Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance.
The tiny town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is disproportionally rich in concert opera, with performances by outstanding guest artists and more than one locally based opera initiative. The Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (LAMP), which gives young musicians an opportunity to study with acclaimed visiting and resident artists, invited the incomparable Italian mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona to direct Rossini's Tancredi. Barcellona's mere presence in this town was cause for some celebration as her 9/11 flight had been diverted to Nova Scotia and she appreciated the gracious hospitality of a local family. As she told this reviewer, she is now considering residence in Lunenburg.
Tancredi, based on a play by Voltaire, charts the historic battle between the Byzantine Empire and the Saracens via the tangled personal conflict of two families. It is an excellent vehicle for vocal virtuosity with its many lengthy arias and duets. In concert performance, however, the complex plot is somewhat difficult to follow. Tancredi was Rossini's first opera seria which, following the conventions of the time, had to have a happy ending. Perhaps to challenge those conventions or preserve the integrity of Voltaire's play, Rossini provided an alternative, tragic conclusion. This was the version performed on Oct. 13th.
The powerful voice of tenor Jean William Silva (Argirio) erupted effortlessly and filled the hall. Mezzo-soprano Antonia Albores (Issaura), was equally impressive with a clear, confident sound. Soprano Erinne-Colleen Laurin sang the demanding part of Amenaide flawlessly, especially in its frequent coloratura flourishes. The most challenging role in the opera is that of Tancredi who has to sing several lengthy arias and four duets. The role was beautifully performed by mezzo-soprano Maude Cote-Gendron, whose vocal agility and lower register coloratura were remarkable. There were two Orbazzanos: Joseph Trumbo and Giovanni Augelli, both of whom were notable. Roggiero is a rather small part but Marianne Moore let no one down in her final aria. Pianist Alessandro Vitiello could have stolen the show had the singers not been so well-prepared and vocally brilliant.