Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

A Musical Reunion at Garsington Opera

The hum of bees rising from myriad scented blooms; gentle strains of birdsong; the cheerful chatter of picnickers beside a still lake; decorous thwacks of leather on willow; song and music floating through the warm evening air.

'In my end is my beginning': Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida perform Winterreise at Wigmore Hall

All good things come to an end, so they say. Let’s hope that only the ‘good thing’ part of the adage is ever applied to Wigmore Hall, and that there is never any sign of ‘an end’.

Iestyn Davies and Elizabeth Kenny bring 'sweet music' to Wigmore Hall

Countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny kicked off the final week of live lunchtime recitals broadcast online and on radio from Wigmore Hall.

From Our House to Your House: live from the Royal Opera House

I’m not ashamed to confess that I watched this live performance, streamed from the stage of the Royal Opera House, with a tear in my eye.

Woman’s Hour with Roderick Williams and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

At the start of this lunchtime recital, Roderick Williams set out the rationale behind the programme that he and pianist Joseph Middleton presented at Wigmore Hall, bringing to a close a second terrific week of live lunchtime broadcasts, freely accessible via Wigmore Hall’s YouTube channel and BBC Radio 3.

Natalya Romaniw - Arion: Voyage of a Slavic Soul

Sailing home to Corinth, bearing treasures won in a music competition, the mythic Greek bard, Arion, found his golden prize coveted by pirates and his life in danger.

Purcell’s The Indian Queen from Lille

Among the few compensations opera lovers have had from the COVID crisis is the abundance – alas, plethora – of streamed opera productions we might never have seen or even known of without it.

Philip Venables' Denis & Katya: teenage suicide and audience complicity

As an opera composer, Philip Venables writes works quite unlike those of many of his contemporaries. They may not even be operas at all, at least in the conventional sense - and Denis & Katya, the most recent of his two operas, moves even further away from this standard. But what Denis & Katya and his earlier work, 4.48 Psychosis, have in common is that they are both small, compact forces which spiral into extraordinarily powerful and explosive events.

A new, blank-canvas Figaro at English National Opera

Making his main stage debut at ENO with this new production of The Marriage of Figaro, theatre director Joe Hill-Gibbins professes to have found it difficult to ‘develop a conceptual framework for the production to inhabit’.

Massenet’s Chérubin charms at Royal Academy Opera

“Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio … Now I’m fire, now I’m ice, any woman makes me change colour, any woman makes me quiver.”

Bluebeard’s Castle, Munich

Last year the world’s opera companies presented only nine staged runs of Béla Bartòk’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

The Queen of Spades at Lyric Opera of Chicago

If obsession is key to understanding the dramatic and musical fabric of Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades, the current production at Lyric Opera of Chicago succeeds admirably in portraying such aspects of the human psyche.

WNO revival of Carmen in Cardiff

Unveiled by Welsh National Opera last autumn, this Carmen is now in its first revival. Original director Jo Davies has abandoned picture postcard Spain and sun-drenched vistas for images of grey, urban squalor somewhere in modern-day Latin America.

Lise Davidsen 'rescues' Tobias Kratzer's Fidelio at the Royal Opera House

Making Fidelio - Beethoven’s paean to liberty, constancy and fidelity - an emblem of the republican spirit of the French Revolution is unproblematic, despite the opera's censor-driven ‘Spanish’ setting.

A sunny, insouciant Così from English Touring Opera

Beach balls and parasols. Strolls along the strand. Cocktails on the terrace. Laura Attridge’s new production of Così fan tutte which opened English Touring Opera’s 2020 spring tour at the Hackney Empire, is a sunny, insouciant and often downright silly affair.

A wonderful role debut for Natalya Romaniw in ENO's revival of Minghella's Madama Butterfly

The visual beauty of Anthony Minghella’s 2005 production of Madama Butterfly, now returning to the Coliseum stage for its seventh revival, still takes one’s breath away.

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird at Seattle

It appears that Charlie Parker’s Yardbird has reached the end of its road in Seattle. Since it opened in 2015 at Opera Philadelphia it has played Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and the English National Opera.

La Périchole in Marseille

The most notable of all Péricholes of Offenbach’s sentimental operetta is surely the legendary Hortense Schneider who created the role back in 1868 at Paris’ Théâtre des Varietés. Alas there is no digital record.

Three Centuries Collide: Widmann, Ravel and Beethoven

It’s very rare that you go to a concert and your expectation of it is completely turned on its head. This was one of those. Three works, each composed exactly a century apart, beginning and ending with performances of such clarity and brilliance.

Seventeenth-century rhetoric from The Sixteen at Wigmore Hall

‘Yes, in my opinion no rhetoric more persuadeth or hath greater power over the mind; hath not Musicke her figures, the same which Rhetorique? What is a but her Antistrophe? her reports, but sweet Anaphora's? her counterchange of points, Antimetabole's? her passionate Aires but Prosopopoea's? with infinite other of the same nature.’

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Park Avenue Armory Portraits
04 Feb 2018

Lisette Oropesa sings at Tucson Desert Song Festival

On January 30, 2018, Arizona Opera and the Tucson Desert Song Festival presented a recital by lyric soprano Lisette Oropesa in the University of Arizona’s Holsclaw Hall. Looking like a high fashion model in her silver trimmed midnight-blue gown, the singer and pianist Michael Borowitz began their program with Pablo Luna’s Zarzuela aria, “De España Vengo.” (“I come from Spain”).

Lisette Oropesa sings at Tucson Desert Song Festival

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Lisette Oropesa [Portrait courtesy of Park Avenue Armory Portraits]

 

It’s text by Antonio Paso and Enrique García Álvarez searches for acceptance within the native country. Since Tucson is located near the Mexican border, the audience understood the emotions portrayed in this song despite the fact that it was written early in the last century.

Oropesa is a lyric soprano with a sizeable voice and the technique of a coloratura. It’s a powerful combination that allows her to sing fiendishly difficult roles like Konstanze in Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio with the utmost authority. A perfectionist when it comes to the technical aspects of coloratura singing, Oropesa also saw to it that no one in the audience could fail to understand her songs. In the program, she printed not only the words to each selection in the original language, but their translation as well. She also left the lighting high enough for any necessary reading while she was singing.

Oropesa and Borowitz then performed three Mozart lieder: “As Luise Burned the Letters of Her Untrue Lover,” K 520; “Evening Feeling,” K 523; and “Be Thou my Consolation,” K391. She made everyone in the audience feel Luise’s pain as she remembered the contents of the letters she burned. Oropesa touched many emotions when she sang about the words of love having been written to another young girl as well as Luise. Oropesa and Borowitz then reminded the audience of the beauty of night. It was especially appropriate on this late January evening as we knew that outside we would be greeted by the second full moon of the month, a large, reddish-colored globe that would later follow us north to Phoenix. Singer and pianist painted a cool aural picture of night and its respite from the heat of a desert day. They finished the Mozart group with a paen to living the solitary life, by choice or otherwise. Oropesa has a seamless technique. Her tones were bathed in pastel colors as they evoked the emotions of her words.

Leonard Bernstein’s 1949 “Two Love Songs” tell of a love that is stronger than life and can weld two souls together so that they sing a single melody. Oropesa’s butter cream tones were completely unified with Borowitz’s shimmering melodic strains. She finished the first half of the recital with an exquisite rendition of the “Vocalise” that Camille Saint-Saens wrote on a visit to Egypt in 1901. It is a wonderful text-free song that allows the coloratura to use some of her most intricate and difficult maneuvers. For Oropesa, it was a pièce de résistance.

After the intermission, Oropesa returned with “Four Songs” that Samuel Barber wrote between 1937 and 1940. In the first song, which has a text by British Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, a young woman looks for a peaceful life of contemplation in the convent. Would she find it in this melodic ambience? “The Secrets of the Old” seemed very much to the point because Oropesa sang to an audience that included many of the university’s voice teachers. Most of them had been performers who retired to teach in the warm climate of Southern Arizona. “Sure on this Shining Night” has become one of Barbers popular works. Oropesa and Borowitz put their own shine on its cachet before finishing the group with the sweet and chromatic "Nocturne."

Following the Barber, Oropesa and Borowitz performed two songs by Georges Bizet from his Op. 21, “Twenty Melodies.” He wrote them between 1838 and the year of the Carmen premiere, 1875. In “Chant d’amour,” the lady entreats her lover to enjoy the beauty of summer out of doors. The second, “The Arabian Hostess’s Farewell,” spoke of unrequited love and the sorrow of parting from someone who will never return. Oropesa and Borowitz rendered each song with a full quotient of emotion in a seemingly effortless manner.

Because it is the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, almost every opera company seems to be presenting his Candide. Not to be outdone by the sopranos singing the show’s best known aria, “Glitter and be Gay,” Oropesa sang it wearing at least ten sets of Mardi Gras beads which she threw to the audience at the song’s finale. It was a fine ending to a lovely concert, but their public would not let these artists go without an encore. From Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Oropesa sang “Prendi, per me sei libero” to a smiling crowd that exited the hall humming the lovely melodies they had heard from these wonderful artists.

Maria Nockin


Program:

LUNA: El Niño Judio, “De España Vengo.”
MOZART: “Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte;” “Abendempfindung;” “Sei du mein Trost. “
BERNSTEIN: Two Love Songs: “Extinguish My Eyes;” “When My Soul Touches Yours.”
SAINT-SAENS: Vocalise “Le Rossignol et la Rose.”
Intermission
BARBER: Four Songs “A Nun Takes the Veil;” “The Secrets of the Old;” “Sure on This Shining Night;” “Nocturne.”
BIZET: From Twenty Mélodies “Chant d’Amour;” “Adieu de l’hôtesse Arabe.”
BERNSTEIN: Candide “Glitter and Be Gay.”

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):