Gustavo López Manzitti and Cristina Nassif, I Pagliacci, Virginia Opera, 2007, photo by Anne Peterson
B. J. Atkinson, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other (Portfolio Weekly, March 20)
-- "It’s time to put the show [Cav] on the shelf…stick it up there with Norma and A Masked Ball." [Is Norma really on the shelf?--Ed.]
T. L. Ponick, Tales of carnage among the knaves (Washington Times, March 23)
Daniel Neman, Murder, lust, envy make for splendid opera (Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 24)
Mark J. Estren, Still Great, but 'Cav/Pag' Need Time Apart (Washington Post, April 2)
Gustavo López Manzitti sang both demanding tenor roles of the evening, something that a much better singer, Salvatore Licitra, recently did at the Met. Manzitti sounded strained but had all the notes for both roles, although his high range was veiled, all inwardly focused (see what I mean in these video excerpts) and his acting style was strangely stilted. Lorna Haywood's staging set both operas in the same Sicilian village -- sugary sets by Ron Keller with the look of a Kinkade cityscape -- in the 1940s. (Yes, that was Mamma Lucia and Santuzza with Turiddu's baby in the crowds of I Pagliacci.) The crowd scenes were a bit, well, overcrowded, making for choreography that consisted mostly of standing around and gesturing, but the chorus sounded effective, if not remotely Italian. While this production is not exactly excellent, the ticket prices are well below what you would pay at larger companies, for a mostly enjoyable evening.