|Alexei Kuznietsov, Johanna Will, Carlos Arcos, Temple Hammen, Daniela Magura, Carolina López Moreno,
and Jake Landau
We have written often about CLA and their total immersion programs held every summer for the past ten years in Italy, and almost as long in France. Every time we hear students from those programs we have been impressed by their facility with language and also by the sense that they know what they are singing about.
Because we love duets, we found ourself particularly pleased by "Belle nuit" from Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffman. Here, the role of Niklaus was sung by mezzo-soprano Daniela Magura and soprano Julianna Will sang the part of the courtesan Giulietta. Collaborative pianist Jake Landau skillfully kept the gondola rocking!
We would not hear Ms. Magura in a solo aria but enjoyed her very much in the closing duet "Dôme épais" from Leo Delibes' Lakmé in which she sang Malika to the Leila of soprano Carolina López Moreno. The French was as fine as one could wish and the harmonies were luscious.
Ms. Moreno has a soprano of great promise and we thrilled to her emotional performance of "Tu che di gel sei cinta" from Puccini's Turandot. She has a real feel for Puccini as we heard in "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" from his La Rondine. In both cases, the Italian diction and phrasing were admirable and her voice opens beautifully at the top.
Ms. Will's fine instrument was heard in the "Jewel Song" from Gounod's Faust and in "Un bel di vedremo" from Puccini's Madama Butterfly. We are pleased to tell that her Italian was excellent and the sound of her voice was glorious.
Soprano Temple Hammen performed "Se il padre perdei" from Mozart's Idomeneo and the delightful "Du gai soleil" from Massenet's Werther. Both French and Italian were lovely.
Mr. Kuznietsov performed "Amor ti vieta" from Giordano's Fedora with an appealing vibrato that caught our ear. He also proved that a singer doesn't have to be Spanish to capture the essence of zarzuela. His "No puede ser" from Sorozábal's La tabernera del puerto was given full expression with plenty of variation in color.
Baritone Carlos Arcos performed Tosti's "Non t'amo più" with plenty of Latin passion and variety of dynamics, all the way down to a delicate pianissimo. His phrasing in "If ever I would leave you" from Loewe's Camelot reminded us of the very permeable border between opera and musical theater.
Mr. Landau's piano was supportive throughout without ever overwhelming the singers.
It was a very fulfilling evening and we are looking forward to hearing more of these special singers.
(c) meche kroop