Posts Tagged ‘Lorina Gore’
RODELINDA, REGINA DE’LONGOBARDI
Opera Seria in 3 Acts by George Frideric Handel
Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym
First Production commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music and first performed in the King’s Theatre in the Haymarket, London on the 13th February 1725.
Concert performance by The Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Foundation on Saturday, 20th October 2012 in the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney.
With the Sydney Lyric Orchestra.
Conductor Richard Bonynge
Rodelinda Valda Wilson
Bertarido Fiona Janes
Grimoaldo John Longmuir
Eduige Liane Keegan
Unulfo Lorina Gore
Garibaldo Michael Lewis
Love was certainly in the air for the long anticipated concert performance for this, one of the great masterpieces of Handel, and the welcome return to the concert stage of living National treasure, Richard Bonynge. A packed City Recital Hall graced by the presence of the Governor -General of Australia, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce, The Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Prof Marie Bashir, the Premier of NSW, The Honorable Mr Barry O’Farrell, numerous great Australian singers both past and present, and an enthusiastic throng of passionate lovers of great singing bristled with excitement proving that love and passion for bel canto singing is alive and well in Sydney. Indeed, only a kilometre away another great bel canto work – LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR was playing in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House.
Richard Bonynge had assembled an extraordinary cast of the greatest possible Australian singers for this performance and it certainly showed in performance. Leading the charge in the title role was Valda Wilson, who looked like a Greek goddess and sang equally divinely. Although not a classical coloratura soprano, you would never have known it with the excellent running of the voice and trilling she displayed. Richard Bonynge was at pains to reign in the voices and allow the beauty of tone to shine through in the superb acoustics of this hall, but when Valda occasionally opened up the voice she displayed a voice of considerable power and equal tonal beauty. This was a truly stunning performance and one that will stay in the mind of audience members for a long time.
Photo: Valda Wilson
Fiona Janes as Bertarido, now one of Australia’s finest dramatic mezzos, showed no loss of facility in her demanding coloratura passages and thrilled both with her dramatic arias and also the most heart-rending ones, leaving many audience members (including myself) profoundly moved. Her loss from the performance stage following her fine performance of Adalgisa in Norma with the late Elizabeth Connell remains unforgivable.
Liane Keegan, last heard in Australia as Erda in the Adelaide Ring is truly a force of nature ! Her true and rare contralto voice made mince meat of the coloratura passages and thrilled with interpolated low F’s which probably made even Lauris Elms (present in the audience) sit up at attention and even the ghost of Dame Clara Butt.
John Longmuir, a tenor in the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artists Studio with Opera Australia sang the role of Grimoaldo (who thinks up these names) with striking beauty of tone, and without the use of a score. He had certainly done his homework and it showed.
Lorina Gore contributed many fine moments of glorious singing and Michael Lewis, fronting up that evening after singing Sharpless in a performance of MADAMA BUTTERFLY that afternoon for Opera Australia showed there is no limits to his talents, singing Handel superbly for the first time in my memory.
What a cast, and what extraordinary singing – all sung with heart-felt emotion. This performance was music making at the highest level, and a masterclass in vocal technique.
Richard Bonynge was in his element and conducted a truly magical performance with some fine playing from the Sydney Lyric Orchestra.
Lets hope this is the first of an annual event for the Sydney opera calendar, and continues to make money for the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Foundation to help sponsor promising young artists for further study and training overseas. It certainly paid off Valda Wilson, a previous grant recipient.
How sad that such bel canto works are rarely heard with the National opera company these days, and some of the great Australian artists in this performance are also not heard with them. The only member of the administrative team of Opera Australia at the performance was Associate Musical Director, Anthony Legge, who left the performance after the interval.
COSI FAN TUTTE
Opera in 2 Acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Performance by Opera Australia on Saturday, 17th March 2012 in the Opera Theatre of the Sydney Opera House.
Conductor Benjamin Northey
Director Jim Sharman
Scenery Designer Ralph Myers
Costume Designer Gabriela Tylesova
Lighting Designer Damien Cooper
Choreography Joshua Consandine
Assistant Director Kip Williams
Fortepiano continuo Kate Golla
Ferrando Stephen Smith
Guglielmo Samuel Dundas
Don Alfonso Richard Anderson
Fiordiligi Sharon Prero
Dorabella Sian Pendry
Despina Lorina Gore
After a three year rest, the Jim Sharman production of Mozart and da Pontes’ third and final opera returned to the Opera Theatre of the Sydney Opera House to conclude the Summer Season works. It suffers from being the last of three Mozart productions (2 of them modern updatings with the same set designer) in this season, and audience fatigue of Mozart was evident. The upper loges were empty and a substantial number of premium seats in the stalls were also empty. Again the opera was sung in English.
The Sharman production frames the production within a modern wedding celebration, where the marrying couple, an Australian man and a Japanese bride seat themselves on the sides of the stage projecting around the orchestra pit and watch, and occasionally involve themselves in the unfolding shenanigans of some of their wedding guests – the unmarried couples of the opera.
The production is framed in a solitary white set with a rolling a high flowing ramp descending from the back of the stage reminiscent perhaps of the sand descending to the water at Bondi Beach (a frequent haunt for Japanese weddings) and angled side walls leaning to the right hand side of the stage. After a while the effect of the slightly leaning walls produces an illusion of the stage being tilted to the side which I found unsettling. Opening with the trio of men concluding their workout in a gym while dressing in the change room and discussing the love life of Ferrando and Guglielmo works well, as did the following scene with their lovers in swim wear. The men march of to war in army camouflage fatigues, later they are resuscitated by Despina with a device resembling a dildo, stylised period costumes are used for the chorus in the garden scene and the wedding banquet table is a long platform flown in from the fly tower on which Despina does a sassy strip and fan dance for her Act II aria, “Una Donna”. Thankfully, the restudied production omitted much of the previously intrusive use of a cameraman on stage filming the action. Much of the stage action was very active, physically demanding, and at times almost busy, producing a fast paced and extremely comedic production. There were some memorable stage pictures, particularly for the chorus for the Act II evening garden scene.
Musically the performances were in the more than competent hands of the young Australia conductor, Benjamin Northey who delivered a sparkling account of the score. Sian Pendry was the only original member of the cast. She has grown considerably in this role, and also in size of her voice since the productions last outing. Lorina Gore, an experienced member of the company, made a delightfully sung and acted Despina. Somehow the complete package of vivacity, manipulation of events and humour was unfortunately not as well delineated in the production – though no fault of Ms Gore. The rest of the cast consisted of young and less experienced singers who did an absolutely sterling job both vocally and dramatically, only lacking more experience, further development, and a better production to be entirely successful. Ensembles were all well sung pattering along with excellent precision and colour amidst the fast paced and extremely physical action.
Richard Anderson surprised as a resonant and well sing and acted Don Alfonso. This singer now seems to be finally making his mark in the company after an excellent performance of Tereus in Richard Mill’s opera THE LOVE OF THE NIGHTINGALE in 2011, and now Don Alfonso. Similarly Sam Dundas as Guglielmo. Previous roles though well sung, have been wooden. Not so in this role which was sung and performed with verve. Indeed he has even deserved a rating on the barihunks site ( http://barihunks.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/shirtless-samuel-dundas-heats-up-cosi.html ) !
Stephen Smith also continues to improve in this, his largest main stage role to date. His well sung Ferrando, particularly in the ensembles, was matched by an ease of acting. His upper range needs a little more work for his aria “Un aura amorosa” which required some effort and loss of the liquid tone required above the stave in this difficult number.
In the vocally demanding role of Fiordiligi, Sharon Prero sang with precision but the voice initially was marred by a steely tone. She settled in time delivering a well sung “Come scoglio”, albeit lacking the fine tonal quality present in some of the best exponents of the role seen on this stage over the years, such as Joan Carden, Yvonne Kenny and Amanda Thane. The production was well supported by a small chorus and the excellent of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
Although containing some entertaining scenes and some fine singing, this production is the least successful of the three Mozart operas presented in this Summer Season. Despite the valiant attempts of the experienced and ingenious director Jim Sharman (surely a living National treasure), and a young, vibrant group of promising singers this seemed a long evening in the theatre. Unfortunately the singing and staging never realised the lofty heights that this Mozart work surely requires. The casting would be quite acceptable for a regional opera company, but not for our National company. The administration of Opera Australia has not only let the singers down by not supporting them with more experienced singers mixed into the cast for this opera, and also the new MAGIC FLUTE, but more importantly they have let their audience down. Opera Australia cannot expect it’s audience to grow when they deliver works not cast to knock the socks of the audience. A shame that there were more vacant seats after the interval.
This Australian premier concert performance of Handel’s magnificent 18th Century masterpiece will be conducted by Maestro Richard Bonynge to raise funds for the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Opera Foundation.
With the success of the Metropolitan Opera’s recent production screened widely across Australia, this exquisite baroque opera will be performed in honour of the late Dame Joan Sutherland and to showcase some of Australia’s most talented singers.
The all star Australian cast will include, rising star, soprano Valda Wilson, fresh from singing in Dresden and the Salzburg Festival; Fiona Janes and Liane Keegan, two of Australia’s most internationally experienced mezzo sopranos; last year’s Bel Canto Award winner, tenor John Longmuir; popular soprano Lorina Gore and the acclaimed international baritone, Michael Lewis.
The Sydney Lyric Orchestra will feature some of our finest orchestral musicians, including the highly enigmatic flautist, Jane Rutter and Sharolyn Kimmorley on harpsichord.
In a story of love, revenge, power and finding freedom, RODELINDA is filled with glorious arias and duets requiring singers of exceptional technical ability. For one concert performance only, this will be an historic evening for all lovers of great singing and great opera.
The cast is as follows:
Valda Wilson – Rodelinda
Fiona Janes – Bertarido
John Longmuir – Grimoaldo
Liane Keegan – Eduige
Lorina Gore – Unulfo
Michael Lewis – Garibaldo
Richard Bonynge – Conductor
Group 8+: $95
Under 27: $60
Group 8+: $80
Under 27: $46
Group 8+: $66
Under 27: $30
Group 8+: $50
An opera in two acts by Jake Heggie
Libretto by Gene Scheer, based on the novel Moby Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville
Performance on Saturday, 3rd September 2011 in the Festival Theatre, Adelaide by the State Opera of South Australia with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Timothy Sexton
Director Leonard Foglia
Set Designer Robert Brill
Costumes Jane Greenwood and Moria Clinton (associate)
Projection Designer Elaine McCarthy
Lighting Donald Holder
Choreographer Keturah Stckann
Revival Projection Designer Shawn Boyle
Revival Lighting Designer Gavan Swift
Fight Choregrapher Nino Pilla
Captain Ahab Jay Hunter Morris
Starbuck Grant Doyle
Greenhorn James Egglestone
Queequeg Jonathan Lemalu
Stubb Byron Watson
Flask Adam Goodburn
Pip Lorina Gore
Captain Gardiner Douglas McNicol
Daggoo Andrew Turner
Tashtego Douglas McRae
Nantucket Sailor Gerard Schneider
Spanish Sailor James Scott
Awash with atmospheric and highly melodious music, high drama, and one of the most spectacular opera stagings one could see, the Pequod docked in the Adelaide Festival Theatre for only the second staging of MOBY DICK since it was first staged by The Dallas Opera at the Winspear Opera House in April of 2010.
The State Opera of South Australia having previously staged Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING in 2003, had the enterprise to co-comission Heggie to compose this opera, and co-produce the staging together with The Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera and Calgary Opera. Although Heggie is a well established opera composer, this is risk taking at the highest level, but has paid off big time for this outstanding company renowned for its risk taking – and delivering the goods.
The American classic, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, first published in 1851 is a complex romantic novel that tells the tale of a greenhorn sailor’s journey on a whaling ship, the Pequod, captained by Captain Ahab. What starts as a whaling expedition soon becomes a quest to find and kill Moby Dick a freak white whale who has previously sunk Ahab’s last ship and bitten off his leg. The crippled, peg-legged Ahab invests the whale with malign and evil intent and with the fervour of a fire and brimstone preacher, whips the crew up to aid in his mission which inevitably results in prolonged suffering, the sinking of the Pequod, the loss of all the crew save Greenhorn (Ishmael) and his own life. The tale is rich in whaling history, a sailor’s life aboard a whaling ship, and complex themes of destructive obsession, class and social status, good versus evil, the existence of God, anthropomorphism, and monomania.
The librettist and composer have wisely jettisoned the opening scenes of the book set on land and the entire action of the opera is set at sea aboard the Pequod. The narrative is highly edited retaining only the potent scenes that relate the drama and enrich the themes of the original book.
The opera opens with a prelude that immediately engages you and submerges you in one of the most evocative soundscapes of the restless sea. On a black front cloth stars appear, and lines paradoxically begin to appear between them, expanding until white lines draw the masts of the Pequod. Then they rotate and the audience is suddenly zooming down at a white outline of the Pequod. The curtain rises for the first seen between Queequeg and Greenhorn. The set consists of huge flat planked wall that fills the back of the stage, and curves steeply forward until it meets the raked stage floor. In front of this, huge masts, a myriad of ropes and rigging and gauze sails, are flown in and moved for the scenes on board the vessel, and the curved back wall is used for atmospheric projections of the sea. In one spectacular scene when Pip is lost at sea during a whaling expedition, Pip swims suspended from a wire metres above the stage against a projection of undersea water filling the set (see picture above). Following the successful capture of a whale, a portion of the back wall drops down to reveal a huge section of the whale carcass suspended against a blood red light while sections of blubber are cut off , then boiled. Together with cast climbing up the back wall then having the sea and long boats projected around them, and the death of Ahab where the ever increasing eye of Moby Dick was projected against the wall, the effects were truly magical and breathtaking. At times it seemed difficult to tell whether you were looking at a stage production or film, as the projections and video integrated seamlessly within the staging. Great stuff !!
Jay Hunter Morris was simply magnificent as Ahab in a very demanding helden tenor role. We have come to expect excellence from him following his superb performances for Opera Australia as Pinkerton in the 1990′s and as Erik in THE FLYING DUTCHMAN more recently. His initial OTELLO like appearance with ringing top notes sung over an expanded chorus set the scene for a finely judged performance both vocally and dramatically. Every nuance was extracted from his role with alternating scenes of fiery outbursts, contemplative soliloquy, crazed passion and his final descent into complete madness with a crazed look in his eye. The tall blond and youthful Texan looked unrecognisable as a much older, craggy sea salt with a peg leg. Jonathan Lemalu again singing the role of Queequeg that he created for the initial performances of MOBY DICK in Dallas, was simply awesome vocally and dramatically. He caught the mysticism of the part well and his rich, mellow bass baritone voice easily filled the theatre. As the first mate Startbuck, Adelaide born Grant Doyle – fresh from a string of major roles and triumphs at Covent Garden, Opera North and Holland Park Opera seemed a shoe-in. Starbuck is the main protagonist against Ahab, and although he sang with a fine voice and dramatic conviction, his character seemed a little bland – perhaps due to the overpowering presence of Jay Hunter Morris as Ahab. I wondered what someone like Peter Coleman-Wright would make of this role. James Egglestone and Lorina Gore were superb in their roles of Greenhorn and Pip. Egglestone presented a highly sympathetic figure with a good range of emotional depth and his fine tenor met all the demands of the part with an excellent range of expression. Lorina Gore also found a wide range of dramatic expression in her trouser role as the cabin boy ranging from cheeriness to despair following her near drowning and conversation with Captain Gardener. Singing from off stage, Douglas McNicol provided a booming resonant voice as Captain Gardiner. Stubb, Flask and the smaller roles of the other sailors were all more than adequately sung.
MOBY DICK is a large chorus opera, and we were not disappointed. The State Opera of South Australia mens chorus – expanded to 37 singers for the opera, were extremely well rehearsed and sang gloriously with vigour , precision and a rich tone . Another 15 supernumeraries as sailors added to the ships crew. The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra played the score expertly under conductor and recently appointed CEO and Artistic Director of SOSA, Timothy Sexton who conducted the opera with vigour and passion. Mr Sexton also prepared the chorus.
Overall, a stunning night of musical theatre of a truly magnificent new opera in a brilliant and cutting-edge production. The packed house which included composer Richard Mills seemed to enjoy it immensely.
While the book initially was savaged by reviewers after its initial publication, it is now a classic of American literature. This new opera by Heggie and Scheer has all the makings of being a classic of American opera.
The ABC will broadcast a recording of a live performance of the SOSA production this Sunday, 11th September at 7.00 pm – DON”T MISS IT !