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 Reviews

Béatrice and Bénédict at Glyndebourne

‘A caprice written with the point of a needle’: so Berlioz described his opera Béatrice and Bénédict, which pares down Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing to its comic quintessence, shorn of the sub-plots, destroyed reputations and near-bloodshed of Shakespeare’s original.

Der fliegende Holländer, Bavarian State Opera

‘This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.’ It is, perhaps, a line quoted too often; yet, even though it may not have been entirely accurate on this occasion, it came to my mind. Its accuracy might be questioned in several respects.

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.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Joyce DiDonato as Elena [Photo © 2013 Ken Howard]
13 Aug 2013

La Donna del Lago at Santa Fe

Based on Sir Walter Scott’s narrative poem “The Lady of the Lake,” the opera by Rossini and librettist Andrea Leone Tottola was first seen in 1819 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

La Donna del Lago at Santa Fe

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Joyce DiDonato as Elena

Photos © 2013 Ken Howard

 

DDL_0706.gifJoyce DiDonato as Elena and Marianna Pizzolato as Malcolm

It tells of James V of Scotland (1512 - 1542), the father of Mary Queen of Scots, and his relationship with the family of his estranged tutor, Duglas of Angus. The Lady of the Lake was Duglas’s daughter, Elena, who often enjoyed boating on Loch Katrine.

Not many United States operagoers have seen Gioachino Rossini’s 1819 opera, La Donna del Lago. Thus, when performances were announced at Santa Fe Opera, all six were sold out before opening night. As a result, the company added a performance at the end of the season. Based on Sir Walter Scott’s narrative poem The Lady of the Lake, the opera by Rossini and librettist Andrea Leone Tottola was first seen in 1819 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. It tells of James V of Scotland (1512 - 1542), the father of Mary Queen of Scots, and his relationship with the family of his estranged tutor, Duglas of Angus. The Lady of the Lake was Duglas’s daughter, Elena, who often enjoyed boating on Loch Katrine.

Director Paul Curran described the work as a medieval story based in Arthurian legend but seen through nineteenth century eyes. He told the story in realistic terms without any updating. Kevin Knight’s scenery was plain, but evocative of the ambience of the heather-strewn Scottish countryside. His costumes set the action in the unrest of the sixteenth century. Lighting is always of optimum importance in this open-sided theater and Duane Schuler’s designs added much to the visual quality of the piece.

Santa Fe Opera’s production featured an all-star cast in which coloratura mezzo-sopranos Joyce DiDonato and Marianna Pizzolato sang with agile-voiced tenors Lawrence Brownlee and René Barbera. DiDonato was a tall, elegant Elena, who rendered the most difficult coloratura with exquisite taste and beauty of tone. Brownlee was brilliant as Uberto, the disguised King James V. The flexibility of his voice is truly amazing, but even though he was a ruler, he did not get the girl! Neither did Barbera as Rodrigo di Dhu, whom Duglas had chosen to be Elena's husband. While Brownlee’s voice is smooth and his tones burnished, Barbera’s is light and bright. The suitor who finally wins Elena is Malcolm, a pants-role character. Pizzolato sang the part with smooth tones and wonderful vocal flexibility.

DDL_3144.gifRene Barbera as Rodrigo, Joyce DiDonato as Elena, and Lawrence Brownlee as Uberto

Duglas, portrayed by Wayne Tigges, was the main villain in the piece. He sang with dark menacing tones and commanded the stage while keeping his daughter apart from her true love. Three apprentices acquitted themselves well in this performance. Lucy Sauter was a sweet-sounding Albina, while Joshua Dennis and David Blalock were effective in their roles as servants. Every year Susanne Sheston makes a first class opera chorus out of the diverse group of apprentices who come to Santa Fe for the summer. This year she has succeeded beyond all expectations. Although the work was new to them, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra conducted by Stephen Lord played Rossini’s difficult score in exquisite bel canto style. There were many solos, particularly for wind instruments and all of them were perfectly rendered. With Rossini’s fabulous music and this wonderful cast, perhaps we will be able to become more familiar with this beautiful opera and hear it in other settings.

by Maria Nockin


Cast and production Information:

Elena, Joyce DiDonato; Uberto (James V in disguise), Lawrence Brownlee; Albina, Lucy Sauter; Serano, Joshua Dennis; Malcolm, Marianna Pizzolato; Duglas, Wayne Tigges; Rodrigo, René Barbera; Bertram, David Blalock; Director, Paul Curran; Design, Kevin Knight; Lighting, Duane Schuler; Chorus Master, Susanne Sheston; Conductor, Stephen Lord.

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):