SONG FEST AT SUMMERLIN
By: Hal de Becker
Summerlin Library’s Performing Arts Center recently hosted the first of Sin City Opera’s three weekend presentations of ‘Opera in August’. Featured were four of the company’s leading vocalists, soprano Marcie Ley and tenors Matthew Kirchner, Jorge Ortiz and Alex Mendoza accompanied at the keyboard by Music Director Jack Gaughan.
The performance was a resounding success. The venue was filled and the rapport between artists and audience palpable from the onset.
‘Opera Innamorrata’opened the program with a segment of romantic duets sung by Ms. Ley and Mr. Kirchner. They recently participated in SCO’s acclaimed production of Menotti’s ‘The Consul’ as singer and director, respectively.
They are also a duet off stage: Mr. and Mr.s. Their performance included hints of amorous sentiment, which were never mawkish and added charm to their outstanding singing.
Among the musical theater songs the duo performed was a warm rendering of People Will Say We’re In Love from Oklahoma!
Their operatic highlights included the Libiamo duet from Verdi’s La Traviata with Ms. Ley delightfully flirtatious. In La ci darem la mano from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the versatile Mr. Kirchner, a tenor as already noted, sang the baritone role of the Don.
One of this writer’s favorite selections was the Act I love duet from Puccini’s La Boheme. The singers projected its tenderness as well as soaring melodies.
In the second half of the program Mr. Kirchner returned as part of the three tenors section and was joined by Jorge Ortiz and Alex Mendoza.
The trio’s performance was free and easy and laced with humor and a bit of dancing, too. Their repertoire was eclectic ranging from ‘Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues’ to show tunes like ‘New York, New York’ and of course opera. The latter included the tenor duet from Bizet’s ‘The Pearlfishers’ and Amor ti vieto from Giordano’s ‘Fedora’.
Mr. Kirchner’s singing was as relaxed and authentic in popular numbers as it was rightly controlled and disciplined in operatic ones. His engaging stage presence enhanced the entire performance.
For sheer beauty of sound, the tonal purity of lyric tenor Jorge Ortiz was especially impressive. His legato was smooth and sustained and, when called for, he delivered ringing passages effortlessly.
Vocally, Mr. Mendoza seemed somewhere between tenor and baritone and occasionally didn’t take high notes easily. But otherwise his voice was strong and with his good looks and pleasant personality his performance was a sunny one.
At the show’s conclusion the audience, with enthusiastic ovations, insisted on encores and the trio obliged.
SCO has two more free concerts at the same venue this month. For more info call 702-507-3863.