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Subject: Summer's Superlative Singers at WOLF TRAP OPERA
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Date:Sat, 28 Jun 2003 17:41:37 EDT

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The Wolf Trap Opera opened its 2003 summer season last week with LA CLEMENZA 
di TITO (which I will attend tonight), but waited a little longer this year to 
present its opening Opera Recital which was held last night. This year's 
group of young singers (15 of 16 sang as Nick Phan is at the Cardiff Competition 
this week) is as good as ever and we had some pretty amazing performances last 
There was no question in my mind that the NUMERO UNO, THREE STAR performance 
of the evening came from New Zealand tenor, SIMON O'NEILL (who, alas, will 
sing only Tito this summer and depart the company tomorrow already!) in "La mia 
letizia infondere" from Verdi's I LOMBARDI. Folks, this is the real tenor with 
that "Italianate THING" that we have all been looking for. Stand aside, three 
tenors, here he comes!
Right behind him with another stellar performance was bass, MORRIS ROBINSON 
with another Verdi gem, "Il lacerato spirito" from SIMON BOCCANEGRA. You might 
mistake Mr. Robinson for Mr. T if you didn't hear him sing, but the voice is 
easily as big as he is! A member of the Met's Lindemann Program, you can hear 
him in DARDANUS next month.
I don't like giving places, but just right behind these two were two more 
amazing performances. Returning alumni, STACEY RISHOI gave a magnificent 
performance of  Nicklausse's rarely heard aria, "Vois sous l'archet." Again, it seems 
she too departs after the Tito performances.
Staying through the whole summer will be soprano, SARAH COBURN who sang "Una 
voce poco fa" in a preview of August's BARBIERE. As I mentioned previously, I 
prefer mezzo's as Rosina, but Ms. Coburn's super soprano rendition could well 
change my mind! She was also the best looking and best dressed member of the 
company, and a clear candidate for our new OPERA CALENDAR being amassed by Val!
Another preview of the summer program was returning tenor, ROSS HAUCK's 
anguished largo "Lieux funestes" from Rameu's DARDANUS, followed by baritone, AARON 
JUDISCH in a fun "Maxim's" from the Merry Widow, which will be featured in 
the Summer Night in Vienna on July 6. Aaron also joined Sarah Coburn for the 
finale in "Dunque io son" from BARBIERE as the final "preview." Aaron might also 
appear on Val's calendar!
Not to belittle the other wonderful performances they were:
Soprano, CAROLYN BETTY (also returning) -"Dich teure Hall" from Tannhauser 
whose voice easily filled the small barn, where Wolf Trap Opera director, Kim 
Witman said, Wagner is rarely heard. Incidentally, Ms. Witman valiantly 
accompanied everyone for the 90minute plus program!
"O du mein holder Abendstern" also from Tannhauser was the other Wagner 
offering from another big-voiced baritone, MARCUS BEAM. The third German offering 
was an amazingly expressive rendition of Kurt Weill's "Surbaya Johnny" by 
mezzo-soprano, AUDREY BABCOCK.
Mezzo-soprano, ANGELA NIEDERLOH gave us "Non piu mesta" from Rossini's LA 
CENERENTOLA; Soprano, MIRANDA ROWE an appropriately depressed "Adieu, notre 
petite table" from MANON, and returning mezzo, MARIE LENORMAND a hysterically 
drunken PERICHOLE in Offenbach's "Ah, quel diner."
Last but not least, and not in any particular order were newcomers, bass, 
MATT BOEHLER in SWEENEY TODD's "There was a barber and his wife;" soprano, 
KRISTIN REIERSEN in "Caro nome;" and bass-baritone, MATTHEW BURNS "Old Man River," 
which was also a standout.
I am never cease to be impressed how Wolf Trap maintains the highest 
standards in a summer intern program. What I like the best is that the singers here in 
Vienna, Virginia actually sing all the roles, rather than covering or 
appearing in minor parts. Many of our singers have apprenticed at Santa Fe, St. Louis 
and Glimmerglass amongst other summer programs, but I can't help feeling that 
they get something really special and different each time they get chosen to 
be in the WOLF TRAP OPERA.

Washington, DC

<<Uns is gegeben, daß wir immer meinen, anderswo wäre das Glück, und so 
beneiden wir alle, die anders sind.>>--Reisebuch aus den Österreichen Alpen by 
Ernst Krenek
translates as:
It is our lot always to imagine that happiness lies elsewhere, and so we envy 
all things that are different.
<<The lure of travel set my heart afire>>--Erich Korngold from DIE TOTE STADT
<<If you ask me what I came into this world to do,
I will tell you I came to live out loud>>--Emile Zola
****************LIFE IS A CABERNET!>>

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