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 5, 2016


Bare Opera Gala (photo by Gustavo Alberto Mirabile)
Suchan Kim
Francisco Corredor
Briana Hunter
Sungwook Kim
Larisa Martinez (Gala host)
Joshua Bell (Gala Host)
Liana Guberman
Justin Brown (stage director)

Laetitia Ruccolo 
Min Lew (Bare Opera General Director)
Kirsten Scott

Life in New York can be tense, stressful, and competitive!

Life on Planet Opera is warm, relaxing, and mutually supportive!

Take, for example the gala evening offered by Bare Opera, one of our highly treasured small companies. Hosts for the evening were the wildly talented and gracious Joshua Bell and the equivalently talented stunning soprano Larisa Martinez, toward whom we have oft tossed journalistic bouquets.  The venue was their lavishly appointed triplex that seems to have been designed for this type of event.

The room was packed with lots of luminaries from Planet Opera and everyone was there to share in the good will, imbibing champagne and a generous spread of edibles both before and after the musical portion of the evening.

Guests had the opportunity to hear four rising stars-- soprano Liana Guberman, mezzo-soprano Kirsten Scott, tenor Sungwook Kim, and baritone Suchan Kim-- in a tempting program of arias, duets, and ensembles. We use the word tempting because guests were indubitably tempted to order tickets for Bare Opera's upcoming Cambiale Matrimonio, written by Rossini at the tender age of 18.  (And what's YOUR 18 year-old doing with his free time, LOL?)

Francisco Corredor, himself a talented character tenor, served as Master of Ceremonies and introduced each number with style and humor. Justin Brown staged the evening, utilizing the space well, including the staircases; the singers were mysteriously masked.

Singers were accompanied by a trio of musicians with the lovely Laetitia Ruccolo playing the piano, cellist Elad Kabilio (famous for his "Music Talks"), and violinist Omer Ashano who was responsible for arranging the music along with Ms. Ruccolo.

The program was wisely chosen to include audience favorites--entirely suitable for a light-hearted evening. "Pronto io son", from Don Pasquale, involves Dr. Malatesta (Suchan) coaching Norina (Liana) on her portrayal of his convent-educated sister. The couple did justice to Donizetti's tuneful music.

Mozart got a happy hearing as well.  From Nozze di Figaro, we heard "Aprite, presto, aprite" with a frantic Susanna (Liana) trying to get rid of Cherubino (Kirsten) before the Count discovers his presence in the Countess' bedchamber.

From Mozart's Don Giovanni, Suchan performed the lovely serenade "Deh vieni alla finestra".  From Cosi fan tutte, Fiordiligi (Liana) and Dorabella (Kirsten) bade farewell to their departing lovers along with Don Alfonso (Suchan) in the trio "Soave sia il vento".

Rossini was also represented on the program with "Zitti, zitti, piano, piano" from Il Barbiere di Siviglia" with Kirsten as Rosina, Suchan as the eponymous barber, and Sunwook as Count Almaviva. For the finale, the entire cast joined forces for more Rossini--the quartet "Arpa gentile" from Il Viaggo a Reims.

In the hands of Ms. Scott, the event went smoothly and artistically.  We would expect no less from this fine company and have already planned to attend Rossini's early opera which will be performed November 4th, 5th, and 6th.  And so should YOU!

We love opera that is informal and accessible and, also important, affordable!

(c) meche kroop

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