Second cast singers provide a lift to FGO’s “Don Pasquale”

By Lawrence Budmen

Michael Bates and Elena Galvan sang the roles of Ernesto and Norina in FGO's second-cast performance of "Don Pasquale" Sunday.

Daniel Bates and Elena Galván sang the roles of Ernesto and Norina in FGO’s second-cast performance of “Don Pasquale” Sunday.

In recent seasons the level of singing in the Florida Grand Opera’s young artist program has risen exponentially. Two of those gifted young singers assumed two of the leading roles in the second cast of Don Pasquale on Sunday afternoon at the Arsht Center.

While nothing can save director Renaud Doucet’s silly, gag-laden production of Donizetti’s comedy, Elena Galván (as Norina) and Daniel Bates (as Ernesto) were a definite improvement over their opening night counterparts.

Last season Bates played Ferrando in the FGO second cast of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, easily outsinging the inadequate tenor who opened the production. Bates did it again on Sunday.

A year of performance and study has proven valuable for this fine young tenor. On Sunday his youthful instrument was clear and without strain in the upper register and he sang with real passion and emotion. In the aria that opens the opera’s second act, Bates brought out Ernesto’s sadness and heartbreak at having to leave Norina. He made “Com’é gentil” sound like a real serenade, with clean and graceful articulation.

Galván was a spunky heroine with the deft timing and repartee of a natural comedienne. Her duet with the Malatesta of Marco Nisticò was appropriately playful. She played the scenes with Kristopher Irmiter’s Pasquale to the hilt. At first pretending to be a shy bride, she turned tigress with fury and real command of the stage. Galván’s bright timbre and agile top register were a good fit for the soubrette role. She easily nailed the coloratura runs and trills in the final ensemble. In the garden duet, Galván and Bates’ were well matched and blended warmly.

Don Pasquale will be repeated 8 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at the Arsht Center in Miami. Laura Tatulescu and Jesus Álvarez sing Norina and Ernesto on Tuesday and Saturday.; 800-741-1010.

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Mon May 9, 2016
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