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Summer Opera: Vanessa

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Holly Bartges, Vanessa (Colorado Backstage)
Let me just say that I love Barber's music, and Vanessa is one of the classics of American opera in the 20th century, a work that should be performed every season somewhere in the United States, by federal law. Another summer opera destination (Opera in the Summer 2005, June 2) where Ionarts did not put in an appearance was Central City Opera, in Colorado, which is wrapping up a production of Vanessa (July 2 to August 7) that I am sorry to have missed. Critic Kyle MacMillan was there to review the production (Central City gives "Vanessa" its due, July 7) for the Denver Post:
The company has assembled a well-matched cast of first-rate singers who also prove wonderful actors. With her big, gleaming soprano, Central City regular Emily Pulley turns in a bravura performance as Vanessa. She easily handles the role's many technical demands, including the flitting, high passages Barber uses to suggest Vanessa's anxiety in Act 1. At the same time, she conveys the character's impenetrability and pain.

Equally impressive is Leah Wool, with her expressive, wonderfully flexible mezzo-soprano voice. She seems attuned in appearance and every other way to the complicated character of Erika, poignantly capturing the niece's vulnerability, confusion and despair. Tenor Theodore Chletsos holds his own as Anatol, but more memorable among the male principals is bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi. He turns in a delightful performance as the doctor, making the most of the character's humorous aria during the Act 2 ball scene.
Hooray for Patrick Carfizzi! As I have mentioned before, he is having an extraordinary career for a young singer.

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