|Megan Samarin and |
Thomas Michael Allen
Photo: Karli Cadel
The star of the show was the Caesar of countertenor John Holiday. His voice is high but never shrill, and his pyrotechnics are beyond compare. He sang with great passion and tenderness, and commanded the stage easily with his enormous presence. He impressed especially with arias like the angry and florid Dovea svenarti allora.
Photo: Karli Cadel, Glimmerglass Festival
Thomas Michael Allen sang Cato and Glimmerglass Young Artist Eric Jurenas sang Arbace, both rather well. Conductor Ryan Brown led the Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra in beautifully stylized playing of the Baroque score. Quite striking sets were by John Conklin and beautiful costumes were by Sara Jean Tosetti.
My only real complaint about the production is not a valid complaint. This is early opera, without 19th-century conventions of plot movement. Typical of its time, there is a lot of introspection, revelation, and commentary through vocal fireworks, but there isn't much story telling--and I can't say this opera has a very strong story to tell. But consider that the audience experience in the early 18th century was nothing like today's reverential experience--it would have been much more social, with many diversions during the performance itself.
Do I recommend this production? Of course I do. The singing alone is worth the trip.
|Photo: Karli Cadel, Glimmerglass Festival|