by Justin Davidson
Hello, everyone. Glad to be tending to Noise again for a little while.
Because of New York’s schedule, I have only just straggled into print with my Peter Grimes review, but the memory of Anthony Dean Griffey’s interpretation, which would be prize-worthy if opera had Oscars, remains fresh. One thing that I left unsaid in my piece about English-language opera was my wonderment at the profusion of singers who can deliver the gnarly diphthongs with clarity and nonchalance. Griffey and Patricia Racette dispatched some pretty thick-cut verbiage in Grimes. And before the New York Festival of Song’s double world premiere of John Musto’s Bastianello and William Bolcom’s Lucrezia, artistic director Steven Blier announced that while the audience had been provided with libretti of both, he hoped they wouldn’t get perused until after the performance. “We think we can deliver these comedies so you understand everything,” he said – and the effervescent ensemble of Lisa Vroman, Sasha Cooke, Paul Appleby, Patrick Mason, and Matt Boehler did just that. The excellent Cooke will sing Kitty Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic at the Met next year, by the way. That’s the role that was to have gone to the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and that Audra McDonald declined.