* Notes *
The Schwabacher Summer Concert on Thursday started with a percussive and energetic overture from Roberto Devereux. The orchestra, conducted by Giuseppe Finzi, sounded together and strong. The singing began with a scene from Anna Bolena, the matching costumes in black and white were striking. On the other hand, the stark shadows used looked unintentional. It did become clear that this effect was purposeful as the lighting continued in the same manner all evening. Erin Johnson gave a fluttery performance as Giovanna Seymour, but has a lot of volume. Melinda Whittington had a piercing, metallic quality to her voice as Anna Bolena.
Tenor Chuanyue Wang's voice is pretty and open, with a particular reedy vibrato that seemed suited for the Faust of Boito's Mefistofele. Andrew Kroes was committed to the title role, sounding threatening, if not a little creaky. Elizabeth Baldwin has warmth to her soprano and a lot of power. Her costume was unflattering, being sleeveless, and having many layers of dirty-looking fabric. It did, however, make a certain amount of sense given the scene depicted.
The excerpt from Act III of La Jolie Fille de Perth was incomprehensible, involving lots of chairs. Normally I enjoy director Roy Rallo's inventiveness, but here the singers seemed like reveling zombies wandering on the stage. Joshua Baum (Le Duc de Rothsay) sounded drily husk-like, while Yi Li (Henri Smith) was distinctly warmer and more plaintive. Seth Mease Carico (Un ouvier) and Hadleigh Adams (Ralph) also contrasted well, the latter having an opportunity to display both anger and despair. Carico rasps somewhat, but not unpleasantly. Adams sounds smoother.
The scenes from The Rake's Progress came off best, Joshua Baum sounded sweet as Tom Rakewell and Seth Mease Carico was a robust, unctuous Nick Shadow. Elizabeth Baldwin (Anne Trulove) sang searing high notes.
* Tattling *
The audience was attentive and quiet. A chair was knocked over during the Bizet.