Wednesday, March 28, 2007
La Donna Del Lago
I rarely ever find myself going "across the plaza" for opera; in my experience, City Opera productions have almost always paled in comparison to their Met counterparts. However, when the opportunity to see one of my favorite works--Rossini's rarely produced La Donna Del Lago--came around, I jumped, and I sure am glad that I did. Nearly everything about Chas Rader-Shieber's new production works, and the energy coming off the stage at the State Theatre is palpable. Three of the four central roles are ideally cast, with the glorious Bulgarian soprano Alexandrina Pendatchanska triumphing as the title Lady of the Lake. British tenor Barry Banks, a brilliant Rossini interpreter, does incredible (and jaw-dropping) vocal acrobatics as Uberto, the King of Scotland; and in the pants role of Malcolm, La Donna's beloved, mezzo Laura Vlasak Nolen steals every scene she's in and received some of the evening's loudest applause. Only Robert McPherson as the chieftan Rodrigo was underwhelming. Still, this production is a feast for the eyes and the ears, and all opera lovers should flock to it.