We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Jared Angle
Bradley Brookshire
Anthony Roth Costanzo
One can always count on Salon/Sanctuary Concerts, helmed by Jessica Gould, to provide unusual and innovative programming.  The 2013-2013 season got off to a dazzling start last night featuring our favorite American counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, New York City ballet danceur noble Jared Angle and fleet-fingered harpsichordist Bradley Brookshire.

Recently transformed from "rising star" to full-blown stardom on the stage of The Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Costanzo exhibited all the qualities we want to hear when we listen to the Baroque repertory--tonal beauty, precision of fioritura, daring embellishments, and intense involvement with the music.  We also got a heaping portion of stage presence that tended to close the distance between us and the 17th and 18th centuries.  In the fast sections we were dazzled by the fireworks; in the slow sections we were deeply moved, as in "Aure deh per pietà" from Giulio Cesare.  The resonance of Mr. Costanzo's voice lingers in the spaces of our heads; even the eustachian tubes are atingle.

We especially enjoyed the Handel arias but when we heard him sing "Music for a while" from Purcell's Oedipus we realized that indeed all our cares had been beguiled.  Mr. Brookshire's accompaniment was flawless.

Mr. Brookshire was given the opportunity for several solos.  We heard J.S. Bach's "Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue" and three sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti.  In several places we could imagine the buzzing of bees and the flapping of hummingbird wings as Mr. Brookshire's fingers danced over the keys.

The most unusual part of the evening's programming was a duet performed by Mr. Angle and Mr. Costanzo, choreographed by Troy Schumacher and set to Vivaldi's "Qual per ignoto calle".  Mr. Angle danced in ballet slippers and Mr. Costanzo sang barefoot while being embraced and lifted by Mr. Angle.  It was a beautiful piece but we felt our attention divided.

This satisfying evening drew a standing-room-only crowd to the handsome theater of The Players Club.  No doubt the enthusiastic audience will be fighting over tickets for the remaining concerts of the season which promise to be equally innovative.

(c) meche kroop