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Lucia di Lammermoor Caps a Bel Canto Season

Helen Corning Warden Theater of the Academy of Vocal Arts
05/02/2009 -  & May 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, & 16
Gaetano Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Christopher Bolduc (Enrico), Colleen Daly (Lucia), Michael Fabiano (Edgardo),Taylor Stayton (Arturo), Ben Wager (Raimondo), Nina Yoshida Nelsen (Alisa), Noah Van Niel (Normanno)
Christofer Macatsoris (conductor)
Joshua Major (stage director), Peter Harrison (set designer), Val Starr (costume/wig designer)

M. Fabiano & C. Daly (© Paul Sirochman)

The Academy of Vocal Arts’ season-long Donizetti survey is culminating in a traditional production of Lucia di Lammermoor. In contrast to David Gately’s wild-west version of Don Pasquale, Joshua Major is taking a more conventional approach. Exploiting Peter Harrison’s gloomy, expressionistic settings, Major concentrates on the characters and their conflicts. He employs no visual gimmicks and adds no directorial distortions to his production. Costume designer Val Starr puts the men in kilts and the women in handsome period costumes. Music director Christofer Macatsoris also takes a traditional approach that features interpolated high notes and standard cuts. Like the director, Macatsoris charges Donizetti’s music with keen drama. Exploiting the dark tinta of the music, Macatsoris shapes intent accompaniments and summons intense playing from the orchestra.

The conductor urges the youthful cast to pour out their voices with unstinting urgency. To the title role, Colleen Daly brings a keen-edged soprano that gains brilliance the higher it soars. Daly caps the arias and ensembles with thrilling, full-voiced high D and E flat. She sings the florid music forthrightly if without ultimate vocal polish – the trills are inconsistent and some of the passagework lacks clarity – but she ends her performance with a heartfelt and affecting account of the Mad Scene. As Edgardo, Michael Fabiano sings forcefully and vibrantly. He brings a ringing tone and urgent manner to the first-act duet with Lucia and hurls out the second-act curse in heroic attack. Fabiano molds “Fra poco a me ricovero” firmly and sings vibrantly, if without enough nuance, in “Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali.”

Christopher Bolduc’s lithe baritone is acquiring a darker, fuller tone. He sings Enrico’s first-act cavatina with authority. Although he pushes his baritone to its limits, he never blusters in the duet with Lucia. Bolduc joins his voice with Fabiano’s in a powerful account of the Wolf’s Crag duet. The two voices ring out impressively in the marziale conclusion. To Raimondo, Ben Wager brings an attractive presence and a sonorous bass voice. He sings sensitively, although his voice tends to thin out in its lower reaches. Tenors Taylor Stayton (Arturo) and Noah Van Niel (Normanno) add distinction to the performance which also features the firm-voiced Alisa of Nina Yoshida Nelsen.

Robert Baxter



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