* Notes *
The opening of Santa Fe Opera's Maometto II (Act II pictured left, photograph by Ken Howard) occurred a few weeks ago. The third performance yesterday evening had much appeal, in no small part because of Rossini's music, which was conducted by Frédéric Chaslin and played with spirit. The volume of the orchestra was held in check, and the singers were always audible.
The singing was less consistent, at least on this particular Friday night. The chorus had a few diffuse moments, but sounded lovely by the end of the opera. Patricia Bardon looked convincing as Calbo, and while she does have plenty of power, her singing is not beautiful. Likewise, Luca Pisaroni is a strong actor, but did not seem vocally suited to the title role. His is a pretty voice, but the low notes lack richness. His big aria ("All'invito generoso") in the second half had more vitality than his singing in Act I.
On the other hand, Bruce Sledge (Paolo Erisso) sounded bright, his voice seems to have the right weight to it for this music. There were a few moments of constriction in a few of his high notes, but this was easy to overlook. The obvious star of the performance was Leah Crocetto. Though her voice is a touch robust for Anna, she sang with ease and deftness. Her legato is gorgeous.
David Alden's production is economical, and works well with the scenic design from Jon Morrell. The staging, dancing, and music come together delightfully when the Turks make their entrance at the end of Act I.
* Tattling *
There was much talking at this performance. A child seated in Row B of the mezzanine conducted with both hands during the opera, and his father simply joined in, and gestured as the music played.