René Barbera and Eglise Gutiérrez, La Sonnambula, Washington Concert Opera, 2012 (photo courtesy of Washington Concert Opera)
Sadly, it was not a good afternoon for Eglise Gutiérrez in the title role, with many of the same issues noted of her performance this past July at Caramoor. There were intonation problems and a swallowed, perilous hold on the high pianissimo notes, although the outdoor acoustic at Caramoor made that sound worse than at Lisner. More disturbingly, the top of Gutiérrez's voice was giving out by the end of the first cabaletta and she struggled with it throughout the performance. The audible torment of the role was doubly sad because, as noted in my preview, it was not created for a voice that went quite that high. The rest of the lead cast was more successful, starting with the lovely sound, heroic high notes, and musical suavity of tenor René Barbera as Elvino -- a nasal, frontally placed voice but one that was beautiful and solid all around.
Anne Midgette, WCO’s ‘La Sonnambula’ is live and wide awake (Washington Post, September 18)