On to the arias

And so to the aria competition.  Twenty four singers in three sessions are competing for twelve places in the semifinals.  It’s piano for the first round but after that it’s the Maison Symphonique and the OSM.  As with the art song competition I’ve tried to keep my session reports free of hindsight.  This one was written between the afternoon and evening sessions last night.  It will be followed by a report on yesterday evening and tomorrow should see the post on the third session and the judges decisions.

First up in afternoon was Canadian mezzo Carolyn Sproule.  She kicked off with Strauss’ Wie du warst!, followed it up with Printemps qui commence from Samson et Delila and finished up with Ah! Quando all’ara scorgemi from Maria Stuarda.  It was all pretty good.  She’s a genuine mezzo with power enough and she got more dramatic as the set went on.  I thought it was maybe a little under-characterised but compared to much of what came later it was positively thespian.

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Red blooded Otello

I’m never quite sure what I think about large scale outdoor opera performances but the Macerata Opera festival’s 2016 production of Verdi’s Otello staged in the Arena Sferisterio comes over rather well on video.  It’s a complete contrast with the Salzburg production I reviewed a few days ago.  This is large scale “red in tooth and claw” Verdi.  There is none of the subtlety of the Salzburg performances but it is spectacular and quite exciting.

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