From the Desk of Artistic Director Jonathan Pell

by Megan Meister

Last night’s COSI was a pleasant surprise with some excellent singing.

I say it was a surprise because it started off with a frenetic (and noisy) staging of the overture, which usually sends a signal that I am in for a long, tedious night, but once the action began, the audience and IĀ  enjoyed a relatively conventional, traditional period production.

The night belonged to the two sopranos.

Rachel Willis Sorensen, who has spent the last two years being “groomed” in the Houston Opera Studio, was an excellent “Fiordiligi” but Jennifer Aylmer, the “Despina” nearly stole the show.

Beautifully sung, charmingly characterized and with exemplary English diction, it begs the question as to why she’s not singing everywhere?

Ably abettedĀ  by mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis from Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Center Young Artists Program, baritone Liam Bonner, another Houston Studio alum, and UNT graduate and Dallas Opera Guild winner tenor David Portillo, it was an extremely well matched quartet of lovers.

The production was nicely conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni and well paced by director Michael Shell.

It was a lovely way to end my visit to Saint Louis!

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