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<<  -- 3 --  Maria Nockin    EXHILARATING COMEDY

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As Mustafà's cast-off wife, Elvira, Lisanne Norman stole the hearts of the audience as she sang with a shimmering soprano that contrasted beautifully with Isabella's mezzo tones. Later, at the 'Talk Back' that followed the performance, Norman gave the audience some interesting insights into the textual and musical relationships between the Rossini work and the Mozart opera on a similar subject, which had been written 31 years earlier, Die Entführung aus dem Serail ('The Abduction from the Seraglio').

Lisanne Norman (Elvira) and Francois Loup (Mustafà) in the Arizona Opera production of 'L'Italiana in Algeri'. Photo © Tim Fuller
Lisanne Norman (Elvira) and Francois Loup (Mustafà) in the Arizona Opera production of 'L'Italiana in Algeri'. Photo © Tim Fuller

Much of the success of this performance was the result of the vitality and brisk rhythms of Cal Stewart Kellogg's conducting. He brought Rossini's one hundred and ninety-three year old music to vibrant life and drew admirably accurate playing from the orchestra. The chorus responded well and provided a sonorous background for some of the opera's most enjoyable high jinks.

Sandra Piques Eddy (Isabella) and Barry Banks (Lindoro) in the Arizona Opera production of 'L'Italiana in Algeri'. Photo © Tim Fuller
Sandra Piques Eddy (Isabella) and Barry Banks (Lindoro) in the Arizona Opera production of 'L'Italiana in Algeri'. Photo © Tim Fuller

The level of Arizona Opera's performance has improved markedly under the leadership of General and Artistic Director Joel Revzen and we can now expect to see opera as well done in Phoenix and Tucson as it is anywhere else in the country.

Copyright © 12 March 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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[1] The year 1813 was to forever change the musical scene. On 22 May, the same day as the première of L'italiana in Algeri, Richard Wagner was born. Five months later, on 10 October, Giuseppe Verdi first saw the light of day.

ARIZONA OPERA

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