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Subject: Handel's Alcina in Texas
From: LANE WHITESELL <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:LANE WHITESELL <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 25 Jan 2018 13:00:09 -0500

text/plain (30 lines)

Handel’s Alcina in Texas

            Last weekend the University of North Texas presented a very fine performance of Handel’s Alcina, using a very small ensemble of period instruments: three violins, viola, two cellos, bass, and two oboes doubling briefly with recorders, and two harpsichords. The performances had originally been announced as concert performances, but the graduate students who were singing suggested to the rest of the cast that they put together some costumes and some staging, which was quite successful.

            The stars of the opening performance were the two senior mezzo-sopranos, singing Bradamante and Ruggiero, and the bass singing the short but pivotal role of Melisso. Their singing and acting were all top-notch, with Bradamante disguised as a knight to try to reclaim her fiancée from Alcina, and Ruggiero finally breaking out of an enchantment and breaking with Alcina. Alcina was sung by a doctoral student and her sister Morgana by another graduate student. Both were very good singers; their respective seductions of the mezzos were a little over the top.

            The nice thing about this performance is that it gave me great expectations for the next Alcina performance in March by the newly-founded American Baroque Opera company. The orchestra for UNT’s performance included several UNT graduates, one of whom is the founder of the American Baroque and their principal cellist. If they play as well for the professional cast as they did for the student cast, it will be a performance not to miss.

            The weekend of March second through fourth will be a busy one for me, with Painted Sky Opera presenting the second weekend of the play Souvenir, about Florence Foster Jenkins, and the Oklahoma city University’s production of Smetana’s comedy The Bartered Bride, as well as the next performances of Alcina in Texas.

Lane A. Whitesell, Opera Host, KUCO-FM

Lane A. Whitesell

Lane A. Whitesell

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