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Subject: Re: 'Aida' West / 'Aida' East
From: janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 10 Nov 2016 21:53:27 -0800

text/plain (32 lines)

On 11/10/2016 9:16 PM, Stuart Goldstein wrote:
> Just wondering, did anybody sing in either of these performances?  From the
> reviews, you'd never know.
Are you referring to the quoted lead or the entire review? In the latter, you could find mention of singers and singing, perhaps not enough, but not something "you'd never know" -

...As was true for the entire performance, even the quality of singing picked up as the evening continued, “home-grown” young talent in two major role debuts building their performances:Leah Crocetto <>(Merola Opera Program 2008, Adler Fellow 2009-11) as Aida andBrian Jagde <>(Merola 2009, Adler 2010-12) as Radames with big, well-projected voices, convincingly dealing with the challenge of a 3,200-seat hall. Their stage presence was more than sufficient, even if  chemistry between them was mostly missing. Jagde fulfilled the role’s dual demand for both lyrical and heroic voices, showing promise for a future heldentenor career.

Vocal splendor came from Ian Robertson’sSan Francisco Opera Chorus <>, which provided a solid, powerful sound regardless of its  numbers or positioning; at one point, the chorus faces upstage, away from the audience, and still its phrasing and diction were exceptional.

Raymond Aceto sings impressively as Ramfis.

Casting – the work of Zambello, current and former SFO general directorsMatthew Shilvock <>andDavid Gockley <> – is emphatic on the employment of young singers beyond Crocetto and Jagde. CurrentAdler Fellows <>shine:Anthony Reed’s <>King of Egypt,Toni Marie Palmertree’s <> Priestess (the offstage role launching a legion of careers, including those of Janis Martin, Carol Vaness, Dolora Zajick, and Crocetto herself), and in a most impressive two-line performance,Pene Pati <>as the Messenger. In the limited but important role of Amonasro,George Gagnidze <>sang impressively. So didRaymond 
Aceto <>as Ramfis.

The formidableEkaterina Semenchuk <> conformed to the first-part/second-part arc of the evening, singing unexceptionally at first (even in the crucial duet with Aida), then rising to the occasion brilliantly in the two finals acts. Semenchuk, Crocetto, and Jagde were at their best in the tragic final scene, even against the production error of having the entire empty stage substituting for what should be a claustrophobic tomb. Amneris’ head appears floating above the darkness, evoking audience titters, even as Semenchuk sings the parting “Pace… pace… pace.” Traditional staging with a small, suffocating enclosure for the lovers, with Amneris standing outside, makes much more sense.

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