* Notes *
The Merola Opera Program concluded 2014 with the Merola Grand Finale last night. The standouts were certainly sopranos. Amanda Woodbury's Ophélie was translucent in "Hélas! votre âme" and her duet ("Doute de la lumière") with Edward Nelson as Hamlet. Karen Chia-Ling Ho made for an impressively deranged Margherita in "L'altra notte in fondo al mare" from Boito's Mefistofele. Adelaide Boedecker was a sweet Gilda in "Ah padre mio!" Julie Adams sounded resonant in "Suzel, buon di...Tutto tace" from L'amico Fritz. This duet with Casey Candebat was quite lovely. Candabat sounded clear and warm.
Mezzo-sopranos Shirin Eskandani and Eliza Bonet also gave memorable performances. Eskandani sang "Sie Hält Ihn für den Todesgott...Ein Augenblick Ist Wenig" with Talya Lieberman as Zerbinetta. Bonet has a lot of personality and was hilarious as the Duchesse in "Vous aimez le danger...Ah! que j'aime les militaires!"
Bass-baritone Matthew Stump showed much charm as Nick Shadow in "Come master" from The Rake's Progress and as Falstaff in "Un coro e terminiam la scena....Tutto nel mondo è burla" (pictured above, photograph by Kristen Loken).
Stage director Omer Ben Seadia used the set for Susannah and seemed to favor the use of many props.
* Tattling *
There was some talking from an aggressive couple next to me in Row F Seats 6 and 8. They did not have tickets for these seats, but managed to find even nicer ones on the center aisle after intermission. They were rather concerned about the brass being out of tune and the unexplained omission of "Nel veneto corteggio lo ravvisasti?...Vieni la mia vendetta" in the first half of the program.