Monday, March 11, 2013

SFCM: Ariodante

SF Conservatory of Music photo IMG_20130310_135600_zpsf8f71629.jpgSunday afternoon I heard a concert version of Handel's Ariodante performed by the San Francisco Conservatory Baroque Ensemble. Mezzo Johanna Bronk was confident as Ariodante. She has a secure, even sound & an endearing stage presence. Her Scherza infida was sorrowful & received extended applause. She had a lot of energy for her act 3 bravura aria Dopo notte, & she beamed so widely that the audience spontaneously applauded before the da capo. Mezzo Nikola Printz was convincingly ambitious & intimidating as the villain Polinesso. Her voice was commanding, & her low notes had strength. Soprano Audrey Goodman was sturdy-voiced & poised as the princess Ginevra. Soprano Elena Galván, as the naive attendant Dalinda, had a fittingly youthful, high & bright sound. I liked her perky anger in the act 3 aria Neghittosi or voi che fate?

Bass Christopher Filipowicz made a resonant, hall-filling sound that was appropriately fatherly for the King of Scotland. Daniel Bates as Lurcanio has an appealing tenor voice that is clear, open & ardent. He executed some nice falsetto notes. Tenor Andres Ramirez did a good job being unobtrusive in a part consisting of sitting patiently & delivering a few bars of recitative. 6 additional singers joined the soloists at the end of acts 1 & 3 to form a chorus, & they looked amused to be present.

The performance was unstaged, but the soloists had their parts memorized & acted their scenes. Ariodante brandished a sword in act 2, & Lurcanio & Polinesso pulled out daggers in act 3, though I felt that Lurcanio was fighting dirty when he stabbed Polinesso by surprise.

SF Conservatory of Music photo IMG_20130310_150213_zpsbc6fbf23.jpgConductor Corey Jamason led an orchestra of 22 on Baroque instruments. He stood at a harpsichord & sat down to play it for the recitatives. The musicians played with bite & clear phrasing, though there were patches of rough intonation. The supportive audience applauded each aria & often yelled bravos. During act 1 a baby cried. We also heard an electronic whistle, which one of my opera companions identified as an errant hearing aid.

§ Concert performance of Handel's Ariodante
San Francisco Conservatory Baroque Ensemble
Corey Jamason, conductor

King: Christopher Filipowicz
Ginevra: Audrey Goodman
Ariodante: Johanna Bronk
Lurcanio: Daniel Bates
Polinesso: Nikola Printz
Dalinda: Elena Galván
Odoardo: Andres Ramirez

Sunday, March 10, 2:00 PM
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Concert Hall

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