Reviewed by Paula Citron.
The Opera in Concert performance of Bellini’s I Puritani was a disappointment. It failed to pass the bel canto goose bump test.
Soprano Kristin Mueller-Heaslip is a chirper, and although she has a pretty voice, precise coloratura, and acting skills, her Elvira lacked spinto bite. She was seriously miscast, and her mad scene failed to excite the crowd. Mezzo-soprano Eugenia Dermentzis as Enrichetta showed a crusty, woofy delivery.
Better was Mexican-American tenor Edgar Ernesto Ramírez as Arturo. He certainly made the difficult money notes, but his sound is somewhat bland. Baritone Justine Welsh as Riccardo displayed a beautifully rounded tone, while baritone Bruce Kelly’s smooth delivery as Giorgio showed the pro he is. In fact, the only thrill was the Welsh/Kelly duet “Suoni la tromba”.
Music director Michael Rose certainly understood bel canto tempi, but seemed unable to bring everything together. The best part of the concert was Robert Cooper’s Opera in Concert Chorus who performed with even tone and consummate discipline.
Opera in Concert
Composed by Vincenzo Bellini
Conducted by Michael Rose
Starring Kristin Mueller-Heaslip, Edgar Ernesto Ramírez, Justine Welsh, Bruce Kelly and Eugenia Dermentzis
Jane Mallett Theatre, Mar. 28, 2010