Glamorous mezzo Susan Graham made a delightful hostess for the Santa Fe Opera's fundraiser "Susan Graham and Friends". With several changes of attire and a charming manner, she introduced the glittering stars of the evening who competed with the star-studded New Mexico skies.
Especially glittering onstage was coloratura soprano Erin Morley who sang "O beau pays de la Touraine" from Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots. Ms. Morley's technique is amazing; her trills are liquid silver and her fioritura is always invested with pinpoint accuracy. Most of the selections from the first half of the program were from lesser known operas, and while given with great artistry, were not always perfectly suited to the singers who performed them, and unfamiliar to the audience who might have preferred some old chestnuts. Nonetheless, hearing bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, soprano Leah Crocetto, tenor Bryan Hymel, soprano Erin Wall, baritone Mark Delavan and Ms. Graham herself is always a treat. The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Montgomery, has played remarkably well all season. Frederic Chaslin accompanied Ms. Graham for her "Ch'io mi scordi di te".The second half of the program was given over to lighter works--operetta and Broadway musicals. Still, it is difficult to consider the "Epiphany" from Sondheim's Sweeney Todd as a light work and Mark Delavan showed every nuance of its nastiness. We were surprised and delighted to see Nicholas Pallesen, well remembered from Juilliard days, who gave a stirring performance of "If ever I would leave you" from Lerner and Loewe's Camelot. Ms. Graham was hilarious in "The boy from..." by Sondheim and Rogers. The program closed with the finale from Bernstein's Candide, sung by Zach Borichevsky whom we enjoyed so much as Matteo in Arabella. His Cunegonde was sung by promising coloratura soprano Lindsey Russell, one of this year's apprentices.
And so, another thrilling week at the Santa Fe Opera has drawn to a close and we are on our way back to The Big Apple for yet more opera. It may be New York's slow season but there are still some thrills in store. Stay tuned! (c) meche kroop