Opera’s Best Gems, a part of the Brott Festival Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
On Thursday evening the Brott Music Festival presented some of the best loved overtures, choruses, duets and arias from operas by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Bizet. Unfortunately; nightmare traffic in Hamilton many patrons including this reviewer, were late arriving and we missed some lovely music, including my personal favourite – Mozart’s Queen of the Night from Die Zauberflote. On this occasion the N. A. O. was augmented by the Arcady Singers, Opera Hamilton Chorus and the Buchanan Park Opera Club plus soloists Aline Kutan, soprano and baritone James Westman. pictured below- James Westman
It is gratifying to see that the Opera Hamilton Chorus still exists (even though Opera Hamilton itself is gone), demonstrating the deep love of operatic music that lives on in Hamilton.
Aline Kutan was in fine voice, she has power and range and quite naturally managed that often difficult distinction between performing an opera with full costume & sets and offering unforgettable arias in concert without the props. Many singers look a little lost doing that, but Kutan managed very well. The ‘Un Bel Di’ from Madame Butterfly was glorious.
James Westman did the audience the courtesy of appearing in full tails – something rarely seen these days – and they suited him well. His voice is rich and powerful and his diction is extremely clear without seeming forced. He sang the Leporello’s Catalogue song early on and later the duets from La Boheme, Rigoletto and La Traviata with Kutan. He was very comfortable expressing himself dramatically and really brought us into that moment in each opera.
The joint choruses sang the final chorus from Die Zauberflote, the Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly, Il Trovatore’s Anvil Chorus AND Va Pensiero from Nabucco. Brott had the audience singing along too – while he pounded the anvil. As an encore- in response to a prolonged standing ovation, the 2 soloists reprised ‘La ci darem la mano’…perfect ending to the concert.


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