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.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Marcelo Ayub, Dr. Alejandro Cordero, Nicolás Romero, Gustavo Vita, and Constanza Diaz Falú

Last night we had the privilege of being welcomed by the Americas Society to hear a recital by three young singers from the training division of Teatro Colón, one of the leading opera houses in the Americas. This seems to be something like the Apprentice Program of the Santa Fe Opera or the Merola Program at the San Francisco Opera.

A benefactor named Dr. Alejandro Cordero has underwritten the New York recital of young artists from this Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón for eight years. These three were chosen by audition and the program was a most agreeable one, comprising familiar opera arias and, happily, some Spanish and Latin American music at the end.

We were most impressed by soprano Constanza Diaz Falú who, of the three, seemed most performance ready. Ms. Diaz Falú has the kind of well-focused bright soprano that we love to hear singing Mozart and Rossini. She negotiated the fioritura effortlessly and has a most engaging stage presence.

Her "Der Hölle Rache" from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte left nothing to be desired; her technique was excellent and her portrayal of the angry Queen of the Night was completely apt. Quite different but equally wonderful was "Ah! Donate il caro sposo", Sofia's lovely aria from Rossini's early one-act comedy Il signor Buschino with its excellent ornamentation--lovely even without the English horn solo.

Her rendition of "Glitter and Be Gay" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide was full of charm but we found the accent (British English combined with Spanish) a slight drawback.

She also performed the part of Zerlina in "La ci darem la mano" from Mozart's Don Giovanni with bass Gustavo Vita as the vile seducer of Seville. Her stage presence was so winning that she swept the otherwise wooden Mr. Vita right along with her.

Mr. Vita has a substantial bass but looks awkward onstage and comes across as effortful.  This interfered with his connection with the audience. He seemed to connect well with his material but it didn't translate. It seemed as if he needed someone onstage with whom to come alive. We were wondering if some kind of body work would be of assistance--some instruction in dance or movement that would loosen him up.

Nicolás Romero has a pleasing tenor and sang "Amor ti vieta" from Umberto Giordano's Fedora--with passion. We liked him even better in "E lucevan le stelle" from Puccini's Tosca in which he employed dynamic variety to good effect.  He also did well with Cardillo's "Core 'ngrato" and Casalino's "Non ti scordar di me". two audience favorites. 

Mr. Romero sings effortlessly in the upper register, even with forte passages, but we wanted to experience more breath support in the pianissimi to prevent his sound from dwindling.

Our favorite however was "La roca fria del calvario" from José Serrano's wonderful zarzuela La Dolorosa, which we had the pleasure of seeing in its entirety about a year ago. We can never get enough zarzuela!

Singers tend to do best in their native language and we loved Ms. Diaz Falú's tender interpretation of Fernando Obradors' "Del cabello más sutil" which she sang in the Castilian dialect. 

Soprano and tenor joined voices for the lovely duet "Caballero del alto plumero" from Federico Moreno Torroba's charming zarzuela Luisa Fernanda, in which the Duchess and the handsome young Colonel are having a flirtation. The final work on the program was the trio "Uno" by M. Mores.

Pianist and Musical Director for this lovely evening was Marcelo Ayub.

We have long lauded Argentina for their tango, their fine wine, and their beef.  Now we can add one more thing--they produce some fine young singers.  Bravissimi!

(c) meche kroop

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