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, April 17, 2013


Antonio Carlos Gomes
Sometimes one "discovers" what has been there all along; you only need someone to draw your attention to it.  We will be forever grateful to the good folks of Opera Dolce, namely Andrew Costello and Pamela Lloyd for introducing us to the relatively "unsung" but highly enjoyable 19th c. works of Antonio Carlos Gomes, operatic treasure of Brazil.  Giuseppi Verdi himself is reported to have said: "Questo giovane comincia da dove finisco io".  ("This young man starts where I finish".)   Indeed the influence of Verdi is heard throughout his work.  The melodic invention is luscious and the harmonies gorgeous.  We tried to imagine what they would sound like with full orchestra.

At last night's recital, arias and duets from five of his operas were heard: Salvator Rosa, Maria Tudor, Fosca, Lo Schiavo and Il Guarany.  Synopses of all were thoughtfully included in the program so that audience members could understand the place in the drama held by each number.  We particularly enjoyed the duet "Soli, del mondo immemori" from Fosca, sung by soprano Raquela Sheeran and tenor Adam Cromer; the voices balanced well and the harmonies were lovely.  The same could be said for "Colui che non canta" from Maria Tudor, sung by soprano Catherine Murphy, also with Mr. Cromer, and "Salvator libero sei" from Salvator Rosa, sung by Pamela Lloyd and tenor Philip Alongi. 

Mr. Costello himself used his big bass-baritone in the aria of renunciation "Sogni d'amore" from Lo Schiavo and in the strophic drinking song from Il Guarany-- "Senza tetto, senza cuna".  Soprano Pamela Lloyd sang "Come serenamente" from Lo Schiavo, demonstrating a really fine trill.  The accompanist for the evening was Craig Ketter.

Some dances from Lo Schiavo were performed by Alison Cook Beatty and Alejandro Herrera in bare feet.  We would have preferred to see them in ballet footwear, more suitable to this 19th c. work.

The program (sans ballet) will be repeated Thursday evening at Christ and St. Stephen's Church where we hope the acoustics will be more suitable and kinder to the voices.

Hearing a full opera by this gifted composer is going on our wish list.  It seems tragic that his work, oft celebrated in Italy, has been rather ignored in the USA.

© meche kroop

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