Magazine article Musical Opinion

British Youth Opera

Magazine article Musical Opinion

British Youth Opera

Article excerpt

British Youth Opera launched the London season with its now annual appearance at the Peacock Theatre in two productions featuring young singers in the early stages of their careers, many of them recently graduated from the UK's music colleges.

The Rossini double bill with which they opened on September 4 paired two of the one-act farces written and performed before the composer was 21, which launched his career at the Teatro San Moise in Venice. Both are set to librettos by Giuseppe Maria Foppa involving the triumph of true love over parental opposition: in other words, flimsy stories peopled by stock characters of the genre, requiring no great dramatic depth but calling for flexible, well-schooled voices. The Rossini tenor is a commodity always in short supply, which was the case here.

In II Signor Bruschino, the hero Florville was likeably portrayed by Thomas Herford and neatly sung, but it was not a voice as yet of sufficient amplitude to tackle the bel canto roles of the main Rossini repertory. Opposite him, Elena Sancho sang Sofia in a clean-edged soprano that did justice to their duet and to her attractive aria. The various baritone/bass characters were vocally well differentiated: Thomas Kennedy as Signor Bruschino, Michel de Souza as the guardian Gaudenzio and Benjamin Cahn as the innkeeper Filiberto.

In La Scala di Seta, the tenor problem was one of quality rather than quantity when Carlos Nogueira as Dorvil sang without subtlety of expression in unpleasing raw tones. …

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