La cambiale di matrimonio

PBO and SF Opera Adlers

Adler_Fellows_Opera_Steps* Notes * 
A number of San Francisco Opera Center's Adler Fellows (pictured left) performed with conductor Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra last night at the SFJazz Center. The evening was a delight from beginning to end. The first half of the program featured four instrumental pieces interspersed with four vocal pieces, all by Mozart. The Overture in D major, K. 106 was played with grace, while Contredanse No. 1 in D major, K. 106 sounded rather cheery. I enjoyed the emphatic playing of the repeated notes in Contredanse No. 3 in B-flat major, K. 106.

Soprano Julie Adams sang "Nehmt meinen Dank" with clarity. Her voice has much strength and not a trace of strain. Baritone Edward Nelson was terribly charming in "Con un vezzo all'italiana" from La finta giardiniera. The quartet "Dite almeno, in che mancai" with Adams, Nelson, tenor Brian Thorsett, and bass Anthony Reed was brilliant as well.

The second half of the show was devoted to Rossini's first produced opera, La cambiale di matrimonio (The Marriage Contract). The piece is concise and quite amusing. The orchestra played with verve and McGegan looked pleased throughout as he conducted. Some of the Baroque instruments seemed less well-suited to Rossini than others, but the enthusiasm of all those involved never waned.

The singing was wonderful. Mezzo-soprano Nian Wang sang Clarina's aria ("An'chio son giovine") with conviction. Bass Matthew Stump makes for a wonderful, blustering Tobia Mill. Baritone Efraín Solís is hilarious as Slook. Tenor Brian Thorsett sings Edoardo Milfort with effortlessness. Soprano Jacqueline Piccolino is a dulcet-toned Fannì. Her sings with a certain subtlety that is appealing for this role.

* Tattling * 
The first five rows were removed to provide the orchestra with a pit.

La Cambiale di Matrimonio at La Fenice

Cambiale-matrimonio-2013-fenice* Notes *
This month Teatro La Fenice is performing Rossini's first opera, La Cambiale di Matrimonio, in Teatro Malibran. The opera is only one act and director Enzo Dara certainly makes the most of the scant 75 minutes it takes to perform. The sets and costumes, from Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, feature the city of Venice in the background and on the clothing of the singers. The production also involves reams of textiles and Commedia dell'Arte supernumeraries. The opera itself is completely absurd, and has not a few jokes about the Americas, as the marriage contract of the title concerns a Canadian merchant.

Last night Stefano Montanari conducted the very cheerful orchestra, which sounded fairly clean and mostly together. The singing all sounded great from Ordine 2, Palco 19, since we were essentially above the pit and almost on top of the stage. The singers were fine actors and pulled off the slapstick humor in a charming manner. Omar Montanari (Tobia Mill) and Marco Filippo Romano (Slook) were particularly adept. Marina Bucciarelli sounded sweet as Fannì.

* Tattling * 
Teatro Malibran could use a good airing out, as the musty smell is pronounced and somewhat nauseating.

There was much talking and noise from electronic devices. At least one mobile phone rang. A man in the middle of the first row was texting during the performance and was scolded by the maestro.