George Frideric Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Alice Busch Opera Theater
Cooperstown NY until Aug. 24
Glimmerglass director Robin Guarino has been clever in staging the string of arias in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto. For example, when Cleopatra taunts her brother Tolomeo, she plays a game of Russian roulette. Conductor David Stern, however, could be crisper in delivery.
With so many mezzo-sopranos and countertenors, each one has to be different. Young Canadian mezzo Lucia Cervoni as Cornelia is tall and statuesque with a distinctive musky voice on the darker side. Soprano Lyubov Petrova is sensational as Cleopatra on all counts, while mezzo Laura Vlasak Nolen as Caesar gives a stunning performance. Tiny French mezzo Aurhelia Varak produces a fierce vocal attack as Sesto. Countertenor Gerald Thompson as Tolomeo is an exciting singer. Jonathan Lasch as Atilla has an attractive baby baritone, while countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as Nireno shows clarity of sound.
All four Glimmerglass productions share John Conklin’s Globe Theatre-inspired set, and it is a triumph of design.
Glimmerglass Opera continues in Cooperstown NY until Aug. 24.