ARIZONA OPERA STUDIO CONCERT at Home Computer Screens

New Singers Join Arizona Opera’s Arion Roose Pullin Young Artist Program.

On October 5, 2020, I listened to Arizona Opera’s Studio Spotlight Series online concert held in the newly named the Shoshana B. and Robert S. Tancer Plaza adjoining the company’s building on Central Avenue in Phoenix. General Director Joseph Spector greeted the tiny audience of donors and the much larger online assemblage with remembrances of the company’s former general director, Joel Revzen, and a video about the late chair of the Arizona Opera Board of Directors, Robert Tancer. Only the speaker was unmasked.

Red and white flowers on either side of a light bar marked the stage area as soprano Caitlin Gotimer, in an afternoon-length dark dress, strode in front of the audience to sing the “Jewel Song” from Gounod’s Faust with pianist Robert Bosworth. Gotimer would have spent this past summer singing at the Glimmerglass Festival in northern New York had it not been for the pandemic. She showed her character’s surprise at seeing the casket of jewels and as she sang “ce nest plus toi” “that is no longer you” her expression showed distinct pleasure in seeing a bracelet grace her arm. She sang with clear coloratura that included a fine trill at the beginning.

Wearing pants to indicate she was singing a masculine part. Mezzo-soprano Michaela Wolz sang “Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio” (“I leave, but you my love”) from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (“The Clemency of Titus”). In this difficult aria, Wolz brought out her character’s emotional state and finished her presentation with fast flourishes of coloratura. Baritone Rob McGinness offered the aria “Vi tak Pechalny” (“You are so sad”) from Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, and his resonant voice glinted with golden tones.

Caitlin Gotimer returned with “Tu che di gel sei cinta” (“You who are entwined with ice”) from Puccini’s Turandot. Here, Turandot, the ice queen, needs to learn her suitor’s name or marry him, which she thinks is a fate worse than death. It’s big role for a big voice and Gotimer just might grow into that. She sang with a steady, overtone-embellished sound.

Michaela Wolz returned with Samuel Barber’s gorgeous aria “Must the Winter Come So Soon” from his opera, Vanessa. Perhaps anyone who has lived in a cold climate can feel the chill of those words. The mezzo brought color and expression to this poignant work.

Baritones seldom get the girl in opera but Sergeant Belcore, proud soldier that he is, thinks Adina is bound to fall for a man in a well-fitted military uniform. Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore is no different and Nemorino, the tenor, gets the girl. Rob McGinness created the giddy Belcore right before our eyes.

Soprano Cheyanne Cos and tenor Terrence Chin-Loy then provided the finale of the concert with the last scene from L’elisir. Cos sang with clear tones and Chin-Loy had a wonderfully Italianate sound. Cos as Adina and Chin-Loy as Nemorino stood facing front as they sang their love duet. Probably they were not allowed to face each other for pandemic reasons. I wondered why the camera could not have shot close-ups of each in turn. It could have made the viewer think they were as close as lovers would normally be. In any case, all the singing in this recital was delightful and I’m happy to know that that this presentation is now available for viewing 24 hours a day on Arizona Opera’s new video channel, Arizona Opera OnDemand. It may be found by visiting
ondemand.azopera.org.

Photo of Caitlin Gotimer courtesy of Arizona Opera

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Maria Nockin

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