The stars came out last night at Jackie Robinson Park long before the sky darkened. And what stars they are! The second of the Metropolitan Opera's two summer recitals put four of our favorite young artists onstage to the delight of the audience gathered around the bandshell.
Beautiful soprano Deanna Breiwick literally floated onstage in a magnificently becoming purple gown lending a great deal of glamour to the casual setting. Her accurate coloratura and liquid trill were most evident in her charming selection from Donizetti's Don Pasquale, "Quel guardo il cavaliere"; the Verdi was its equal, "Sul fil d'un soffio etesio" from Falstaff. Still, the "Glitter and be gay" from Bernstein's Candide won laurels as a crowd-pleaser. It would be fair to say that the audience went wild.
Tenor Alexander Lewis sang "Avete torto" from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi as if it had been written for him and graciously explained to the audience what the aria was about. His "Dein ist mein ganzes herz" from Lehar's Das Land des Lächelns fulfilled the romantic promise of a summer night.
Baritone Edward Parks absolutely oozed charm when he opened the evening's festivities with Rossini's "Largo al factotum" from Il Barbiere di Siviglia. We loved his "Figaro giu, figaro su". On a more serious note he sang "Avant de quitter ces lieux" from Gounod's Faust with moving intensity. And he closed the program with the Soliloquy from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. Nowhere could a better case be made for appreciating the American musical on the same plane as opera.
We just love duets and the evening offered several. "All'idea di quel metallo" from "Barber" offered the men an opportunity to show their dramatic chops while "La ci darem la mano" from Mozart's Don Giovanni did the same for Ms. Breiwick and Mr. Parks. "Una parola, o Adina" accomplished the same for Ms. B. and Mr. Lewis. Notably, Ms. B. moved flexibly from Adina's reserve to Zerlina's ambivalence. The two men's voices blended beautifully in "Lily's Eyes" from Norman and Simon's The Secret Garden.
At the piano, Vlad Iftinca changed styles with admirable flexibility. He is always a pleasure to hear. Let it be noted that Italian, French and German were given perfect diction by all three singers. This will go down as one of the best recitals of the year. We will surely see and hear much more of these four talented artists in years to come. Shall we call it "stardom threshold"?
(c) meche kroop