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.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Atsuko Nieda and Antonio Signorello

It was a short recital at The National Opera Center but all the bases were covered in terms of repertory for an Italian tenor.  Accompanied by pianist Atsuko Nieda, Antonio Signorello, who hails from Catania in Sicily, appeared under the auspices of New York Lyric Opera Theatre. Elizabeth Heuermann is the General/Artistic Director of this organization and we have enjoyed her creative directing on a number of occasions as well as her vocal performances. (The last time we heard her was in the role of Adele in Die Fledermaus.)

We hope she was not responsible for Mr. Signorello's changing scarves for each aria and canzone. Every color of the rainbow was represented and perhaps the color was meant to relate to the lyrics, but we found this bit of stage business to be quite distracting.

We loved the well-chosen program which included arias by Puccini and Verdi (what's not to love!) and canzone by Tosti, Cardillo, and Cali. We enjoyed the use of rubato in "L'ultima canzone" with its lovely vocalise at the end, and "A vucchella", both by Tosti. We would have called Cardillo's "Core 'ngrato" our favorite until we heard a song new to us--Cali's "E vui durmiti ancora", or Mattinata Siciliana.  We ourselves must have been asleep to have overlooked this gem.  Many thanks to Mr. Signorello for introducing us!

There were two curiosities on the program--from Meyerbeer's L'africaine, which we have never seen, we heard "O paradis", sung in French.  And from Franz Lehar's 1929 operetta Das Land des L├Ąchelns we heard "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz"--in Italian! Well, that was really something!

From the world of opera, we heard arias from Verdi's La forza del destino and from Puccini's La fanciula del West and Manon Lescaut. We found Mr. Signorello's delivery to involve more "grandstanding" than that to which we are accustomed. "Money notes" were held just a bit too long with some distracting grimaces.

On a positive note, we always admire an Italianate sound and Mr. Signorello has an embouchure that any American singer would do well to emulate.  He has a darker sound than we had anticipated and he has plenty of depth in the lower register.

We had heard him sing previously ("Vesti la giubba") and he was sufficiently intense at that time. We believe he would do well to "pull it back a notch". A variety of color and intensity would be welcome. So...more color in the sound and less in the fabric!

(c) meche kroop

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