* Notes *
Last Sunday and Monday San Francisco Conservatory Opera Theatre presented works by Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. The performance, entitled Trio Appassionato, was held as a salon in which the biographies of aforementioned musicians were covered. Frederica von Stade (pictured left) hosted, with Darryl Cooper and Curt Pajer accompanying four student singers. The conceit, thought up and directed by Lotfi Mansouri, worked very well for Flicka. She is charming and explaining the songs and how they related to the lives of the Schumanns or Brahms seemed to come naturally to her. Both pianists spoke, made musical commentary, and played solo pieces.
The script, developed by Richard Harrell, and written and researched by Kathryn Cathart, held together fine. One can see how it would work as a presentation in schools. The young singers did not sell it as expertly as Flicka or the pianists, but perhaps this just made them more endearing. The singers on Sunday afternoon were soprano Antonia Tamer, mezzo-soprano Raquel Fatiuk, tenor Daniel Bates, and baritone Ryan Bradford. For the most part their singing was strong though not always nuanced. Flicka joined in for Brahms' "Rede, Mädchen, allzu liebes" and for the encore, Wiegenlied.
* Tattling *
The audience was attentive, though some electronic noises were heard.