* Notes *
A double-bill of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi (pictured left, photograph by P. Kirk) closes the 2012-2013 season at Opera San José. Charlie Smith's cunning set is used for both operas, but somehow the space seems completely transformed for each. The costumes, from Elizabeth Poindexter, look completely appropriate. Lorna Haywood's production is straightforward and of the period for each pieces. It says a lot that this was a little jarring for this reviewer.
Maestro Joseph Marcheso kept the orchestra together, but was slightly ahead of the singers at times. The young cast seemed eager and were all rather loud. Cecilia Violetta López embodied Suor Angelica, her emotions seemed intensely genuine. As Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, her "O mio babbino caro" was quite nice. Nicole Birkland has a deep, rich voice, she sang La Zia Principessa with much care, and seemed somewhat more comfortable as Zita in Gianni Schicchi.
Jo Vincent Parks seemed to have fun with Betto di Signa. James Callon sang Rinuccio with sweetness. Evan Brummel gave a spirited performance as Gianni Schicchi, but perhaps could have been a bit more searing or sly at certain points.
* Tattling *
There was much whispering from the audience, but also much enthusiasm.