As Il Fauno, Glenn Seven Allen showed a vocal presence and stage liveliness that suggested use in big-house character roles—Mime, perhaps? And with a vibrant, ample Italianate sound the L’Ondino, Michael Chioldi, gave us a touch not so much of De Luca as of, perhaps, Carlo Tagliabue. Haven’t heard a lot of that lately.
New York needs a second fully professional, fully resourced company with some sense of its identity—if not this one, then through some other effort. The Campana collaboration suggests one possible future route, and one area of repertory worthy of attention. Performances of this quality of, for instance, L’amore dei tre re, L’Arlesiana, the Leoncavallo Bohème, any of several Mascagni pieces, or of early Verdi (I due Foscari?) could add some real value both here and in Italy. Casting is always the stumbling-block, but by drawing on both pools of talent and exercising some disciplined judgement, a way might be found.
So this was encouraging. On the other hand, a glance at the NYCO’s Board of Directors entry in the program lists a total of eight names. How the heck’s that supposed to work? That leads me to the topic of my next post, on Sept. 15:
☛ MONEY! ☚ Money and opera, of course. Sorry, ladies and gents, it’s a sad topic, but it has to be talked about at least once, and a couple of recent books provide the pretext.
P.S. 1: ERRATUM: In my last post, I mistakenly referred to the baritone who stepped in for Thomas Hampson in La Traviata last March 1 (and did well) as Nelson Rodríguez. His name is Nelson Martínez. A simple failure to doublecheck. My apologies to my readers, and especially to Mr. Martínez.
P.S. 2: Confession of possible predisposition in favor of La campana sommersa: As a child in wartime Denver, I several times visited in summers the lodgelike home of my great-uncle and -aunt up in the Rockies near Evergreen, an area less developed and more remote of access than it is now. The spot was called Granite Glen, along Bear Creek and surrounded by lofty pines. I loved it there, for its peace and isolation and high-mountain fragrance, and felt bereft when the family moved East. Many years later, I had the luck to return to Granite Glen. It had been inherited by a cousin of mine named Winston, who had turned the house and property into an astonishing museum of . . . (drumroll) bells. Winston was in fact way up in the world of international bell-collecting, and here, on glass shelves, in display cases and vitrines and out on the pine-needle carpeting sloping down to the creek, were hundreds of bells, many of great beauty and of all sizes and uses, from tiny, delicate Tibetan monks’ bells to a locomotive clanger from the Durango narrow-gauge railway. Bells high on the mountain, their ringing latent in the air in this wistfully remembered place! Granite Glen surfaced more than once for me as Respighi’s music played.