“The singing hit all the technical buttons, from the rich lyricism of Mr. Brownlee’s legato to the nimble precision of Ms. Claycomb’s coloratura and the thrilling speed of Ms. DiDonato’s signature trills. But what shone through most clearly was concentrated emotion of insistent, immediate relevance.
Ms. DiDonato’s riveting performance as Romeo opposite Ms. Claycomb’s Juliet of a scene from Bellini’s “I Capuleti e I Montecchi” felt as if layer upon layer of craft and technique had turned transparent: What the audience witnessed was not an artful reading of Bellini’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s take on youthful love but the feeling itself of hotheaded, never-mind-the-consequences passion.
In “Prendi, per me sei libero,” from “L’Elisir,” he and Ms. Claycomb were vocally alluring but dramatically cautious. Nothing was held back, however, in the encore, “À la faveur de cette nuit obscure,” from Rossini’s “Le Comte Ory,” which brought all three singers together in a fast, fun and saucy threesome.
In Bellini’s “Eccomi in lieta vesta,” the warm and noble sound of Jennifer Montone’s horn partnered beautifully with that of Ms. Claycomb’s soprano. “
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