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Subject: The WNO AIDA may have closed, but here are some remarks on cast #2 from 9/17 and the amazing last minute sub on Sept 23 at Nats Stadium!(9/28/17)
From: Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 28 Sep 2017 10:53:04 -0400

text/plain (69 lines)

Hi folks,

I am so way behind with all the Jewish holidays but wanted to remark a bit about the amazing second cast (bad word--as they were TOP NOTCH) on their final Sunday matinee Sept 17 which I attended with my son as well as the closing night performance on September 23 with the same cast as opening night, except that it was streamed live to what seemed thousands and thousands of viewers at Nats Stadium (where we partied hard and viewed well) and tenor Carl Tanner went on at the last second with about 10 minutes notice as Radames!!

Leah Crocetto
Marina Prudenskaya
Carl Tanner
Gordon Hawkins
Morris Robinson
The King:
Soloman Howard


Francesca Zambello
Evan Rogister
Original Sketches & Concept Design:
Associate Director:
E. Loren Meeker
Set Designer:
Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer:
Anita Yavich
Lighting Designer:
Mark McCullough
Jessica Lang

From the start of the second cast performance I preferred Mr. Tanner (and disclosure, he is a dear friend and client) way more than Mr. Lee. There was no falsetto pianissimo weird thing in the high notes of "Celeste Aida," this was a man in love singing in his real voice. At both this performance and the Stadium viewing 6 days later, I had tingle up and down my spine, which doesn't happen a lot anymore. In tandem with Ms. Crocetto, they were a couple in love and really showed it. The Amneris of Ms. Prudenskaya (making a US stage debut) was forceful and well sung, but she was completely lost in her lowest notes with the orchestra drowning her out.  The two leads carried the night with ringing resounding notes from start to finish which filled the Opera House caressingly. When they went pianissimo, every note could still be heard up to the final death scene. Perfection diction and a gelling that was like butter with toast made for a spectacular afternoon. Ms. Prudenskaya did improve throughout the afternoon and her Act II boudoir sequence fared better as did her duet with Aida. Ms. Crocetto's "Numi, pieta" was one of the most gorgeous I have ever heard since my first Aida way over 40 years ago!
Our son, Samuel, is now taking modern dance, jazz and hip-hop and loved the dance sequences and choreography and didn't mind the RETNA sets (Well he did design Justin Bieber's album cover).
As we returned for Act III, we had an "O patria mia" that shall be remembered for ages; near perfection if I may say so. Even the other performers seemed to be more electrified with this cast; the dramatic intensity was apparent as before from Amonasro and Ramfis. 
In the final scene, Mr. Tanner's "Aida, dov'e sei tu" was so soft and prayer-like, but his rage grew with "Tu, in questa tomba" and the two finished their lives so sublimely making for a truly amazing performance.

I took no notes at the stadium, but we were all thrilled to see Mr. Tanner step in at the last minute (he had apparently also sung a performance for Mr. Lee just two days earlier and also did a partial replay for the "Look-in" or children's show the day before; that's commitment. I was seated with his husband and their adorable son, who was more concerned with getting every Mars/M&M(sponsors of "Opera in the Outfield") candy and stuffed animals and pillows! What a fun night had by all with special guest Timothy O'Leary (of OTSL) who will take over as WNO's new General Director next summer, working in tandem with Artistic Director, Francesca Zambello. YAY!

ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC

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