Eric Owens (Porgy) and Morenike Fadayomi (Bess), Washington National Opera (photo by Karin Cooper)
Homegrown soprano Alyson Cambridge was one of the standout singers, especially in a gorgeous rendition of Summertime. The chorus and all comprimario roles were filled by local talent. This opera demands across-the-board typecasting, and while the roles were all filled with excellent actors who fit the bill, many, unfortunately, lacked singing prowess. The insatiable Sportin’ Life was portrayed by Jermaine Smith, who often made up for a less than substantial voice with dancing and over-the-top mannerisms. Maria, sung by Gwendolyn Brown, was a joy to watch as a particularly strong presence and character, but also a weak voice. A notable exception was Eric Owens as the steadfast Porgy, with a velvet voice that soared over the orchestra. Particularly moving was the duet Bess, You Is My Woman Now with Morenike Fadayomi as Bess. Owens and Fadayomi blended beautifully, both vocally and emotionally. Fadayomi also shone, but was, unfortunately, often overpowered by conductor John Mauceri’s orchestra. In fact, the general balance between singers and orchestra was frequently off, made worse by a weak chorus and thick orchestration.
Anne Midgette, National Opera's 'Porgy and Bess' (Washington Post, March 22)
---, Alyson Cambridge returns home for Washington National Opera's 'Porgy and Bess' (Washington Post, March 19)
Emily Cary, Washington National Opera marks 75th anniversary of 'Porgy and Bess' (Washington Examiner, March 16)
Porgy and Bess continues through April 3, with tickets to four recently added performances now also on sale.