|Christa Hylton, Georgios Papadimitriou, John Schenkel-photo by Steve Faust
The Regina Opera's sets (by Director Linda Lehr) were simple but workable and the same could be said for the costumes. The casting was astute and there were some fine performances to enjoy. As the eponymous hero, bass-baritone Georgios Papadimitriou was outstanding, both vocally and dramatically; he created a Figaro who was charming and wily, completely focused on outwitting Count Almaviva (baritone Julian Whitley) who was intent on obstructing Figaro's marriage. Clever Susanna was sung by the adorable Jenny Ribeiro whose "Deh vieni non tardar" was incredibly beautiful and taken at a slow tempo; the audience burst into applause prematurely and nearly missed her magnificent cadenza. The sad and neglected Countess Almaviva was well sung by Christina Rohm who deserved the large round of applause she got for "Dove sono".
Another splendid performance was turned in by mezzo Danielle Horta as Cherubino, pleasing the audience with her "Non so più" and "Voi che sapete". As Marcellina, mezzo Christa Hylton had us giggling every time she came onstage with her ridiculous hat with yellow feathers and her expressive face. She handled the transition from the vengeful creditor who wanted her "pound of flesh" from Figaro to his generous loving mother without missing a beat. Another hilarious performance was given by tenor Alejandro Salvia as the foppish Don Basilio, sporting a bright pink wig and turquoise satin breeches--a vision to be sure.
Bass-baritone John Schenkel was a most convincing Dr. Bartolo but had some problems projecting his voice. This might be due to the split-level pit, an unfortunate situation due to a lack of space (strings at conductor-level and winds buried behind and below) . Another consequence of this situation was a degree of imbalance in the orchestra which was conducted by Maestro Scott Jackson Wiley. There was, however, no imbalance among the voices in the gorgeous duets and ensembles.
Antonio was played by Gene Howard and his daughter Barbarina by Nicole Leone. Don Curzio was performed by Brian Ribeiro. Special mention must be made of the fine chorus.
© meche kroop