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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Stephen Costello: An Evening of Bel Canto Arias

    Memorial Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio
    29 October 2019

    With Anthony Manoli, pianist

    Program:
    Arias from Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Don Sebastiano, re di Portogallo, and Lucia di Lammermoor; Gounod’s Faust; Bizet’s Carmen; and Verdi’s Rigoletto
    Songs by Giordani, Durante, Pergolesi, Bononcini, and Tosti
    Irish folksongs

    Yesterday evening’s concert by tenor Stephen Costello and pianist Anthony Manoli marked the first program in the Cincinnati Opera’s new annual recital series, sponsored by Peter G. Courlas and Nicholas Tsimaras. In his introductory remarks, CO Artistic Director Evans Mirageas mentioned that such a series had been a dream of his since he first came to the Queen City 14 years ago, and the establishment of a fund for this purpose by Mr. Courlas and the late Mr. Tsimaras has now made the dream a reality. It will be exciting to see which artists will be appearing here in coming years as part of the Courlas/Tsimaras Annual Recital Series.

    Mr. Costello and his coach/accompanist kicked things off in grand style with their varied concert program. (Mr. Mirageas also explained that he’d asked them to present the sort of format one might have heard in a traditional recital program during the early/mid-20th century.) The tenor’s attractive, warm voice was heard to best effect in the intimate space of the auditorium of Memorial Hall, a 1908 building next door to the CO’s regular home, Music Hall, on Elm Street. In the arias from Don Sebastiano, Lucia di Lammermoor, Faust, and Rigoletto, he demonstrated that he’s on a par with Messrs. Brownlee, Spyres, and Flórez when it comes to delivering clear, ringing, totally secure stratospheric high notes. His account of Bononcini’s “Per la gloria d’adorarvi” made me wish yet again that the Baroque composers had written more leading roles for tenors in their operas. The Tosti songs, as well as those by Durante, Pergolesi, and the ever-popular “Caro mio ben” by Giordani, were distinguished by spotless diction and a sensitive treatment of the text, whether the subject was religious (Durante’s “Vergin, tutto amor”) or the joys and sorrows of romantic love. I (and apparently a number of others in the audience) also learned that Costello is an Irish, not an Italian, surname, and this descendant of Irish immigrants presented a charming account of four traditional folksongs from the Emerald Isle during the second part of the program. Throughout the evening, he had an engaged, supportive partner at the keyboard in Mr. Manoli, currently a member of the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York who has also accompanied Sondra Radvanovsky and Dolora Zajick, among others.

    The atmosphere was relaxed throughout the evening, with both artists wearing dark gray business suits and black crewneck sweaters. From time to time, Mr. Costello chatted with the audience – that's how we discovered he’s Irish-American – and credited Mr. Manoli, his coach for the past two-and-a-half years, for helping him attain the technique that made a recital program like last night’s possible. (I’m guessing the reference may have been to those incredible high notes.) The duo presented two encores in response to the standing ovations at the program’s conclusion: Lehár’s “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz” (perhaps a nod to Cincinnati’s German heritage) and another Italian canzone.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Memorial Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio
    29 October 2019

    With Anthony Manoli, pianist

    Program:
    Arias from Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Don Sebastiano, re di Portogallo, and Lucia di Lammermoor; Gounod’s Faust; Bizet’s Carmen; and Verdi’s Rigoletto
    Songs by Giordani, Durante, Pergolesi, Bononcini, and Tosti
    Irish folksongs

    Yesterday evening’s concert by tenor Stephen Costello and pianist Anthony Manoli marked the first program in the Cincinnati Opera’s new annual recital series, sponsored by Peter G. Courlas and Nicholas Tsimaras. In his introductory remarks, CO Artistic Director Evans Mirageas mentioned that such a series had been a dream of his since he first came to the Queen City 14 years ago, and the establishment of a fund for this purpose by Mr. Courlas and the late Mr. Tsimaras has now made the dream a reality. It will be exciting to see which artists will be appearing here in coming years as part of the Courlas/Tsimaras Annual Recital Series.

    Mr. Costello and his coach/accompanist kicked things off in grand style with their varied concert program. (Mr. Mirageas also explained that he’d asked them to present the sort of format one might have heard in a traditional recital program during the early/mid-20th century.) The tenor’s attractive, warm voice was heard to best effect in the intimate space of the auditorium of Memorial Hall, a 1908 building next door to the CO’s regular home, Music Hall, on Elm Street. In the arias from Don Sebastiano, Lucia di Lammermoor, Faust, and Rigoletto, he demonstrated that he’s on a par with Messrs. Brownlee, Spyres, and Flórez when it comes to delivering clear, ringing, totally secure stratospheric high notes. His account of Bononcini’s “Per la gloria d’adorarvi” made me wish yet again that the Baroque composers had written more leading roles for tenors in their operas. The Tosti songs, as well as those by Durante, Pergolesi, and the ever-popular “Caro mio ben” by Giordani, were distinguished by spotless diction and a sensitive treatment of the text, whether the subject was religious (Durante’s “Vergin, tutto amor”) or the joys and sorrows of romantic love. I (and apparently a number of others in the audience) also learned that Costello is an Irish, not an Italian, surname, and this descendant of Irish immigrants presented a charming account of four traditional folksongs from the Emerald Isle during the second part of the program. Throughout the evening, he had an engaged, supportive partner at the keyboard in Mr. Manoli, currently a member of the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York who has also accompanied Sondra Radvanovsky and Dolora Zajick, among others.

    The atmosphere was relaxed throughout the evening, with both artists wearing dark gray business suits and black crewneck sweaters. From time to time, Mr. Costello chatted with the audience – that's how we discovered he’s Irish-American – and credited Mr. Manoli, his coach for the past two-and-a-half years, for helping him attain the technique that made a recital program like last night’s possible. (I’m guessing the reference may have been to those incredible high notes.) The duo presented two encores in response to the standing ovations at the program’s conclusion: Lehár’s “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz” (perhaps a nod to Cincinnati’s German heritage) and another Italian canzone.
    Great write up Mary, it sounds as if it was a wonderful evening. I would love to see something like this.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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