Monday, October 15, 2007

La Forza Matinee

La Forza del Destino by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piave after "Don Alvaro, o La Fuerza del sino" by Angel de Saavedra
Sunday, October 14, 2007 by The Baltimore Opera Company @ The Lyric Opera House, Baltimore, MD

Giovanna Casolla: soprano (Leonora)
Antonello Palombi: tenor (Don Alvaro)
Ned Barth: baritone (Don Carlo)
Daniel Lewis Williams: bass (Padre Guardiano)
Alexander Savtchenko: bass (Marquis)
Jessie Raven: mezzo-soprano (Preziosilla)

By the time intermission rolls around, Leonora has already taken up residence in a cave by a monastery to live out her remaining days as a hermit. With the expectation that no living soul will ever see her again she is provided with a bell to ring when the time comes for her last rites. Her fate only gets worse after intermission.

The story for La Forza del Destino is so improbable, contrived and tragic that it practically takes on comical dimensions. With a complete lack of character development it was easy be amused by the unrealistic depths of their suffering.

While the story is a mess, the music is another story. Antonello Palombi is an outstanding tenor and the scenes featuring Jessie Raven as the fortune-teller featured some intriguing arrangements. The wandering Pilgrims on stage singing hymns added a nice spatial element to the sound as well as some delicious homophonic textures that rippled throughout the orchestral material from the pit.

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