This opera is seldom performed because a soprano who can and is willing to sing the vocally schizophrenic part of Abigaille, Nabucco's brutal elder but rather illegitimate daughter, is difficult to find. This work is a bel canto opus on steroids, demanding both vocal heft (to be heard over the loud chorus) and florid agility from Nabucco and Abigaille. Richard Paul Fink and Sylvie Valayre delivered their show-lifting parts with aplomb on opening night. Ms. Valayre's convincing low notes and acidic top served well to highlight her character's extreme emotional states. Her middle register remains pleasing and her soft singing during Act II invited sympathy for one of opera's most dementedly vicious roles.

Especially impressive was Mr. Fink, who replaced Zeljko Lucic as Nabucco on three weeks notice. Despite never having sung the part before, Fink came up with a commanding reading of the role on opening night. Susana Poretsky and Arthur Chen were convincing as the milder temper Fenena and Ismaele. Raymond Aceto was a vocally fine if dramatically uninvolving high priest Zaccaria. The SDO Chorus aced most of the choral numbers, while Maestro Edoardo Müller kept the show moving with adroit flexibility from the orchestra pit.

  • Concert: Verdi's Nabucco
  • Show date: February 20
  • Venue: San Diego Civic Theater
  • Seats: Balcony X3

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