* Notes *
This year's Auditions for the General Director of San Francisco Opera were yesterday evening, featuring the participants of the Merola Opera Program. All of the singers were very good, as were the pianists.
This year we only have one returning Merolino, Eleazar Rodríguez, who sang "Sì, ritorvarla io giuro," with those dizzying high Cs, from La Cenerentola. As for the new singers, Rebecca Davis was particularly impressive, as were Daniel Montenegro and Hye Jung Lee. Davis, accompanied by Natalia Katyukova, was probably the most polished, and her "Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém" (Song to the Moon) was gorgeous. She was called back to sing Magda's big number in La Rondine, and she did splendidly. Given that she sang the role recently at Opera San José, and she is perhaps the eldest of the Merolini, it all does make sense that she did so well.
Daniel Montenegro, accompanied by Michael Spassov, sounded very lovely indeed in "Una furtiva lagrima." His voice has an interesting metallic quality, and his head voice and chest voice sound uniform, without strain for the higher notes. When called back Montenegro sang "La mia letizia infondere," Oronte's aria from I Lombardi. It was a little less smooth, but still very beautiful. Hye Jung Lee sounded sweet in both "Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln" and Zerbinetta's aria from Ariadne auf Naxos. Her accompanist was Jenna Douglas.
In addition to Rebecca, Daniel, and Hye Jung, David Gockley called back the very talented Sidney Outlaw, Kevin Ray, Nadine Sierra, and Ryan Kuster. Sierra was definitely the most attractive as far as looks and presence. Her one-shoulder black dress was striking, and her singing was strong as well.
* Tattling *
Ao Li still has not made it to San Francisco, it seems. As usual, the Pride celebration was taking place during the last Sunday of the month at Civic Center, so we did start a few minutes late. Box E was well-behaved and attentive. A watch alarm was heard in the hall at 8pm. The floor must have been either not level or not smooth, because the singers had difficulty walking on and off stage.
Many, if not all, the Adlers were in attendance, including Leah Crocetto, Sara Gartland, Maya Lahyani, David Lomelí, Allen Periello, and Tamara Sanikidze. Also spotted was Eva-Maria Westbroek, who is currently singing Sieglinde here.