Thursday, March 29, 2007
Ben Heppner? Yes, please! The uber-talented tenor is currently taking on the mammoth title role of Andrea Chenier in Giordano's verismo masterpiece, and meeting the challenge head on. When he opens his mouth to sing, the world seems to stop turning and you are rapt by the fiery emotion he exhibits. He is ideally matched with Violeta Urmana, whose dark tone and stratospheric high notes aided her in stopping the show dead cold with Maddelena's Act III showpiece, "La mamma morta." Mark Delavan skillfully rounds out the group of principles as the lovestruck revolutionary Gerard, and wunderkind conducter Marco Armiliato led one of the tighest orchestras I've heard all season. The opera ends with Andrea and Maddelena standing downstage center, proclaiming "Long Live Death! Together!". The lovers may die, but my fond memories of them never will.