reviewed by Paula Citron
Opera’s Greatest Hits
Roy Thomson Hall
Conducted by Roberto Paternostro
Starring Susan Neves, Sarah Jane McMahon, Elena Bocharova, Bruno Ribeiro, Nikola Mijailovic, David Pomeroy (with narrator Rick Phillips)
At Roy Thomson Hall Dec. 31
Roy Thomson Hall’s New Year’s Eve concert Bravissimo! Opera’s Greatest Hits certainly had its good moments.
Canadian tenor David Pomeroy was a last minute replacement, fresh from stepping into the Met’s The Tales of Hoffmann to save the day there. He is blessed with a rich, ringing, Verdi/Puccini voice.
The women were stronger than the men. American Sarah Jane McMahon is the quintessential lyric soprano with a bell like quality to her beautiful voice. While French dramatic soprano Susan Neves did just fine in Puccini, I’m bitterly disappointed that she didn’t sing her early Verdi specialty. Statuesque, smoky-voiced Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Bocharova is a strong talent.
The jury is still out on thin-voiced Portuguese tenor Bruno Ribeiro who sounded both good and bad. Serbian baritone Nikola Mijailovic suffered from wild pitch.
Viennese conductor Roberto Paternostro was a bit slow in the slow tempi, but he did find nuance and depth in the outpouring of the music. The pick-up Opera Canada Orchestra was surprisingly excellent.