OPERA NEWS - Verdi Duets
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Verdi Duets


In Review Loft Opera hdl 1015
Mezzo Karolina Pilou and tenor Dominick Rodriguez in LoftOpera's presentation of Verdi scenes
© Allison Stock

ON SEPTEMBER 25 and 26, LoftOpera—the Brooklyn-based opera company that presents opera and art song in contexts outside of the mainstream—presented an evening of duets from Verdi operas in The Muse, an art space that once was a warehouse, in the Bushwick neighborhood. The program featured four excellent young singers of promise. With minimal stage pieces, no formal costumes and the solid piano accompaniment of Sean Kelly in lieu of an instrumental ensemble, the emphasis was placed fully on the cast. 

Following a piano rendition of the overture to Rigoletto, Suzanne Vinnik and Joshua Jeremiah offered a first-rate performance of the segment of Act II of La Traviata in which Germont persuades Violetta to break with Alfredo. Both artists sang beautifully, although Jeremiah’s portrayal was a little too vigorous and virile for the older, more dignified Germont.

The Act I, Scene 2 vignette from Luisa Miller, in which Rudolfo explains to Duchess Federica why he will not propose to her, was not as successful. Both mezzo-soprano Karolina Pilou and tenor Dominick Rodriguez seemed a bit tenuous, and were not as engaged in the drama as one would like.

Vinnik and Jeremiah returned in a passionate, compelling performance of the duet from Act IV of Il Trovatore, in which Leonora offers herself in marriage to Count di Luna in exchange for his sparing the life and freedom of Manrico. Jeremiah’s energetic stage presence here beautifully portrayed the arrogant, triumphant Count, while Vinnik won the empathy of the audience with her depiction of a woman making an extreme sacrifice for her true love.

The climax of the evening was achieved in the opening duet of Act IV of Aida. Pilou was magnificent as Amneris who attempts to win Radames’ love and save his life. Rodriguez gave a great portrayal of a defiant Radames, who remains stalwartly loyal to the fugitive Aida. Both singers fully embraced their characters and the scene.

As a finale, each singer was presented with a bottle of beer before the full cast broke in to a congenial rendition of the “Libiamo” from La Traviata. It made a fitting end to a lovely evening of Verdi. —Arlo McKinnon 

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