Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Adler Fellows Gala 2011

Last week I attended the big Adler Fellows Gala Concert, & all the singers seemed determined to give us their biggest & best. The lengthy program started at 7:30p, but it wasn't until 7:55p that we heard the 1st singer, baritone Ao Li, in an aria from Cenerentola. I liked the pleasing ring to his voice & his happy, open face. Tenor Daniel Montenegro does not have a huge voice, but his sound is dark & velvety, & he was a dreamy Des Grieux & Roméo. Soprano Nadine Sierra makes a luscious sound & she got a warm response to her scene from Lucia. She sang clear trills, & her high notes were never forceful. The audience also clearly approved of her & mezzo Maya Lahyani in the Presentation of the Rose scene from Der Rosenkavalier. Ms. Lahyani has a wonderfully full, grounded sound & was convincingly masculine. I enjoyed her even more when she returned as a dramatically focused Didon in a scene from Les Troyens.

Soprano Sara Gartland got a big ovation for her slinky Thaïs. Both her high notes & her acting were assertive & secure. Soprano Susannah Biller sang Zerbinetta's coloratura aria while she paced the stage with big gestures & flirted with the conductor. Her high notes were bright & confident, & she received appreciative applause from the orchestra. Tenor Brian Jagde, in his one short aria from Werther, got cheers for his brawny singing & belting high notes. Soprano Leah Crocetto has a sturdy voice with an exciting tension to it. She sang her aria from Maometto II with control, at one point hitting a beautiful high note that seemed to come out of nowhere. She was even more impassioned in a scene from Luisa Miller in which her powerful voice filled the hall. The audience was so excited that they spontaneously applauded mid-scene.

The San Francisco Opera Orchestra played brilliantly. The strings were tight in the William Tell Overture, & there were lovely clarinet & oboe solos in the Der Rosenkavalier excerpt. I liked the alert & precise piano playing during the Ariadne scene. From my seat in the top row of the balcony the bass drum, timpani & basses sounded like they were right in my face. Conductor Giuseppe Finzi led with roomy tempos that were never pressing. His left hand seems to either float at his side or mirror his right hand. The audience of avid Adler fans gave the concert an immediate standing ovation.

§ The Future is Now: Adler Fellows Gala Concert
San Francisco Opera Orchestra
Conductor: Giuseppe Finzi

Guillaume Tell, Rossini

La Cenerentola, Rossini
"Come un ape ne' giorni d'Aprile"
Dandini: Ao Li

Manon, Massenet
"Instant charmant...en fermant les yeux"
Des Grieux: Daniel Montenegro

Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti
"Regnava nel silenzio"
Lucia: Nadine Sierra

Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart
"Tutto è disposto...Aprite un po' quegl' occhi"
Figaro: Ryan Kuster

Maometto II, Rossini
"Giusto ciel"
Anna: Leah Crocetto

Theodora, Handel
"To thee, thou glorious son of worth"
Theodora: Susannah Biller; Didymus: Ryan Belongie
David Hanlon, harpsichord

Der Rosenkavalier, Strauss
"Mir ist die ehre"
Sophie: Nadine Sierra; Octavian: Maya Lahyani

Don Pasquale, Donizetti
"Pronta io son"
Norina: Sara Gartland; Malatesta: Ao Li

Tancredi, Rossini
"Oh patria...Tu che accendi...Di tanti palpiti"
Tancredi: Ryan Belongie

Les Troyens, Berlioz
"Je vais mourir"
Didon: Maya Lahyani

Thaïs, Massenet
"Me voilà seule...Dis-moi que je suis belle"
Thaïs: Sara Gartland

Roméo et Juliette, Gounod
"L'amour...Ah, lève-toi soleil!"
Roméo: Daniel Montenegro

Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss
"Grossmächtige prinzessin"
Zerbinetta: Susannah Biller
Tamara Sanikidze, piano

Werther, Massenet
"Toute mon âme est là...pourquoi me réveiller?"
Werther: Brian Jagde

Luisa Miller, Verdi
"Il padre tuo...Tu puniscimi"
Luisa: Leah Crocetto; Wurm: Ryan Kuster

Guillaume Tell, Rossini
"Tout change et grandit en ces lieux"

Thursday, December 1, 7:30pm
Herbst Theatre, War Memorial Veterans Building

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