Edgar - Puccini - 8pm Sun 13th April 2008 Carnegie Hall, Opera Orchestra of New York (OONY).
We were privileged to hear this excellent early opera of Maestro Puccini with a superb orchestra, chorus and principal singers. Eve Queller has reached 35 years in her remarkable campaign to bring rare works to the public at a high standard.
Mr Giordani in the title role was in spectacular form and took all the hard options successfully as in the final performances of Ernani at the Met recently. He is an artist who sometimes seems to sound better in the theatre than on broadcasts. Latonia Moore as Fidelia showed a magnificent crystal pure yet rich soprano to rapturous applause in an almost-full Carnegie Hall. Jennifer Larmore also sang extremely well but somehow never reached ‘goose bump’ level. As “Frank”, Stephen Gaertner’s baritone voice proved to be equal to anything. High, low, loud, soft he was expressive and effective. The adult chorus was magnificent while the Catholic school children’s chorus seemed rag-tag.
The work is a splendid opera, and far superior to many 20 century “operas” in my view. The story is certainly original and leads to plenty of dramatic situations including a resurrection on stage! It is balanced by some real corpses before the end. Like his early Messa there is melody, orchestral invention and balance. The arias are original and choruses fitting and exciting dramatically. There is hardly any melody reminiscent of his other works but perhaps some orchestration from Manon Lescaut to my hearing.
I hope a recording is released of this performance and that this opera is given its proper place in the repertoire of serious opera companies.
Andrew Byrne .. (Also seen/heard The Gambler; Fanciulla del West; Candide – notes on request).
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