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

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.’

Hrůša’s Mahler: A Resurrection from the Golden Age

Jakub Hrůša has an unusual gift for a conductor and that is to make the mightiest symphony sound uncommonly intimate. There were many moments during this performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony where he grappled with its monumental scale while reducing sections of it to chamber music; times when the power of his vision might crack the heavens apart and times when a velvet glove imposed the solitude of prayer.

Full-Throated Troubador Serenades San José

Verdi’s sublimely memorable melodies inform and redeem his setting of the dramatically muddled Il Trovatore, the most challenging piece to stage of his middle-period successes.

Opera North deliver a chilling Turn of the Screw

Storm Dennis posed no disruption to this revival of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, first unveiled at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2010, but there was plenty of emotional turbulence.

Luisa Miller at English National Opera

Verdi's Luisa Miller occupies an important position in the composer's operatic output. Written for Naples in 1849, the work's genesis was complex owing to problems with the theatre and the Neapolitan censors.

Eugène Onéguine in Marseille

A splendid 1997 provincial production of Tchaikovsky’s take on Pushkin’s Bryonic hero found its way onto a major Provençal stage just now. The historic Opéra Municipal de Marseille possesses a remarkable acoustic that allowed the Pushkin verses to flow magically through Tchaikovsky’s ebullient score.

Opera Undone: Tosca and La bohème

If opera can sometimes seem unyieldingly conservative, even reactionary, it made quite the change to spend an evening hearing and seeing something which was so radically done.

A refined Acis and Galatea at Cadogan Hall

The first performance of Handel's two-act Acis and Galatea - variously described as a masque, serenata, pastoral or ‘little opera’ - took place in the summer of 1718 at Cannons, the elegant residence of James Brydges, Earl of Carnavon and later Duke of Chandos.

Lise Davidsen: A superlative journey through the art of song

Are critics capable of humility? The answer should always be yes, yet I’m often surprised how rare it seems to be. It took the film critic of The Sunday Times, Dilys Powell, several decades to admit she had been wrong about Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, a film excoriated on its release in 1960. It’s taken me considerably less time - and largely because of this astounding recital - to realise I was very wrong about Lise Davidsen.

Parsifal in Toulouse

Aurélien Bory, director of a small, avant garde theater company in Toulouse, staged a spellbinding Parsifal at the Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse’s famed Orchestre National du Capitole in the pit — FYI the Capitole is Toulouse’s city hall, the opera house is a part of it.

An Evening with Rosina Storchio: Ermonela Jaho at Wigmore Hall

‘The world’s most acclaimed Soprano’: the programme booklet produced for Ermonela Jaho’s Wigmore Hall debut was keen to emphasise the Albanian soprano’s prestigious status, as judged by The Economist, and it was standing-room only at the Hall which was full to capacity with Jaho’s fervent fans and opera-lovers.

Parsifal in Palermo

Richard Wagner chose to finish his Good Friday opera while residing in Sicily’s Palermo, partaking of the natural splendors of its famed verdant basin, the Conca d’Oro, and reveling in the golden light of its surreal Monreale cathedral.

Vladimir Jurowski conducts a magnificent Siegfried

“Siegfried is the Man of the Future, the man we wish, the man we will, but cannot make, and the man who must create himself through our annihilation.” This was Richard Wagner, writing in 1854, his thoughts on Siegfried. The hero of Wagner’s Siegfried, however, has quite some journey to travel before he gets to the vision the composer described in that letter to August Roeckel. Watching Torsten Kerl’s Siegfried in this - largely magnificent - concert performance one really wondered how tortuous a journey this would be.

I Capuleti e i Montecchi in Rome

Shakespearean sentiments may gracefully enrich Gounod’s Romeo et Juliet, but powerful Baroque tensions enthrall us in the bel canto complexities of Vincenzo Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Conductor Daniele Gatti’s offered a truly fine bel canto evening at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera introducing a trio of fine young artists.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali makes versatile debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali has been making waves internationally for some time. The chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra is set to take over from Esa-Pekka Salonen as principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in 2021.

Tristan und Isolde in Bologna

East German stage director Ralf Pleger promised us a Tristan unlike anything we had ever seen. It was indeed. And Slovakian conductor Jura Valčuha gave us a Tristan as never before heard. All of this just now in the most Wagnerian of all Italian cities — Bologna!


Seductively morbid – The Fall of the House of Usher in The Hague

What does it feel like to be depressed? “It’s like water seeping into my heart” is how one young sufferer put it.

Daring Pairing Doubles the Fun by Pacific Opera Project

Puccini’s only comedy, the one act Gianni Schicchi is most often programmed with a second short piece of tragic fare, but the adventurous Pacific Opera Project has banked on a fanciful Ravel opus to sustain the mood and send the audience home with tickled ribs and gladdened hearts.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Rising Stars in Concert 2018 at Lyric Opera of Chicago
18 Apr 2018

Rising Stars in Concert 2018 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

On a recent weekend evening the performers in the current roster of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago presented a concert of operatic selections showcasing their musical talents. The Lyric Opera Orchestra accompanied the performers and was conducted by Edwin Outwater.

Rising Stars in Concert 2018 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

A review by Salvatore Calomino

Above image courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago

 

From the start the selections were performed with dedication and with attention to both text and music. The scene including a solo aria for the role of Robert in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta was delivered with a practiced style by Takaoki Onishi. His neatly controlled forte notes and ease at diminuendo added to the overall effect of his character. Comedy and sustained lyricism were cleverly blended in the duet for Nemorino and Dr. Dulcamara as performed by Mario Rojas and Alan Higgs. The two subsequent numbers from Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, featuring Lindsay Metzger and Alec Carlson were notable for the fine diction observed by both singers, while they acted out the sentiments of the imaginative protagonist convincingly.

The excerpt from Catalani’s La Wally, “Ne andrò lontana,” was an opportunity to hear the excellent range of soprano Ann Toomey. Her penetrating voice, when producing high, forte pitches, is clear and emphatic yet capable of shading to a sudden diminuendo as she equates her own departure to the ceasing of a bell’s toll. Verdi’s I masnadieri is a rich musical trove for various vocal types as here exemplified by the duet for tenor and bass sung by Mr. Carlson and Patrick Guetti. Both singers respond urgently to the dramatic needs of this moment in the score. Guetti’s distinctly colored bass exudes power while expressing emotional touches of familial devotion. Extended notes held at the close by Guetti echoed impressively. The gavotte from Massenet’s Manon was staged delightfully with Diana Newman as Manon surrounded by various of her male colleagues singing collectively as suitors. Ms. Newman sings and acts comfortably in this character’s range, her sense of lyricism punctuated by repeated, decorative top notes securely on pitch. In the final selection from the first half of the program, the quartet from Rossini’s La scala di seta, Ms. Newman demonstrated these qualities further and at a more frenetic pace. She was joined, among others, by the first appearance of Josh Lovell, whose sumptuously developed, lyric tenor will be a major addition to productions of works from the Baroque and bel canto repertoire. Lovell’s secure top notes, expressive line, and clear decoration in rapid passage work helped transform this Rossinian gem into a fitting first conclusion.

The second part of the concert opened with an instrumental excerpt, two movements from Ravel’s Trio for piano, violin, and cello. Madeline Slettedahl, current resident pianist in the Ryan Opera Center, demonstrated amply her skills in conjunction with Robert Hanford and Barbara Haffner. Vocal excerpts took a dramatic turn when contralto Lauren Decker performed the aria for Marfa from Khovanshchina. There were sustained tensions at first dominating the voice as Decker sang of a “mysterious force” and the power of “those departed.” A sudden dramatic outburst was followed by exciting low pitches before she foretold the secret of the Prince’s destiny. Toward the conclusion Decker’s commanding upper range was revealed in piercing appropriate notes equating the Prince’s life with hardship. Two additional excerpts from works by Rossini added to the delights of the concert’s conclusion. In the second-act trio from Il barbiere di Siviglia Metzger and Lovell were encouraged repeatedly by O’Hanlon’s Figaro to prepare for a hasty departure; the lovers ignored such warnings while decorating their lines with the glory of closer acquaintance. Lovell’s impressive runs and top pitches call for further Rossinian contributions while Metzger’s low pitches and comparable decoration would suggest the same. In the quartet ensemble from the first act of L’italiana in Algeri Decker and Guetti demonstrated their technique in a lighter repertoire. As Isabella and Mustafà both sang their pointed lines with seamless, decorative beauty and a firm sense of comic involvement. The evening concluded with the entire company participating in “Make Our Garden Grow” from Bernstein's Candide.

The individual and ensemble performances were impressive throughout the evening and speak well for the future of vocal arts as supported by this exemplary company.

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):