Magazine article Opera Canada

San Francisco Opera Center. (United States: San Francisco; Opera in Review)

Magazine article Opera Canada

San Francisco Opera Center. (United States: San Francisco; Opera in Review)

Article excerpt

The San Francisco Opera Center offers intimate productions each year to spotlight its Adler Fellows, younger singers who train with the company and assume smaller roles on the main stage. This year's spring offering, Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera, took intimate pretty literally. Roy Rallo, part of the company's new production team, tested the youth, stamina and tolerance for embarrassment of his singers in antics that cast many a piece of clothing aside and left none unmolested. A worn-out community rec room in 1950s colors and a scraggly house plant framed the tawdry doings.

Amazingly, the music still glistened under the baton of Canadian conductor Judith Yan, whose brisk tempi almost seemed aimed a shortening the singers' humiliation. But textures were lucid and the lyric line convincingly sustained. Canadian baritone Hugh Russell, who took the supposedly dignified role of La Podesta, brought authority and richness of tone to a beautiful part Only a fine performer could manage to bring credibility to the ridiculous, even obscene, actions assigned to his character. He must have been longing for the simple setting of his successful solo recital in February. …

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