* Notes *
The opening of Nabucco this season at San Diego Opera was last night. The production was directed by Lofti Mansouri, the former General Director in San Francisco, and was as expected, nothing wild or crazy or new. Micahel Yeargan's set stayed essentially the same throughout the performance, though the backdrops were switched out for the different scenes. Something about the geometry about the projections used looked dated, but transitions were clear and straightforward.
Edoardo Müller had a good handle on the orchestra, for the most part they were together and the volume was robust without overwhelming the singers. The brass was competent, only a few mistakes were heard. The first cello solo was a bit severe, but sounded less grating over time. The chorus shone from the beginning, and "Va, pensiero" from Act III, Scene 2 was moving.
Mezzo-soprano Susana Poretsky was both harsh and shrill to begin with as Fenena. She managed to sound very pretty at times though. Raymond Aceto's creakiness worked excellently for Zaccaria, the High Priest of Jerusalem. He could have been somewhat stronger in the very end, but sang proficiently otherwise. Arthur Shen (Ishmaele) had a bright, pleasing sound, but lacked heft. He was, at least, not difficult to hear. As Abigaille, Sylvie Valayre strained for her top notes, and could only reach some of them by wavering quite a lot. She did have her more comely moments, especially in "Anch'io dischiuso un giorno," and she acted with conviction. Richard Paul Fink sang with occasional tentativeness, and perhaps a want of beauty, but overall he does have a fine, vigorous voice. Considering he stepped in at the last-minute, one can hardly complain, and the emotions of the character came through believably in his singing.
* Tattling *
The audience spoke more than one would like, especially when reading the verses from Jeremiah projected onto the scrim before acts. There was no electronic noise, no mobile phone rings, and no watch alarms.
At the second intermission a person in a tuxedo was overheard to say "Did you get a load of that one over in that number with her big fake titties hanging out. She's got to be in her fifties and it's been a long time since she could've pulled that off." I leave it to the reader to make out exactly what such a comment or what elicited it indicates, if anything.