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AZ Musicfest Presents Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci

03.13.17
Robert Moody
Opera Today

The dramatic strength that Stage Director Michael Scarola drew from his Pagliacci cast was absolutely amazing. He gave us a sizzling rendition of the libretto, pointing out every bit of foreshadowing built into the plot.  Although the original story may have been French, the libretto as acted out in Scottsdale was as hot as the Calabrian sun.  Felix Mendelssohn visited Italy on a tour of the continent that lasted from 1829 to 1831 At that time he wrote, “This is Italy! ... and I am loving it.” Later, he wrote his sister Fanny saying, “The Italian symphony is making great progress. It will be the jolliest piece I have ever done, especially the last movement.”   
Listening to Robert Moody and the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra play that second movement could bring tears to the coldest eyes. The following Con Moto Moderato is again in A Major but the final movement, marked Presto, is in A Minor and it gives the conductor license to drive his orchestra as fast as possible. With an excellent orchestra containing the first chairs of many other orchestras, Maestro Moody played it Prestissimo and it brought down the house.
 The dramatic strength that Scarola drew from his Pagliacci cast was absolutely amazing. He gave us a sizzling rendition of the libretto, pointing out every bit of foreshadowing built into the plot. Although the original story may have been French, the libretto as acted out in Scottsdale was as hot as the Calabrian sun.  Although no costumer was credited, the cast wore clothing from the second half of the twentieth century. 
Smooth voiced baritone Alexey Lavrov played Nedda's lover, Silvio, a stable young man with a job in the town. The fact that he was not a member of the touring circus attracted Canio' wife, but she knew she and Silvio could never settle down safely in a town where Canio could find them. Her marriage vows would be not only her death sentence, but his as well. This was one of the most thrilling renditions of Pagliacci I have ever seen.

Read the rest of the review here