UPDATE 2/15/10: My METRO PULSE review of the KOC production of Lucia di Lammermoor with Rachele Gilmore, Dinyar Vania, and Nelson Martinez can be found here.
If anyone was unsure whether or not they wanted to see and hear soprano Rachele Gilmore as Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Knoxville Opera Company in February, I suggest a complete re-evaluation of your priorities.
Although it is being bandied about sensationally, Gilmore stepped into the role of Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann at the Met on December 23rd on short notice for the indisposed Kathleen Kim and delivered…delivered chilling E-flats, Fs, and Gs on the way to an incredible A-flat. Any Met audience members whose heart sank when hearing Ms. Kim was not performing the role were more than compensated by Gilmore and her marvelous step-in performance. Whether it is the highest note ever sung at the Met is irrelevant. Gilmore is the real thing. The YouTube video of the performance is phenomenally impressive.
In what could be the biggest bargain of 2010, Knoxville Opera is offering a free concert in Oak Ridge on Sunday, January 24th, featuring Ms. Gilmore in selections from Lucia di Lammermoor, The Tales of Hoffmann, and The Daughter of the Regiment. The concert will also feature selections from Knoxville Opera’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance (March 12,14). Performing will be principal artists from the production, including tenor Carroll Freeman (artistic director of UT Opera), soprano Rachel Anne Moore, and baritone Jesse Stock. The venue for the concert is the Oak Ridge High School Performing Arts Center; the concert is at 3 pm.