The Opera Orchestra of New York’s Rienzi

I went to see the Opera Orchestra of New York’s concert performance of Rienzi and I wrote about it for Bachtrack:

Early works by major composers can be
fascinating. We try to see in them premonitions of the greatness to
come, or hope they will cast light on a more familiar later work. The
Opera Orchestra of New York’s concert presentation of Rienzi, Richard Wagner’s third opera, was fairly useless in this regard: most of Rienzi
sounds nothing like mature Wagner. But it justifies itself on its own
merits, a grand opera of impressive effect and achievement. This scrappy
but exciting performance sometimes rose to the occasion.

You can read the full review here. I put in a fair amount of background because a) this is an unusual piece and I think it helps to know where it’s coming from and b) the program didn’t provide a single bit of notes, not even a synopsis. Other than the work itself the discovery of the afternoon was mezzo Géraldine Chauvet. She sounded a little overparted and strained at a few of the climaxes but it was a super performance. As Irene Elisabete Matos walked the line between old style divatude and a parody of old style divatude, often not quite having the voice to back up her bravado. Ian Storey had a rough time of it as Rienzi, no better than his gargled Énée of a year ago. But I’m glad I went!

I am very busy at work currently and probably won’t make it to many live performances in February, but I hope to have some other things to write about.

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  1. And very thoughtfully given background it is, too, thanks! I learned things (and it's always fun to compare.) Glad you got a picture of the Wardrobe situation.

  2. I was there too, and completely agree with your comments on the three principle singers. But there is a huge choral presence in this opera and the choruses were magnificent. The effect of the antiphonal brass was also stunning. I"m very glad I spent the day driving in from NH to hear this music live.

  3. RIENZI , my beloved Opera !
    The 3 Singers was OK !
    Elisabete Matos was great , Jan Story maybe in a wrong evening but ok ….but Géraldine Chauvet in my opinion was the best one : maybe a little overparted but GORGEOUS ! It was her first time in US and I have to say : I was there , I attended to her first performance in US – a very gifted artist , I wish to listen her soon at the MET – for sure I will be in WASHINGTON in May , where Chauvet will play FENENA in NABUCCO ….anyway , now I wanna see her on Stage ! Thanks also to Miss Eve Queler : I love her for bringing this RIENZI again at the OONY and of course I love her for the astonishing Career she does , giving to us hundreds wonderfull Productions ! Thanks Miss Queler …. everybody love you !!!