attempts to resolve the imprisonment of the Hebrews are fueled by Amaltea’s independent negotiations with Mosè. At the same time Faraone resolves to marry off Osiride to an Armenian princess and to proclaim him co-ruler of Egypt. The dismay of Osiride was expressed in Stayton’s fervent delivery, in which he maintained hopes still to retain Elcia’s love. When the latter enters among the imprisoned Hebrews, she advised Osiride to seek an equivalent love in his official betrothed. Ms. Davies’ moving expressiveness and exquisitely secure pitch in this aria remained one of the highlights of the performance. Osiride then threatens violence to Mosè but he is, instead, struck dead by a lightning bolt; as the act concludes, both Faraone and Elcia mourn his loss.

Moses_COT_Photo-8.gifJorge Prego as Aronne, Andrea Concetti as Moses and Siân Davies as Elcia with the Israelites

In the brief Act III on the banks of the Red Sea the famous prayer delivered by Mosè calms his people, who fear that they will be sacrificed to the anger of Faraone’s troops. Elcia is encouraged to continue her journey with the other Hebrews. In this Mr. Concetti as Mosè delivered a fervent declamation in the concluding piece of the opera. The Red Sea parts and his people cross, just as Faraone and the high priest are swallowed up as they attempt to pursue. The dramatic moment received an appropriately conclusive orchestral flourish.

Salvatore Calomino

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):