Il Piccolo Marat
Thu Apr 9 2009
Photograph: Courtesy of Pinnacle Arts Management
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5
Avery Fisher Hall (at Lincoln Center); Mon 13
Teatro Grattacielo, named for the Italian word for "skyscraper," has big aspirations and usually fulfills them. Under guiding spirit Duane Printz, each year the company presents a lesser-known work of verismo opera, the gutsy, "red sauce" style that dominated Italian (and world) stages from 1890 until World War II. This year the company celebrates its 15th anniversary in style with the North American premiere of Pietro Mascagni's Il Piccolo Marat. First staged at Rome in 1921, this was the last-initiated project by the composer of the volcanic Cavalleria Rusticana, the hauntingly lyrical L'Amico Fritz and a dozen other generally forgotten works. Set during the Reign of Terror, the opera's story features secret identities, escape plots, an attempted mass drowning and a lead bass character called "the Ogre." What's not to like?
Two decades ago, the Met almost staged Il Piccolo Marat for Plcido Domingo, Mirella Freni and Nicolai Ghiaurov. Grattacielo's stars—Richard Crawley, Paula Delligatti and Brian Jauhiainen—don't command that level of recognition, but all three artists have appeared with New York City Opera and at major European venues. Two other upcoming young American talents, mezzo Elizabeth Batton and baritone Andrew Oakden, complete the principal cast, with seven other soloists taking small roles. Music director David Wroe's large orchestral forces will be joined by a chorus of more than 100 voices.—David Shengold
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