Thursday we arrived at Glimmerglass Opera Festival for a long weekend. We were joined by David's sister Peggy and her partner Jim. For our first night we were also joined by David's choirmaster, Christian, and his husband Chris.
The first opera was Rossini's The Barber of Seville. As we have found previously, Glimmerglass finds the best singers available for it's casts.
David Walton as Count Almaviva was sensational. He is tall, handsome, and has a wonderful tenor voice with high notes to spare.
Joshua Hopkins as Figaro was splendid. He has a good voice but tends to pull it back a bit on his high F's in his first aria.
Dale Travis was Doctor Bartolo and managed the rapid fire diction of his arias with ease.
Emily D'Angelo was excellent as Rosina; a wide easy range and good coloratura for her difficult arias.
Timothy Bruno as Don Basilio nearly stole the show with La Calunia.
Stage hands/chorus moved bits of scenery on and off the stage. It was a charming production.
Alexandria Shiner has a large beautiful voice as Berta. Sensational top!
Friday evening brought a fantastic performance of The Cunning Little Vixen by Leos Janacek in an
English translation by Kelley Rourke. Except for Eric Owens as the Forester, it might as well have been in Czech as far as getting the words went. A couple of the other men were understandable but the women, while having good voices were not there diction-wise. Of course the fact that their parts were written very high made it difficult to begin with. My theory has always been that our ears are not used to hearing speech that high so that the men always have an easier time coming through than the women.
It is a wild ballet/opera (I'm not sure which) with a fabulous score. The set by Ryan McGettigen and the costumes by Eric Teague were wonderful as were the direction and choreography by L. Loren Meeker and Eric Sean Fogel. Joseph Colaneri was the excellent conductor.
I loved the event but had to keep watching the super-titles to keep track of what was going on. I doubt that even in the original language the women could have been understood.
I have spent too many years teaching clear diction to singers to accept what was happening. I was brain-washed by Madeleine Marshall years ago at Union Seminary and she became a dear friend. We did workshops together. So my tolerance for mushy diction is small.
Composers need to learn that writing a lot of text on very high notes for the female voice just doesn't work.
Saturday was our last event, West Side Story. I guess I have become jaded because when I see revivals of Broadway shows that I saw in their original form I'm disappointed. I saw the original production in 1957 and a reprise in the 90's.
None of the singers had the Broadway 'edge' that I am accustomed to. The setting was cumbersome and the choreographer had too many things going on during the love duets.
I was underwhelmed.