Beatrice di Tenda

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Photograph: Erin Baiano
Angela Meade with the Collegiate Chorale

In his short life, Italian bel canto master Vincenzo Bellini wrote plenty of operas that have stood the test of time, among them Norma, I puritani, La sonnambula and I Capuleti e i Montecchi. The bastard stepchild among his works is Beatrice di Tenda (1833)—underappreciated, underrecorded, underperformed. The Collegiate Chorale will remedy that condition this week with a rare New York concert airing at Carnegie Hall—as it happens, the site of the work’s last major local performance, which starred Joan Sutherland (in her New York debut) and Marilyn Horne in 1961.

Set in 16th-century Italy, Beatrice di Tenda tells the poignant tale of the beleaguered wife of the duke of Milan, sentenced by her husband to execution on a trumped-up adultery charge. With the American Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Bagwell, the night will provide a showcase for four rising young singers. Angela Meade, seen as Elvira in the recent Met telecast of Verdi’s Ernani, will lend her strong lirico spinto soprano and imposing presence to the title role.

Michael Spyres, who has struck major sparks at Caramoor and at Bard College’s Summerscape Festival, sings the tenor lead, Orombello, and bass-baritone Nicholas Pallesen, seen as a Met National Council finalist in the documentary The Audition, will be the pitiless duke. And as Agnese, Beatrice’s lady-in-waiting, a new star may be born in mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who wowed the crowd with her thrillingly expressive guest turn at this year’s Richard Tucker Gala.—Eric Myers

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