“Soprano Jill Gardner sang Suor Angelica and Santuzza. . . her middle register was strong, agile, and beautiful. It was her acting that trumped everything else. Her Suor Angelica has backbone, confronting her royal, immutable and cruel aunt, the Principessa, sung and portrayed well by Decker, without fear until her aunt’s news that her child has died breaks her.
Gardner handled the opera’s sole showstopper aria, “Senza mamma, o bimbo,” with powerful emotion, and the the opera went downhill from there in a good way: I found myself full-on crying at Angelica’s death scene and her “miracle.” . . . Crider’s Alfio was wonderful. Alfio, a proud man who revels in his status, is well aware of the shame that will follow when he discovers he’s been betrayed. He’s angry, but his quiet fury is all the more menacing. Crider’s stage presence fits the character perfectly, and his strong, deep, and rich baritone makes his a perfect verismo and Verdi voice.”