Conductor Stephen Mould has selected a variety of arias, duets and choruses that demonstrate the range of Verdi’s music, have enormous audience appeal, and also showcase the talents of the singers and musicians.
Verdi Spectacular shows you don’t have to have lavish sets and extravagant costumes for music and song to have an emotional and lasting effect.
The concert began with an overture that displays the ASO’s skill and Verdi’s dexterity, and it was a delight to see Mould give a whole-of-body experience to the music.
After a brilliant opening number, Giséle Blanchard, as Violetta from La Traviata, gave a spellbinding performance of Sempre Libera, followed by Mario Bellanova who, as Iago, sang Credo from Otello. It was most impressive how both singers, without the usual trimmings and settings, were able to focus, immerse themselves in dramatic moments and radiate pure joy and enormous power in their performances.
More wonderful solos followed from Bradley Daley and Elizabeth Campbell, with songs from Rigoletto and Il Trovatore.
Mould also delivered informative commentary about Verdi’s operas with their convoluted plots, diversity, drama, comedy, and immense passion and feeling. It was interesting to hear of some of the background of the “murky world of politics?” (do we not learn from history?) in Verdi’s life and his desire to unite Italy.
There cannot be a State Opera concert without the chorus, and in this production they gave a magnificent rendition of the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore.
The first half finished with a rousing version of Brindisi, the drinking song from La Traviata, and the second half began with the orchestra flying straight into Ecco l’orrido campo with gusto. They were soon joined by soprano Teresa La Rocca, who captivated the audience with the quality of her voice and presence.
The audience was treated to a duet from Macbetto, by Bradley Daley as Macduff, and Norbert Hohl as Malcolm, who resolutely galvanised the English Army, convincingly portrayed by the chorus. Jeremy Tatchell, who had sung with Bradley Davey in a moving duet from Don Carlos, returned to sing sincerely and effectively Rodrigo’s Morte de Rodrigo.
The audience left exhilarated, having experienced some of the world’s most marvellous music, performed by a cast of talented opera singers and musicians. Verdi’s Spectacular began on a high note and it kept soaring throughout the night.
The final performance of the Verdi Spectacular will be at Adelaide Town Hall tonight.