I got to attend the second performance of Bel Canto, Lyric Opera’s first world premiere production in over a decade. There has been a lot of hype surrounding the opera, especially around composer Jimmy Lopez’s music, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. His music was fitting for the intense drama (and it was very intense – there were many theatrical gunshots during the opera) and showcased his Peruvian musical roots as well. The most outstanding piece of music would have to be Carmen’s aria to Santa Rosa in Act 2, I believe. It was the highlight of the show, an exhibition of the beautiful work Lopez has created for this opera.
If you are in Chicago and have the opportunity to see the new opera, go! It is highly relevant to today’s society, especially with various terrorist attacks happening around the world, and additionally, it is pretty cool to watch a world premiere production. Sir Andrew Davis conducts the orchestra brilliantly, as usual, and the lead soprano, Danielle de Niese fits her role of American soprano Roxane Cox very well. Her voice has depth and power, and de Niese brought personality to the “diva” role as well. There are some parts of the storyline that seem a bit far-fetched, but it’s opera – what do you expect? All that matters is that the music is good, and that the main theme – music has the power to unite us all – strongly comes out in this production.