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Subject: Washington Concert Opera racks up another success with Marina Costa-Jackson's stellar MARIA di ROHAN(2-18-18) 2018-19 season announced
From: Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:19:19 -0500

text/plain (63 lines)

Last evening was a wondrous musical performance again from Washington Concert Opera under the guidance of Maestro Antony Walker and prior to the concert we were told that the concert again is being recorded for local broadcast on WETA-FM radio and that next season will feature Gounod's SAPHO (Kate Lindsey & Addison Marlor) on November 18 and Rossini's ZELMIRA (Silvio Tro Santafe and Lawrence Brownlee) on April 5, 2019.

But last night's star was Donizetti whose Maria di Rohan has not been heard in this city in over two decades!

Maria- Marina Costa-Jackson

Riccardo- Norman Reinhardt

Enrico- Lester Lynch

Gondi- Ginger Costa-Jackson

de Fiesque  - Efrain Solis

di Suze - Timothy Bruno

Aubry- Adam Caughey

servant-Andrew  Bawden

The length and exhilarating overture had our maestro up and down on the podium like a kangaroo (well, he is Australian), and I have to say his exuberance and love for this work is indeed infectious.

Mr. Reinhardt was introduced ina  DC debut last night with "Quando il cor..." and the recit had him ending on some gorgeous melting high notes making me realize why he has been chosen to sing Tony in the upcoming HGO West Side Story. The aria itself has an oddly abrupt ending; I wanted more!

Marina Costa-Jackson (returning to DC after a huge success at a previous Wash Concert Opera Gala and also winning our Met regional auditions singing a knockout "L'altra notte" from Mefistofele--hey Washington National Opera...idea for future casting!!) looked drop dead gorgeous in a flaired black gown that had a bare shouldered glitter harness top. Her deep dramatic soprano filled the hall with warmth and thrilled us at every single moment throughout the night from her opening "Rival!" in "Cupa fatal mestizia," but it was the spectacular cabaletta of joy, "Ben fu il giorno..." with its final high note sung as if it were with such ease that sent the audience into a frenzy.

Ginger Costa-Jackson, in the trouser role of Gondi, was just as impressive and also looked amazing in her flowing black Grecian draped gown with a glittery black collar that held it up on her chest. "Per non istar in ozio..." is a superb ditty accompanied by chorus and men on "his" attempt to seduce Maria who rebuffs "him" ending with another stellar high note.

Mr. Lynch's Verdi baritone was suited perfectly to this role and his cabaletta "se ancor m'è dato stringerti" led us into the magnificent Act I finale, "D'une anno il giro..." a quintet with chorus topped by the most gorgeous soprano high note at the end from Ms. Marina Costa-Jackson.

The buzz at the first break was that we were experiencing history and we returned to "Alma soave e cara.." a beautiful, if short, tenor ode to his mother from Mr. Reinhardt. Unfortunately, the mezzo is killed in a duel in the second act, but gets to show off with "Son leggere e ver d'amore" which we had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Ginger Costa-Jackson sing earlier in the week at a patrons reception in our home. It has some thrilling mezzo low notes that really showed off her range and talents. 

The Act ends with Maria screaming how inhuman dueling is and begs Riccardo not to (since she loves him:"Ah disumano!"). Maria admits her love and begs him to flee and Mr. Rheinhardt offered up a floated "crudel pieta," but then something was definitely wrong as I noticed Mr. Reinhardt pop a lozenge in his mouth right before the finale duet (and then put it on his music stand). The big final note was spot on for Ms. Costa-Jackson and indeed huge, but it looked as if Mr. Rheinhardt had his mouth open, but very little seemed to come forth. We later discovered he had been having allergy issues, but chose not to make an announcement; it was sad, but not really bad.

Act III brought our soprano back in just as good form "Ah, così santo affetto come tradir potrei!" how can she betray her own husband, so she tells her beloved to leave. The meltingly slow and gorgeous duet, " Ah che piu vivere..." had Mr. Rheinhardt sounding much better. The next scene had our soprano's "mi svenera" (he will kill me) in the most dramatically low tones, I thought she could have been a contralto, but it was the ensuing "Havvi un dio..." had Ms. Costa-Jackson delivering one of the gutsiest arias crowned with a stellar cabaletta with a final note than had the audience screaming and going crazy. 

This is followed by her husband, the baritone's "Bella e di sol vestita" which truly matches the great Verdi baritone arias to come later, where he tells us of his wife's "infidelity." Um, folks--FAKE NEWS! She didn't even kiss the tenor. Mr. Lynch's cabaletta, "Si ma fra poco" totally delivered all the operatic goods with a long slow intro that mounted to a  thrilling finale.

This leads into the trio finale where the tenor and soprano both beg for death, and then oddly a quick ending (of course with a thrilling soprano high note again!) as her husband the baritone intones "donna infidel," thinking his wife unfaithful after the tenor has killed himself. More fake news.....just saying.

This was indeed a stellar and memorable evening and performance across the board, despite the little Act II mishap which we had all forgotten by the end of the opera. One thing I know for sure, is that the two Costa-Jackson sisters have a new following here in Washington; let's bring the three sisters back altogether!

ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC

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