San Francisco Opera's revival of Fidelio opened last night. The production is directed by Michael Hampe and designed by John Gunter. The set is clever, with floors that lift up, and walls that can be moved aside. This facilitates scene changes, which went seamlessly throughout. The contrast of the openness in the final scene and the rest of the opera was rather deft. The set and costumes were both kept in 19th century style, no fedoras, no trench coats. The only noticeable flaw in the staging was the timing of the curtain, which came down before the music ended in both acts, causing the audience to clap before the music was finished.
The singing was solid with the exception of tenor Thomas Moser as Florestan. Moser's voice is a bit thin and reedy, especially in his upper range. At the end of his sole aria in the beginning of Act II he was simply shrieking. Soprano Christine Brewer was not visually convincing as Leonora, but when she sang, her lovely warm voice fit the role very well. The other roles were cast appropriately: Mathias Zachariassen (Jacquino), Greta Feeney (Marzelline), and Arthur Woodley (Rocco) all sang and acted well.
John Pearson played the Trompetenfanfare in Act II beautifully, it was the very sound of salvation.