Enter the feisty Zerbinetta (Kelly Singer) in full commedia del'arte attire, along with her troupe of entertainers. Esteban Zuniga portrayed Brighella, Alexander Mason had the role of Scaramuccio, Harlekin was portrayed by Marcel Sokalski, and Truffaldin was enacted by Edward Lim. Not only was the singing uniformly excellent but the staging and acting left no doubt about the talent onstage.
The evening ended with the opening scene from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi which is always fun as the greedy relatives go from fake weeping over the dead Busoni to real tears when they get a look at Busoni's will, which leaves his fortune to a monastery. In searching for the document, they just about tear the home apart.
The formidable Aunt Zita was portrayed by mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Harris; the family elder Simone was believably realized by Zachary Brown whose limped gait and sourpuss face made him unrecognizable from his earlier appearance as Jason the Argonaut. Rinuccio (Taicheng Li), Gherardo (Esteban Zuniga), Nella (Blair Cagney), Betto (Eunsung Lee), Marco (Jimin Park) La Ciesca (Desiree Dawson) and little Gherardino (Yejin Lee) made up the rest of this grasping Florentine family.
What a treat to have so many laughs in an evening of opera! Credit must be given, not only to Ms. Alley but to Maestro Jonathan Brandani for his fine conducting, and the two pianists/coaches Cory Battey and Nicolò Shuelz who did a fine job coaching the Italian. The excellent German diction came as no surprise since Nils Neubert was the coach; English diction was coached by Kathryn LaBouff who made sure that every word was clear.
(c) meche kroop