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Colaneri, Delavan, Blaustein, Martin, Li and Silvestrelli in Maryland Lyric Opera's "Falstaff"

Updated: Apr 30

"In the title role, baritone Mark Delavan emphasized Sir John’s complete, uncritical, quite cheerful engagement with his own erotic and culinary appetites. His Falstaff is a fool, to be sure, but in Delavan’s reading the character fortunately lacks the grossness of some interpretations. Light on his feet, this Falstaff overflows with delight when he believes things are going his way, Delavan sometimes moving in a way reminiscent of a good Tevye doing “If I Were a Rich Man.” Bombastic when it needs to be, Delavan’s singing in the role retains a light touch fitting for a character who, his outsize ego notwithstanding, is rather fun to be around. . . . In a role that calls only for lyrical romantic sweetness, tenor Yi Li sings as sweetly as one could ask as Nannetta’s lover, Fenton. . . As Falstaff’s two clownish, and not very faithful, servants, Bardolfo and Pistola, tenor Joseph Michael Brent and bass Andrea Silvestrelli provide the requisite low comedy. Silvestrelli made a memorable vocal impression . . . Joseph Colaneri conducted the large orchestra with power, subtlety, and a fine touch for the nuances of Verdi’s score. . . Martin displays probably the most subtle and effective physical acting of any member of the cast while impressing with her vocal power and richness." – DC Theatre Arts

"Mark Delavan strutted admirably as the pompous knight, his form filled out with a fat suit. His bass-baritone thundered mightily in the tavern scenes, and he presided over the action with impeccable comic timing, if occasionally some rhythmic uncertainty. Boito fleshed out the character by adding scenes based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays, and Delavan’s interpretation was both hilarious and ultimately sympathetic. . . .

Outstanding mezzo-soprano Catherine Martin deployed her powerful bottom range as a smart-mouthed Mistress Quickly . . .

Best among the women, however, was newcomer Rachel Blaustein, who made a sensational company debut as Nannetta. The radiant young soprano, who hails from Olney and did her graduate work at the Peabody Institute, floated velvet-gloved high notes in this crucial role. She flirted innocently in the stolen moments with her lover, Fenton, and made a resplendent fairy queen in the opera’s gorgeous final scene. . .

Tenor Yi Li, an alumnus of the company’s training institute, made a charming, subtle Fenton."

Washington Classical Review

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