Il trovatore

reviewed by Hugh Canning in The Sunday Times

Chelsea Opera Group does valiant work promoting rarely staged operas, but it can also prove its mettle, astonishingly, in once popular pieces such as Verdi’s Il trovatore. Casting difficulties have dogged this fire-and-brimstone masterpiece in recent decades, but COG mostly does it full justice, thanks to Andrew Greenwood’s pacing of the score and the best playing I’ve heard from the mostly amateur orchestra. Perhaps the chorus could do with a bit of rejuvenation in the Anvil Chorus, but the soloists were fine.

Marianne Cornetti, a big-voiced American who has sung Amneris at Covent Garden, was the audience’s favourite for her barnstorming style, tempered, admittedly, with some delicacy in Ai nostri monti. After overcoming initial nerves, the Leonora of the South African soprano Sally Silver was my pick: she has a smaller voice than traditional exponents of the role, but she tackles Verdi’s runs, trills and turns with astounding delicacy and sings in long phrases with dramatic involvement. It’s almost a crime such a singer is so little used by our mainstream companies.

Copyright © 2016 Hugh Canning

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