Sunday, November 20, 2011

SFO: Xerxes (final performance)

SF OperaLast night I again attended Xerxes at San Francisco Opera, mainly to be in the house at the same time as 2 friends, & I found the production to be just as consistently enjoyable a 2nd time around. And this time I saw the model bridge in act II collapse, which it failed to at my 1st performance. It was humbling to realize how badly I mixed up the characters in recollection, though. The cast again all give fine acting & singing performances. I continue to marvel at David Daniels's husky countertenor voice. Lisette Oropesa had great breath control & a pleasing warble in her voice. Heidi Stober impressed the audience with the dynamic range of her high notes. Susan Graham's voice is a well-toned muscle. I enjoyed the absurdity of a Xerxes who sings higher than his fiancée.

The orchestra's playing was light, & dance-like. Conductor Patrick Summer often ended the arias with a slight ritard & a soft landing. The pacing & the amusing staging made it easy to stand through the nearly 4-hour show. The audience applauded each character as they were introduced during the overture, though apparently this only happened at the 2 performances I saw. The show received an enthusiastic ovation, & we heard the performers themselves cheer after the final curtain came down.

§ Xerxes
George Frideric Handel

San Francisco Opera
Conductor: Patrick Summers
Production: Nicholas Hytner
Revival Director: Michael Walling

Xerxes: Susan Graham
Romilda: Lisette Oropesa
Arsamenes: David Daniels
Atalanta: Heidi Stober
Amastris: Sonia Prina
Ariodates: Wayne Tigges
Elviro: Michael Sumuel

Sat 11/19/11 7:30pm
War Memorial Opera House

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