Make us your home page
Instagram

Review: POPera! is a grab bag of crossover opera hits

Soprano Micaela Oeste performs during the Florida Opera Festival’s “POPera!” show.

Photo by Will Staples

Soprano Micaela Oeste performs during the Florida Opera Festival’s “POPera!” show.

TAMPA — Opera has always loved its crossover concerts. For galas and other occasions, it's common to have singers troop on and off the stage to perform a bit of everything, from the Seguidilla from Carmen to The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha, with a few orchestral pieces thrown in.

Thus it was on a rainy Thursday night for "POPera!," the latest installment of the Florida Opera Festival, with artistic director Daniel Lipton on the podium in Ferguson Hall of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

These sorts of programs tend to be a grab bag — Mozart here, Verdi there, plus a sampling of Broadway musicals — and the disjointed quality can be irksome. But Lipton brought in four interesting singers, and it was a pleasure to hear the Opera Tampa Orchestra, a pick-up group that included many players from the Florida Orchestra.

I think listeners like to choose favorites at these affairs, and mine was Julie Boulianne, a mezzo soprano of impressive versatility — shining in both the high vocal display of Rossini's heroine in La Cenerentola and the purity of Cherubino's heartfelt aria Voi che sapete from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro — and puckish tomboy charm. However, her earthbound rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone, the uplifting anthem from Carousel, landed with a thud.

Baritone James Westman was the most actorly singer, broadly gesturing during numbers such as Germont's aria from La Traviata. He and soprano Micaela Oeste gave a cute performance of the Papagena/Papageno duet from The Magic Flute. Oeste, a willowy blond in black gown and jewels, supplied the glamour of the evening with a more operatic than musical theater version of I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady.

In general, the ensemble numbers were most enjoyable, including a sublime trio (Oeste, Boulianne and Westerman) from Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte and the Flower Duet (and British Airways theme) from Lakme by Oeste and Boulianne.

Bruce Sledge was the go-to guy for Puccini, singing a pair of signature arias, the ever-stirring Nessun Dorma from Turandot and Rodolfo's Che gelida manina from La Boheme, in which the tenor showed off an easy high C. Sledge and Westman teamed on the matey duet by Rodolfo and Marcello (the baritone will play the painter in Opera Tampa's La Boheme in March), with concertmaster Nancy Chang ending the scene with a romantic little solo.

The concert wound up on a familiar note, but the listless performance of the Act 3 quartet from Rigoletto made for a less than glorious encore.

John Fleming can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8716.

.if you go

POPera!

Program repeats at 2 p.m. today and Sunday at

Ferguson Hall of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa. $34.50-$84.50. (813) 229-7827 or toll-free 1-800-955-1045; operatampa.org.

Review: POPera! is a grab bag of crossover opera hits 02/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 7:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Interview: Steve Martin, Martin Short bringing 'best version' of their show back to St. Petersburg

    Stage

    Hot celebrity-spotting tip: Stop by the Salvador Dalí Museum on Jan. 19. You might catch a glimpse of Steve Martin.

    Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short will bring “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life” to the Mahaffey Theater on Jan. 19.
  2. Seminole Heights restaurants face struggles amid killings, post-Irma

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The neighborhood's hip circle of popular, well-regarded restaurants is feeling the squeeze in the wake of a recent killing spree. And the timing is rough.

    Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe has been taking precautions in light of the Seminole Heights killings: keeping the lights on all night and having employees walk to their cars in groups.
  3. Josbite goes all out, gets results with annual musical, 'The Threepenny Opera'

    Stage

    TAMPA — As the house lights dimmed for the second act, burglars and pickpockets, prostitutes and scam artists weaved between the little tables of the Jaeb Theater, warning customers they'd best wind down their talking and silence their phones. This was done with a wink but the point was made. This is elitism …

    Miscreants in Jobsite Theater's The Threepenny Opera, which runs through Nov. 12, include (from left) Amy E. Gray, Jonathan Harrison, Giselle Muise, Chris Jackson, Fo'i Meleah, and Derrick Phillips. Courtesy of Jobsite Theater.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 24

    Events

    On Your Feet: The Broadway musical follows the true story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan's journey as Cuban immigrants coming to America to becoming pop-crossover sensation Miami Sound Machine. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $45 and up. (813) …

    Alma Cuervo (far left), an Academy of the Holy Names graduate, stars in the upcoming production of "On Your Feet" at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday (Oct. 24). Also pictured, Claudia Yanez (as Rebecca), Christie Prades (as Gloria) and Nancy Ticotin (as Gloria Fajardo). Photo by Matthew Murphy
  5. Hip-hop artist looks to deliver music, monologues with one-woman show

    Stage

    Tampa hip-hop artist and actress Dynasty takes her career into a new direction Saturday at Stageworks Theatre with her first one-woman show: A Star in Life's Clothing : Life. Love. Language. Lyrics.

    Hip-hop artist and actress Dynasty will present a one-woman show Saturday (Oct. 28) at Stageworks Theatre. Photo courtesy of @JoeyClayStudio.