Teatro Regio Torino’s Rossini rocks the house at Carnegie Hall
Call it the “Italian Invasion,” if you like.
Gianandrea and the Teatro Regio di Torino have been making waves at previous stops on their North American concert tour of Rossini’s William Tell. When they finally arrived at Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon, they did not disappoint.
Noseda’s direction of the masterful overture was splendid, right from the warm crooning of the cellos at the start. The dynamic control that Noseda displayed was impressive, bringing in the violins on eggshells and stirring them finally into a turbulent frenzy. The familiar gallop, taken at a comfortable pace, was bright, crisp, and energetic.
That was pretty much the order of the evening, as far as orchestral playing. Rossini’s brilliant score was played with constant brio, its energy never interrupted, even when the audience broke in for roaring ovations. Noseda spent almost the entire concert bouncing on the balls of his feet. The orchestra’s playing, likewise, was buoyant, and full of life. The opera also features some of Rossini’s most beautiful choral writing, made even better by the chorus of the Teatro Regio, who sounded world-beating.
The cast assembled for this performance was superb from top to bottom, with rich, colorful voices even among the comprimarii. As the titular folk hero, Luca Salsi sang with a robust, earthy baritone that still had plenty of give. His tearful Act III aria, “Resta immobile” (the opera was presented in Calisto Bassi’s Italian translation of the French original) in which Tell prepares his son Jemmy for the fateful archery trick-shot, was sung with tender but intense passion. This was just one of several arias that received ecstatic cheers.
It seems these days that anywhere you look, you will find Angela Meade singing a major role, and with good reason: possessed of a velveteen voice and charismatic presence, she is one of the most exciting young sopranos active in the United States. On Sunday, her top voice sounded ever so slightly wide as she sang the role of Matilde, but her tone was full and consistent, and her soft singing was spun as fine as silk in her Act II aria, “Selva opaca.” She set a different tone in her fiery “Pel nostro amore” in the next act, showing off glittering coloratura.
If there was a first among equals on Sunday, it was the tenor John Osborn as Matilde’s love, Arnoldo. His voice was absolutely golden, always shining, and never showing the slightest blemish, even on his glorious, ringing top notes. He brought down the house in Act IV with, “O muto asil del pianto,” bringing gripping passion to an aria that flows through every corner of his range. On the high C in the cadenza he executed an absolutely astonishing hairpin.
Two basses stood out among the already outstanding supporting cast. Fabrizio Beggi’s thundering voice made him an imposing presence as Melchtal, Arnoldo’s father, and Marco Spotti brought a deep, richly spiced tone and patriotic fervor to the role of the rebel leader Gaultiero. A sweet-voiced Marina Bucciarelli made a strong impression as Jemmy, and Gabriele Sagona did not let a snarling portrayal of the tyrannical governor Gessler get in the way of his oaky sound. Anna Maria Chiuri as Edwige, Mikeldi Atxalandabaso as Ruodi, Saverio Fiore as Rodolfo, and Paolo Maria Orecchia as Leutoldo, all gave commendable performances to round out the cast.
The Torino tour concludes in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, where concertgoers are in for a treat. The recent news that Noseda will renew his contract with the Teatro Regio after a public battle with its general manager only adds to the celebratory feel—happy endings all around.