* Notes *
Szymanowski's Król Roger (Act I pictured left, photograph by Ken Howard) opened last weekend at Santa Fe Opera. The second performance on Wednesday sounded strong, the orchestra held together under Maestro Evan Rogister. At times the volume obscured the singer's voices, but not often.
The production, directed by Stephen Wadsworth and with sets from Thomas Lynch, is clear and elegant. Shifts in the background and with the light (designed by Duane Schuler) are enough to change the scenes. The silence before the music started was engaging, as the characters quietly found their places on stage. Peggy Hickey's choreography looked comfortable on both the singers and dancers. The costumes, from Ann Hould-Ward, looked suitably grand.
The cast is even. Raymond Aceto is perfectly appropriate for the Archbishop, as is Dennis Petersen as Edrisi. Erin Morley (Roxana) has a cold, brilliant sound. William Burden impressed as the Shepard, his appealing tenor well-suited to the role. Mariusz Kwiecien was robust in the title role.
* Tattling *
Only one person in the middle of the balcony talked during the performance, and was audible from Row D Seat 113 at least twice.