* Notes *
San Francisco Opera's latest production of La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) opened last night. The production, directed by Lorenzo Mariani and with sets from Maurizio Balò, is cute without being busy or cluttered. The male chorus sounded fine and the ensemble cast did well. The waltz in Act I was particularly lovely. Current Adlers Brian Jagde (Joe), David Lomelí (Harry), Austin Kness (Handsome), and Maya Lahyani (Wowkle) all had respectable appearances. Nicola Luisotti held the orchestra together, creating a luxuriant sound.
Timothy Mix was tender and vunerable as Sonora and Roberto Frontali threatening as Sheriff Jack Rance. Salvatore Licitra's voice was very sweet and warm as Ramerrez. A few of his highest, loudest notes showed some strain, but for the most part he had a nice ease. Deborah Voigt's Minnie was spunky and full of spirit. She has a bit of a tinselly quality, lacking the warm creaminess she had in former years, but overall she was quite winsome.
* Tattling *
The press department did end up giving me tickets for this performance. The volunteer usher in front of us in Row L Seat 23 used her cellular phone as a flashlight to read the program during Act I. After the first intermission, an audience member was sitting in that seat, and the usher insisted on seeing the ticket. The audience member could not produce it and stormed off. It was not clear exactly what transpired, but the usher did not return to L 23, and the audience member sat in K 17 with her friends instead.
Though not constant, there was too much talking during the music and the singing.