Saturday, February 19, 2011

Viva Victorian Opera

Last night I met up with P&B for a quick Japanese meal before going to the Town Hall for Victorian Opera's Viva Verdi concert. The concert began with a spirited performance of the overture to La forza del destino by Orchestra Victoria.

This was followed by act one of La Traviata with Joanna Cole as Violetta , Virgilio Marino as Alfredo, Sally-Anne Russell as Flora and the energetic Victorian Opera chorus - this was a good choice as the act shows off the performers very well. Apart from a couple of squeals near the end of Sempre libera, Cole was very good; Marino's voice however didn't quite match up to Cole's.

After interval we got excerpts from Il trovatore, an opera with a convoluted plot which doesn't do much for opera's reputation. It started with the vigorous Anvil Chorus, followed by Russell giving her all as Azucena singing Stride la vampa. As Roger Howell was taken ill, Michael Lewis stepped in at the last minute to sing the role of Count Di Luna - he inhabited the role most impressively. Maxine Montgomery as Leonora sang in the final Miserere. 

As an encore Montgomery, Russell, Marino and Lewis sang the quartet from Rigoletto, with Russell's Maddalena outrageously playing up to Marino's Duke.

The rest of the soloists also acquitted themselves well; it was an extremely impressive start to the year for the company. I look forward to the rest of the season.



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