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It was these two experienced performers, together with conductor Karen Keltner, who carried the weight of the performance. Keltner has led many different kinds of opera at San Diego including a number of contemporary works. Here she was in her element with a large responsive orchestra that gave vibrant and tonally vivid life to this broadly conceived score.

Franz Hawlata in the title role of 'Wozzeck' in front of a video designed by Dustin O'Neil. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard
Franz Hawlata in the title role of 'Wozzeck' in front of a video designed by Dustin O'Neil. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard

Chris Merritt was a somewhat squally Captain who acted his part with gusto, while Dean Peterson sang the Doctor with a more pleasant tone. Both of them gave fine characterizations of their rather unsavory roles. The Drum Major was a perfect role for strikingly built tenor Jay Hunter Morris whose equally robust voice was a lustrous gem in this generally atonal piece. Susana Poretsky was a conniving Margret who sang with rich tones.

Franz Hawlata as Wozzeck and  Nina Warren as Marie in the San Diego Opera production of 'Wozzeck'. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard
Franz Hawlata as Wozzeck and Nina Warren as Marie in the San Diego Opera production of 'Wozzeck'. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard

There was a moving interchange of vocally unexpressed emotion between Wozzeck, Marie and Kayla Stults, who projected innocence and vulnerability as The Child. Joel Sorenson was a spirited Andres while Scott Sikon and Daniel Hoy were energetic Journeymen. As always, the San Diego Opera Chorus directed by Timothy Todd Simmons sang with thrust and rhythmic vitality.

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Copyright © 13 May 2007 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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