Monday, November 21, 2011

Young Singers Revive "Ariadne auf Naxos" at Lyric Opera

Amber Wagner as Ariadne with
Brandon Jovanovich as Bacchus
"Though this revival was planned well before his arrival in Chicago, Lyric’s new general director Anthony Freud’s worthy fingerprints were all about, too, from the ousting of the Ariadne/Prima Donna, the now problematic soprano Deborah Voigt, and her replacement with the remarkable rising star and Ryan Center alum Amber Wagner, to the breath-of-fresh-air supertitles by Colin Ure (Freud’s partner), to a more clearly (and honestly) marked cast list in the program. Music director Andrew Davis has long been what his fellow Britons call 'a Strauss man' and his expertise and natural breathing with this lush score made him a superb guide for Strauss’ streamlined 'court orchestra' of 37 players and for the very fine young cast. Fully convincing musically and dramatically, English mezzo Alice Coote made you wish the Composer’s role was not confined to the Prologue. Theatrically, Anna Christy’s Zerbinetta, the insightful comedienne who at first seems only a tart, was a perfect creation, and her connection to the score of her great aria was absolutely direct. As Bacchus, the tenor-god who rescues the forlornAriadne from her deserted island stranding, Brandon Jovanovich had great physical and intelligent presence. Having seen some top-drawer work from him at Lyric and as Siegmund in San Francisco Opera’s Ring, I’d guess that he was just having momentary difficulties opening night with the closing sections of a notoriously hard and high role." [Source]

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