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In Baltimore Opera. (Opera in Review).

Carl Dolmetsch

In Baltimore Opera's second offering this season, a production of Tosca, Andrea Licata's conducting produced almost funereal tempi that dissipated much of the dramatic intensity of Puccini's operatic melodrama and worked at cross-purposes with former Opera de Montreal general director Bernard Uzan's otherwise well-pointed stage direction. This new production, by Andrew Horn, was sumptuous and faithful to the historic Roman settings, with highly atmospheric lighting by Guy Simard.

In the title role, Laura Niculescu was frequently wide of the pitch, but Frank Poretta was again the mellifluous Cavaradossi he had been a few weeks earlier with the Virginia Opera, while Mark Delavan was simply one of the finest Scarpias, both vocally and dramatically, this reviewer has seen in many seasons.

For their holiday offering, Baltimore mounted a new production of Die Zauberflote, staged and directed by the German film producer-director Werner Herzog in surprisingly traditional manner and conducted in lively fashion by Will Crutchfield. Although some of the misogynist lines were omitted, none of the racial references to Monostatos and his blackamoor minions was subjected to political correctness. The only real departure was that Tamino was attacked by a crocodile.

Armenian lyric tenor Yegishee Manucharyan strongly impressed as Tamino, as did Russian basso Alexander Anisimov as the sonorous Sarastro. Marguerite Krull was a sweetly pensive Pamina, and Valeria Esposito had all the pyrotechnical skills to stunningly deliver the Queen of the Night's arias. Kristopher Irmiter acted Papageno well enough, but his voice had less velvet and more sharp edge than one wants in this role. Dean Anthony (Monostatos) was a wonderfully agile tenore buffo.
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Title Annotation:Tosca/Die Zauberflote
Publication:Opera Canada
Article Type:Opera Review
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Previous Article:The University of British Columbia Opera Ensemble. (Opera in Review).
Next Article:Die Zauberflote: Michael Colvin (Tamino) with dancers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in the Manitoba Opera production. (Winnipeg).

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