Monday, October 06, 2014

Un Ballo in Maschera at SF Opera, Media Roundup & Commentary

Not your usual list of reviewers, as you'll see:
Yes, you are reading that right: my review is in the Chron. And the first thing I have to do is apologize, because 90 minutes after I filed, I realized I'd forgotten to remark on the performances by singers in smaller roles, and by then it was too late for a change. Those singers would be Christian Van Horn and Scott Conner as the conspirators; they sang very well, and I wish Jose Maria Condemi's direction had given them more distinct physical presences. Efrain Solis, a current Adler Fellow, had a lot of personality - and voice - as Christian, a beneficiary of Gustavus's generosity during the fortune-telling scene. A.J. Gluekert was fine as the Chief Magistrate, but is this character traditionally a buffoon out of G&S? I would have thought him a serious foil to Oscar.

Other remarks: 
  • The press materials and program say that Christian Van Horn is singing Count Horn, the web site says he's singing Count Ribbing, and I don't know which is correct, but you can tell from reading the reviews who believed which source.
  • To hear an Italian Verdi baritone as Renato/Anckarstrom. try Gino Bechi on the 1943 Serafin/Gigli, Caniglia, Bechi, Barbieri set. For that matter, Gigli is a stunning beautiful and convincing Riccardo.
  • That scene at the gallows? Somebody please throw a black or brown cloak over Julianna Di Giacomo, please: it is within the realm of the possible that the man she's married to will recognize that pretty blue outfit.
  • Heidi Stober makes such an adorable leggy teenaged boy that it is obviously time to revive the practice of casting sopranos as Cherubino and Octavian.
  • My appearance in the Chronicle will be a rarity or even one-time event; this review happened because the usual reviewers, three of them, were unavailable.


John Marcher said...

Rarity or not, still nice to see (and read).

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thank you!

CK Dexter Haven said...

I somehow missed this earlier in the week. Congrats!

Lisa Hirsch said...