Monday evening was the performance of Teatro Grattacielo's I Gioielli Della Madonna (The Jewels of the Madonna) the 1911 opera by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. The venue, the Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, a first for Teatro Grattacielo, was a perfect showcase for the complex work, with the huge choruses located in the boxes on three floors surrounding the stage.
David Wroe, an enormously talented conductor, took hold of the huge forces, which included a chorus of children (playing kazoos!), the brilliant soloists, a mandolin-and-guitar choir, and of course a large symphonic orchestra, bringing out from it a cornucopia of color, sound, balance and dramatic feeling. There are times when Wroe is so involved in the communication with his orchestra and performers that I feel it is an essential part for the audience to see as well! That is why his concert opera performances are so successful: he is the mainspring, not just the metronome.
I thought Anthony Tommasini's review this morning was splendid; not only enthusiastic, but perceptive, compact, and generous. I cannot believe (although it must be automatic) that the Times linked the word "Madonna" in the title to -- Madonna!