San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Rinaldo at SFCM

Boucher-Rinaldo-Armida * Notes *
The Conservatory Baroque Ensemble of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music gave a delightful student performance of Rinaldo last Saturday. The vocalists were very fine, and Rinaldo's "Cara sposa" was sung particularly well. The musicians were not always perfectly together, exposed as they were by the smallness of the group and, simply, the music itself. The soloists switched off by act, they were all quite talented, but the playing did lack cohesion.

The production was unintentionally hilarious. It was clear they had no budget and were left to their own devices as far as stage direction. Armida's minions moved in a peculiarly awkward way, though so did the sirens in Act II. The most amusing bit was also in Act II, just after a scene that involved ungainly arm swaying. When Armida takes on the appearance of Almirena, she simply brings a mask (aloft on a stick) to her face.

* Tattling * 
The audience laughed a great deal, sometimes at the super-titles and sometimes at the production. One gained a greater appreciation for how difficult pulling together an opera is, especially a Baroque opera with such a thin and confusing plot.

Little Women at SFCM

Louisa_may_alcott* Notes *
Some students and alumni of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music presented Mark Adamo's Little Women last weekend. The plot is presented as a flash back, condensing the novel into a mere 2 hours. The opera is a bit like a cerebral musical, the libretto is charming, and the music switches back and forth from lyricism and atonality. Conductor Dana Sadava kept the singers and pianist Carl Pantle together, the latter played beautifully. The quartet of female voices had some shaky moments but also some angelic ones. Laryssa Sadoway acted well as Aunt Cecilia March, though she was a bit underpowered vocally. William O'Neill sang "Kennst du das Land wo die Zitronen blühn" pretty well, though his higher notes were a bit lacking in heft. I found Lang Nixon shrill as Amy, and slightly off key. The talented Indre Viskontas holds a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, and made a pretty Beth, playing piano on stage, and fainting a great deal. The star certainly was Kindra Scharich as Jo, not only was her rich, strong voice the most pleasant, her comic timing was flawless.

* Tattling *
The audience was rather small for the free performance, and included mostly friends and family of the cast and crew. There was a lot of chattering and candy wrapper noise. Before the performance, some students of SFCM were having a conversation in which a vodka vending machine was requested.