Netrebko and Eyvazov bring an operatic feast to Arsht Center

10.29.18
Jader Bignamini
South Florida Classical Review

Visceral excitement and superb vocalism took center stage at Miami’s Arsht Center Sunday night when soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Yusif Eyvazov presented a rousing concert of opera highlights and popular Italian and Neapolitan songs. Married partners in life as well as frequent collaborators on stage, this operatic couple offered an inspired cornucopia of vocal chestnuts. The event was presented by Bisconcert.

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Conductor Jader Bignamini was the evening’s real discovery. A former assistant to Riccardo Chailly at La Scala, Bignamini brought intensity and noble phrasing to the operatic excerpts while anticipating and dovetailing the singers’ every breath and turn of phrase. Under his baton, Orchestra Miami sounded twice its size with dynamic playing from all sections. The program’s orchestral interludes were not mere fillers, as they often emerge in these type of concerts, but idiomatic vignettes played at white heat.

A strong, precise brass section dominated a crisp Hungarian March from Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust. In observance of the Leonard Bernstein centennial year, the Overture to Candide radiated high spirits, the string tone plush and flute solos precise. Bignamini is a major talent and a conductor with a promising future.

While one would have liked to hear more Verdi arias and excerpts from Russian operas, this concert was memorable on its own terms. With two major league singers in peak form and a gifted operatic conductor on the podium, the two hours seemed to fly past in a feast of great vocalism.

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