The Opera Tattler: PBO’s Theodora

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Julie-roset-2022-david-noles* Notes * 
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale opened the brand new season with Händel’s Theodora final night time at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. There was a lot lovely singing about fruit and lack there of, although not from the good soprano Julie Roset (pictured, {photograph} by David Noles) within the title function.

Maestro Richard Egarr has loads of power and the overture was fast however not rushed. The orchestra was not fairly as buoyant or jaunty as earlier than Egarr’s tenure, however sounded beautiful all through the efficiency. Likewise, the brand new chorale director Valérie Sainte-Agathe appears to have a great deal with (pun meant) on the choruses of this piece and the singers behind the orchestra sounded robust and collectively.

The principals had been uniformly positive. Bass-baritone Dashon Burton began us off on a grand footing as Valens, the President of Antioch. His voice could be very wealthy and fairly, and his clear traces had been great for this music. His air “Racks, gibbets, sword, and hearth” in Act I, Scene 1 was highly effective and his “Stop, ye slaves, your fruitless pray’r” in Act III was equally stable. It was a pleasure to listen to tenor Thomas Cooley because the Roman soldier Septimius, his candy, beautifully-controlled tones had been notably good for “Dread the fruits of Christian folly” in Act I. Mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston was a clear-voiced Irene, the Christian buddy of Theodora. She has a powerful and constant alveolar trill (rolled R for you non-linguists).

I used to be so blissful to listen to former Adler countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Theodora’s love curiosity and Roman officer Didymus. His sound could be very open and he has some unbelievable coloratura, he held his personal in duets with Ms. Roset. As Theodora, Roset was splendid, and her French accent didn’t detract from her readability of tone and easy sparkle. Each notice she sang was superbly coloured.

* Tattling *
It was amusing how animated Maestro Egarr was, he hopped off his bench to conduct and even did two jumps throughout the refrain “Venus, laughing from the skies.”

This system for the efficiency was minimal, only one folded sheet, however since there weren’t supertitles, there was a printed libretto on 5 pages. Sadly this did make for lots of web page turning noise.

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