Note: My review of Knoxville Opera’s I Puritani and the UTOT production of Albert Herring will appear in the April 14th issue of METRO PULSE.
With unabashed hopes for a warm and dry spring weekend, Knoxville Opera’s Rossini Festival comes a bit early this year, filling the Gay Street theatres with opera from April 8th to the 11th, and filling several square blocks of Downtown with the wildly popular opera-themed Italian Street Fair on Saturday, the 9th. This year’s productions include KO’s production of Bellini’s I Puritani at the Tennessee Theatre, while the UT Opera Theatre offers Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring at the Bijou.
Soprano Rachele Gilmore, who electrified a Knoxville audience with a sensational Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor last season, returns for yet another mad scene as Elvira in I Puritani. (Opera News readers will recall that Ms. Gilmore was the subject of a “Sound Bites” profile in the November 2010 issue of that magazine.) The cast of I Puritani will also include Yeghishe Manucharyan as Arturo; Nelson Martínez (also seen in last season’s Lucia as Lord Ashton) as Riccardo; and Daniel Mobbs as Giorgio. The stage director will be James Marvel. Brian Salesky is the music director and conductor.
In my review of last season’s Lucia in METRO PULSE, I offered that “Gilmore has what sopranos dream of: clear-as-a-bell, seemingly effortless high notes, and vocal flexibility with power throughout her range. Her size and voice seemed perfect for her fragile and haunted Lucia…” Although Bellini places tremendous demands on his singers, word has it that this will be another triumph for the soprano.
Pictured below–the Knoxville Opera Rossini Festival Italian Street Fair last spring. Come hungry and thirsty. Outdoor stages feature a wide range of operatic and non-operatic performances.
Knoxville Opera Rossini Festival Schedule
- Bellini’s I Puritani: Friday, April 8, 8 p.m and Sunday, April 10, 2:30 p.m. – Tennessee Theatre, 604 S. Gay Street – knoxvilleopera.com
- Britten’s Albert Herring: Saturday, April 9, 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.; Monday, April 11, 7:30 p.m. – Bijou Theatre, 803 S. Gay Street – UT Opera Theatre
- Italian Street Fair: Saturday, April 9, 11 am to 9 pm on Downtown’s Gay Street and Market Square