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Quotidian 'Folle Journée' in Charm City

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Charles T. Downey, ‘Marriage of Figaro’ is a dull affair
Washington Post, March 12, 2012

available at Amazon
Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro, V. Gens, P. Ciofi, A. Kirchschlager, S. Keenlyside, Concerto Köln, R. Jacobs
Grand opera returned to Baltimore last fall, with the Lyric Opera’s first production of a new season. The formula for that production was revisited in the company’s latest staging in the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric, Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” seen Sunday afternoon. By cutting a few corners and keeping the production decidedly traditional, this was not so much the “crazy day” of the play’s subtitle but a rather ordinary day.

There was confident singing at the top of the cast, including the full-bodied, slightly edgy Countess of Caitlyn Lynch and an athletic, witty but rhythmically uneven Figaro from Daniel Mobbs. Soprano Janinah Burnett’s Susanna was visually and dramatically pleasing but marred by less than felicitous intonation, while baritone Marian Pop looked the part of the Count but was often overwhelmed by the orchestra or other singers. Those further down the cast list distinguished themselves more by stage presence or comic timing than singing. [Continue reading]
Mozart, Marriage of Figaro
Lyric Opera Baltimore
Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric

FYI, a letter from a reader about this review was published in the Sunday Arts section on March 25. I am generally glad to receive replies and thoughts about what I have written, and that was certainly also the case here. Most of the the reader's points, I think, were actually mentioned in the review: this is a regional company in its first season, the cast was young but they moved and acted well (a few were discussed by name), the set and costumes were traditional. The difference comes in the fact that the reader thinks that the company deserves encouragement for its efforts. Of course, I want Baltimore to have grand opera, but it would be of service to no one to whitewash the results in a review. It is the job of the company itself to make its productions as good as possible, and it is the job of their PR folks to promote them.

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