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"L'Italiana" ends ... but early music begins

June 1, 2006
The Washington Early Music Festival 2006 kicks off its third season tomorrow night, focusing this year on Italian music from the medieval, renaissance and baroque eras.  We'll be at the Folger Shakespeare Library for the Folger Consort and the Concord Ensemble, performing  music by the Italian Luca Marenzio (a.k.a. "the Schubert of the madrigal") and the English (but influenced by Italy!)  Thomas Morley. Should be great fun; if you can't make that concert, it repeats on Saturday and Sunday -- check the schedule for times.

Also this weekend, two performances by Opera Lafayette of Mozart's gorgeous  "Idomeneo" at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, with pre-concert discussions. More info here.

Saturday's also the last night for the WNO's boisterous (to say the least) production of L'Italiana in Algeri. We got to see Tuesday night's show, introducing a new tenor in the role of Lindoro.  Here's the review: 

The Washington Post:  The Washington National Opera’s wonderfully antic performance of “L’Italiana in Algeri” – Rossini’s tale of a quick-witted Italian girl who outsmarts a boorish sultan and escapes with her true love – is in its last days, and anyone in the market for opera buffa on steroids should hie themselves to the Kennedy Center without delay.

Robert McPherson
Tuesday night’s performance introduced a new tenor -- Robert McPherson -- as Lindoro, and he brought a clear, confident voice and a deft comic touch to the role.  McPherson had a tough act to follow – he’s replacing the brilliant Peruvian singer (and global heart-throb) Juan Diego Florez, who’s had critics and audiences in a swoon since his rise to bel canto stardom began several years ago. 

And at first sight, McPherson resembles a stack of laundry more than the dashing young gallant he’s supposed to play.  But he navigated Rossini’s daunting pyrotechnics with style and finesse, and if his stage presence seemed a bit mild, that may have been due to the powerful competition onstage -- from mezzo Olga Borodina’s full-bodied portrayal of the clever Isabella, to bass Ildar Abdrazakov as the pelvis-thrusting sultan, to Lyubov Petrova playing the faithful Elvira – who pulled out all the stops.  All in all, a hugely enjoyable production, heading, alas, into its final night on Saturday. Move fast.  (Photo by Karin Cooper)

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 10:22AM by Registered CommenterStephen Brookes | CommentsPost a Comment

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