by Paula Citron
Opera in Concert
Composed by George Frideric Handel
Conducted by Kevin Mallon
Directed by Virginia Reh
Starring Lynne McMurtry, Marcel van Neer, Shannon Mercer, Scott Belluz and Jenny Cohen
At the Jane Mallett Theatre.
Opera in Concert’s relationship with the crack baroque ensemble Aradia is artistic heaven. When it comes to early music, conductor Kevin Mallon is a shrewd judge of tempi and dramatic structure, and OIC’s concert of Handel’s Tamerlano was right up there with the best. Mallon and his players made the music breathe life and intensity.
The biggest surprise was soprano Shannon Mercer as Asteria. She is a very fine singer, but in this role she showed such brilliant acting skills and breath control in the way she used her voice, that she upgraded for me to great singer. Impressive mezzo-soprano Lynne McMurtry as Tamerlano continues to rivet the audience with her robust voice and dramatic flair. Tenor Marcel van Neer as Bajazet was clearly under the weather, but that did not dim the burnished beauty of his compelling voice.
Promising newcomers countertenor Scott Belluz as Andronico and mezzo-soprano Jenny Cohen as Irene held their own against the starry cast.