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

Poliuto, Glyndebourne

Donizetti’s Poliuto at Glyndebourne could well become one of of the great Glyndebourne classics.

Carmen by ENO

Dystopic vision of Carmen, brought to life by vibrantly gripping performances

Pacific Opera Project Presents Ariadne auf Naxos

Pacific Opera Project, a small Los Angeles company, presented a production of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Ebell Club with an excellent group of young singers at the beginning of what should be good careers.

Varispeed pushes the possibilities of opera forward with Robert Ashley’s Crash

Six people, dressed in ordinary clothing, sitting in a row at desks adorned only with microphones and glasses of water, and talking for ninety minutes: is it opera?

Rising Stars in Concert, Lyric Opera of Chicago

The spring concert of Rising Stars in Concert, sponsored by and featuring current members of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, showcased a number of talents that will no doubt continue to grace the stages of the world’s operatic theaters.

The Singers Sparkle in New York Opera Exchange’s Carmen

New York Opera Exchange’s production of Carmen from May 8th to 10th highlighted that which opera devotees have been saying for years: Opera, far from being dead, is vibrant and evolving.

‘Where’er You Walk’: Handel’s Favourite Tenor

I have sometimes lamented the preference of Ian Page’s Classical Opera for concert performances and recordings over staged productions, albeit that their renditions of eighteenth-century operas and vocal works are unfailingly stylish, illuminating and supported by worthy research.

The Pirates of Penzance, ENO

Topsy Turvy, Mike Leigh’s 1999 film starring Timothy Spall and Jim Broadbent, dramatized the fraught working relationship of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan; it won four Oscar nominations (garnering two Academy Awards, for costume and make-up) and is a wonderful exploration of the creative process of bringing a theatrical work to life.

Manitoba Opera: Turandot

There’s little doubt that Puccini’s Turandot is a flawed, illogical fairytale. Yet it continues to resonate today with its undying “love shall conquer all” ethos, where even the most heinous crimes may be forgiven by that which makes the world go ‘round.

Mariachi Opera El Pasado Nunca se Termina Comes to San Diego

On April 25, 2015, San Diego Opera presented it’s second Mariachi opera: El Pasado Nunca se Termina (The Past is Never Finished) by Jose “Pepe” Martinez, Leonard Foglia and Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán.

Antonio Pappano: Royal Opera House Orchestral Concerts

Ambition achieved! Antonio Pappano brought the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House out of the pit and onto the stage, the centre of attention in their own right.

Bedřich Smetana: Dalibor, Barbican Hall

Jiří Bělohlávek’s annual Czech opera series at the Barbican, London, with the BBC SO continued with Bedřich Smetana’s Dalibor.

Orlando Explores Art Without Boundaries

R.B. Schlather’s production of Handel’s Orlando asks the enigmatic question: Where do the boundaries of performance art begin, and where do they end?

The Virtues of Things

A good number of recent shorter operas, particularly those performed in this country, made a stronger impression with their libretti than their scores.

Król Roger, Royal Opera

It has taken almost 89 years for Karol Szymanowski’s Król Roger to reach the stage of Covent Garden.

San Diego Opera Celebrates 50 Years of Great Singing

San Diego Opera, the company that General Manager Ian Campbell had scheduled for demolition, proved that it is alive and singing as beautifully as ever. Its 2015 season was cut back slightly and management has become a bit leaner, but the company celebrated its fiftieth season in fine style with a concert that included many of the greatest arias ever written.

Hercules vs Vampires: Film Becomes Opera!

In the early sixties, Italian film director Mario Bava was making pictures with male body builders whose well oiled physiques appeared spectacular on the screen.

J. C. Bach: Adriano in Siria

At this start of the year, Classical Opera embarked upon an ambitious project. MOZART 250 will see the company devote part of its programme each season during the next 27 years to exploring the music by Mozart and his contemporaries which was being written and performed exactly 250 years previously.

Bethan Langford, Wigmore Hall

The Concordia Foundation was founded in the early 1990s by international singer and broadcaster Gillian Humphreys, out of her ‘real concern for building bridges of friendship and excellence through music and the arts’.

Tansy Davies: Between Worlds (world premiere)

An opera dealing with — or at least claiming to deal with — the events of 11 September 2001? I suppose it had to come, but that does not necessarily make it any more necessary.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

W. A. Mozart by Johann Nepomuk della Croce (1736-1819) [Source: Wikipedia]
14 Aug 2011

Opera at Grant Park Music Festival

For its seventh program of the Summer 2011 season the Grant Park Music Festival presented concert ensembles performed by members of the Ryan Opera Center of Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Ryan Opera Center: Scenes from Donizetti, Mozart & Rossini

Click here for program notes.

Above: W. A. Mozart by Johann Nepomuk della Croce (1736-1819) [Source: Wikipedia]

 

Carlos Kalmar conducted the Grant Park Orchestra in selections by Mozart, Donizetti, and Rossini. Commentary was provided by Jack Zimmerman as narrator.

The first selection was Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor, or The Impessario. Since this one-act piece allows for both solo and ensemble singing by the four soloists, it proved to be an appropriate introduction to the evening. The rival sopranos Madame Goldentrill and Miss Silverpeal were sung, respectively, by Kiri Deonarine and Emily Birsan. Mr. Angel the Impressario and Mr. Bluff were sung by Bernard Holcomb and Joseph Lim. After settling into the overture Calmar encouraged orchestral colors especially in the woodwinds, so that the concept of subsequent vocal pieces was truly prefigured. Mr. Zimmerman’s versified summaries and comments propelled the piece toward the two arias sung by the sopranos. As Mme. Goldentrill Ms. Deonarine projected a secure vocal technique with an especially vivid effect on “Du kannst gewiss nich treulos sein” (“Surely you cannot be unfaithful”). Her rapid passagework was equally accomplished with top notes securely placed. Ms. Birsan sang with matching confidence yet perhaps with a shade more volume than needed in some of the rising lines. In the following trio both women overwhelmed Mr. Holcomb’s character as he tried to settle their dispute. Here Ms. Deonarine’s rise to high ntes on the word “Adagio” showed a sound technique and steady control of pitch. The entry of Mr. Bluff and the accompanying final ensemble provided opportunities for the four soloists to extend their pleas. Mr. Lim’s polished sense of line and his musical play on Buff and O showed him to be a worthy partner in the vocal dispute that ends with “Künstler müssen freilich streben” (“Artists must always strive”).

The second selection of the evening, Act Two of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, featured excellent contributions by Jennifer Jakob as Norina, Paul La rosa as Malatesta, and David Govertsen as Don Pasquale. At the start of the act René Barbera made a worthy showpiece of the nephew’s aria, “Povero Ernesto!” (“Poor Ernesto!”). His seamless range, high notes, and occasional use of piano (e.g. in “nè frapposti monti e mar” [“nor seas and mountains in between”]) were a welcome contribution to the overall shape of the aria. The singing of bass-baritone David Govertsen in the role of Don Pasquale, with an impressive bel canto technique extending to his lowest range, provided consistent stylish character to the title role. The Norina of Ms. Jakob was alternately understated and petulant, as expected in her variable persona, throughout the act. Her diction was accurate and she shaded her voice subtlety on words such as giovane (“young woman”) to emphasize the word’s import. In bel canto ensembles and in her individual decoration Ms. Jakob gave the impression of inhabiting the role comfortably. Mr. La Rosa’s sonorous baritone was an equally welcome voice in ensembles yet also in the delivery of individual parts in recitative. The line “ … un matrimonio in regula a stringere si va” (“a lawful marriage will herewith be contracted”) was released with deeply felt legato, while La Rosa launched with skilled decoration into the part “Ah! Figliuol, non mi far scene” (“Oh, my son, don’t make a scene”).

In the final selection, Act Two of Rossini’s La cenerentola, Emily Fons gave an exceptional performance as Angelina, the Cinderella of the title. Don Magnifico, sung here with rapid understatement by Evan Boyer, introduced in the first scene the continuing domestic and royal misunderstandings. In the following scene the remaining principals were introduced. James Kryschak sang Don Ramiro’s aria with the expected poise of a Rossini tenor, although some of the top notes were overly loud. Paul Scholten’s approach to Dandini in solo pieces and his duet with Don Magnifico was tasteful in his buffo lines and seamless in his well enunciated runs. Mr. Govertsen’s Alidoro made a strong impression with the hope for an assumption of the complete role in the future. It is in the fourth and fifth scenes and in the finale to Act Two that the mezzo role of Angelina truly rises to vocal splendor. Ms. Fons displayed a mature and focused line in her wistful rendering of “Una volta c’era un re” (“Once upon a time there was a king”). In the following scene of recognition, with identities and affections finally sorted out, the sextet was noteworthy for individual and ensemble contributions. For the finale, the title character’s arias “Nacqui all’ affanno” and “Non più mesta” were, in the memorable performance of Ms. Fons, models of bel canto singing recalling an earlier time. In the first aria she introduced appropriate decoration on “la sorte mia” (“my lot”) and ended the line on “cangiò” (“has changed”) with an exquisite trill. Several of the escape tones and other fitting ornamentation included in her polished rendition of “Non più mesta” enhanced a performance of future great promise.

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):