David Lomelí (Rodolfo) in La Bohème, Santa Fe Opera, 2011 (photo by Ken Howard)
As heard last night, under a menacing, dark-clouded, and lightning-streaked sky, the cast was, with a few exceptions, excellent. David Lomelí's Rodolfo made the biggest splash, in his Santa Fe debut: a winner of the 2006 Operalia Competition, the Mexican tenor sang with heroic poise, with seemingly boundless energy and control, and is definitely a singer to watch. The only limitations were visual, in that he was a little stiff on stage, his hands often in his pockets, but he came across as an innocent, slightly lumpy romantic. Matching him was the refined Marcello of former Santa Fe apprentice Corey McHern, less so the dramatically easy, if slightly silly and not vocally weighty Schaunard of Keith Phares. Numbered also among the revelations was the robust, rich Colline of Christian Van Horn. With each performance of this opera, Colline's Act IV coat aria, Vecchia zimarra, is becoming my favorite moment in the score, and Van Horn's stalwart tone and powerful low notes certainly continued that trend. In fact, Van Horn was squandered a bit in this opera, when he could have been cast as Méphistophélès in Faust.
(L to R) David Lomelí (Rodolfo), Markus Beam (Schaunard), Thomas Hammons (Benoit), Christian Van Horn (Colline), and Corey McKern (Marcello) in La Bohème, Santa Fe Opera, 2011 (photo by Ken Howard)
Sarah Bryan Miller, Somebody should feed 'La Boheme' director some downers (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 9)
Lawrence A. Johnson, Gleaming vocalism from two leads makes for a powerful “Boheme” in Santa Fe (The Classical Review, August 3)
John Stege, Passionless in Paris (Santa Fe Reporter, July 13)
Warwick Thompson, DiDonato Elopes to Vegas, Rages Against Arts Cuts: Interview (Bloomberg News, July 11)
James M. Keller, In SFO's 'La bohème,' Ana María Martínez in full bloom as Mimi (Santa Fe New Mexican, July 3)
The lovely mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was in the house last night, to see the Santa Fe Opera conducting debut of her husband, Leonardo Vordoni. The couple met here in Santa Fe, during that memorable Laurent Pelly production of Massenet's Cendrillon in 2006, in a whirlwind romance. Vordoni may be a good conductor, but you could not tell it from this performance, which was a bit of a jumble, the sense of ensemble discombobulation more pronounced perhaps by comparison to the refined and precise version by Lorin Maazel heard earlier this summer at the Castleton Festival. Singers, both soloists and chorus, veered off regularly in their own directions, and the orchestra that had sounded so confident the night before, under Frédéric Chaslin, seemed tentative and a bit off-kilter. Without some incisive ideas from the podium about the score, singers made many of the decisions, making the end of the Act III duet, for example, drag out to an exasperating degree.