Miami Lyric Opera celebrates Verdi’s 200th birthday in style
He has been called the greatest Italian artist since the Renaissance. Giuseppe Verdi was the only composer on the program Saturday, as Miami Lyric Opera presented a concert of arias to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth in 1813. The Colony Theater in Miami Beach was packed for this tribute to an operatic master who ranks with Mozart, Wagner and Puccini (and many would say higher).
In attendance was Adolfo Barattolo, the Italian consul general in Miami, who was treated to the sight of the entire audience rising at the end of the performance to sing “Va, pensiero,” the Verdi chorus that served as an unofficial national anthem during the 19th-century era of Italian unification.
Performances of selections from ten Verdi operas ranged from adequate to excellent. Despite the absence of costumes, sets and stage action, many of the singers embraced the drama of the roles as if they were performing a fully produced opera.
In the duet “Già nella notte densa” from Otello, the soprano Deborah Berioli and tenor Samuel Eudovique achieved an on-stage chemistry that movingly portrayed a last blissful night of love before the horrors that were to ensue. Berioli brought a velvety, lyric voice to the performance, and if the tenor couldn’t quite match her for vocal luster, he made up for it in the dramatic manner of his account of the battles in which he fought. The orchestra’s intonation was glaringly off through this performance, but the singers coped.
Berioli was a standout through the entire evening, with soaring performances of “Ecco l’orrido campo” from Un Ballo in Maschera and especially, “Pace, pace mio Dio” from La Forza del Destino, where she gave a powerful and chilling portrayal of the desperation of a woman seeking peace in death.
Another standout was the soprano Susana Diaz, who has sung several leading roles with Miami Lyric Opera. In the famous “Caro nome” from Rigoletto, her richly colored voice and assured coloratura brought out Gilda’s dreaminess and the fantasy of a young girl experiencing love for the first time. And in “Ah, fors’è lui” from La Traviata, she gave voice to Violetta’s swirling emotions, with razor-sharp coloratura and a keen sense of the role’s dramatics.
For the quartet from Rigoletto, Diaz was joined by the tenor Angelo Ferrari, mezzo-soprano Emilia Acon and baritone Anthony Zoeller for a performance that grew in power and intensity under the poised leadership of conductor Beverly Coulter. At the top, Diaz’s voice married well with the smooth tenor of Ferrari.
Both Coulter and the other conductor for the evening, Leo Waltz, did a fine job following the singers.
Another highlight was the big, burly baritone of Giancarlo Brunet in “Il balen del suo sorriso” from Il Trovatore. His commanding performance, with a sure sense of theater in this confession of love, was all the more impressive since he was a last-minute substitute for a singer who canceled.
At the end of the performance, the chorus sang “Va, pensiero,” and Coulter turned to the audience and said, “Please stand and join us.” Following the Italian words printed in the program, a good number of the audience sang along.
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Sun Sep 1, 2013
at 11:48 am