Plácido Domingo and Kristin Chenoweth at the WNO Golden Gala, March 19, 2006
Tenor Greg Warren, now in his second season with the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, portrayed Nemorino in “Caro elisir . . . Esulti pur la Barbara,” from Donizetti's L’elisir d’amore (on last year's season), with a confidence that allowed the audience to trust him musically and dramatically. Former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist soprano JiYoung Lee (heard this season in La Fille du Régiment) portrayed Adina with flair, yet sometimes lacked a beautiful legato.
Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop (recently Fricka in the second cast of WNO’s Die Walküre) and soprano Paoletta Marrocu (recently Lady Macbeth in the WNO’s Macbeth) joined forces in “Mira, o Norma,” from Bellini's Norma. In just an excerpt, with voices making the walls ring, a full dramatic experience was offered by the pair living their roles instead playing them. It was a pleasure to hear Marrocu – as Adalgisa – expressively using portamento as a means of musical expression instead of just a technical necessity.
Tim Page, The Cat's Meow: WNO Has Strathmore Purring (Washington Post, June 2)
[Anonymous] Younger talents soar with Domingo (Washington Times, June 2)
To cap off an enjoyable evening, the Brindisi from La traviata was cleverly programmed. The toast directed at the hostess was in this case directed to the Music Center at Strathmore. In his remarks to the audience before this final selection, Maestro Domingo mentioned how happy he was with the hall and stated his intention to certainly bring the WNO back after this first visit. By the end of the selection, all of the singers had entered the stage and Domingo cued the audience to sing along during the Tutti sections about taking today’s pleasure into a new day. After generous applause, Domingo insisted that Concertmaster Oleg Rylatko exit the stage before all twelve singers, and then himself escorted the principal violist. What a charmer!
To close out the Washington National Opera's 2006-07 season, the final performance of Macbeth was on Saturday night (June 2, 7 pm). A report on the company's annual Opera Ball is forthcoming.