Troupe in fine voice for Verdi
January 17, 2009
A large audience at Merrill Auditorium was transported to sultry ancient Egypt on Thursday, one of the coldest nights of the year, courtesy of PCA Great Performances and Teatro Lirico d’Europa. The traveling opera company has brought many excellent and fully staged performances to Portland over the years. Their “Aida … was no exception. Mezzo-soprano Tatyana Kaminskaya, who sang the role of Amneris, Pharaoh’s jealous daughter became its most powerful and interesting figure, dramatically and vocally. Olga Chernisheva was equally at home in the title role of a woman caught between her love of country (Ethiopia) and the military leader of the Egyptians, Radames, sung by tenor Rumen Doikov. Baritone Marian Jovanovsky made a strong Amonasro, King of Ethiopia and Aida’s father. All of the voices were distinctive enough to combine well in Verdi’s famous duets and trios. Although the principal voices were first-rate, most striking about the production were its ancillary features – the live orchestra conducted by Krassimir Topolov the lovely and graceful corps de ballet, which substituted for a phalanx of priests, the distinctive costumes, and a monumental set design that did quadruple duty through all four acts. The small male and female choruses, which Verdi makes as important to the action as those in Greek tragedy, demonstrated once again that power does not reside in numbers.”