Teatro di San Carlo's Mozart and Bel Canto Gala featured works by Wolfgang A. Mozart, Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Vincenzo Bellini. The star-studded cast included Nadine Sierra, Pretty Yende, Maria Agresta, Francesco Demuro, and Ildar Abdrazakov. They were beautifully accompanied by the orchestra and choir of Teatro di San Carlo and were directed by Giacomo Sagripanti and Gea Garatti Ansini.


By Diana Amati

To begin the program, the orchestra of Teatro di San Carlo gave a beautiful performance of the overture from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. It was immediately apparent that this was going to be a very special musical performance from the minute the orchestra began playing their first note.

Maestro Giacomo Sagripanti brought out enthusiastic vigor from the orchestra yet also the delicate sweetness that Mozart’s overture deserves. The full range and use of dynamics was ever present and allowed the audience the unique ability to hear this overture for the first time in a new and exciting way, even if they had heard it countless other times in the past. What a wonderful mastery of communicating emotion through music without needing the use of words.

The second selection also featured Mozart, the duettino, “La ci darem la mano” from Don Giovanni. Ildar Abdrazakov’s voice filled the house with refined strength, immediately drawing the audience in and had them yearning for more. He set up the scene beautifully for Nadine Sierra whose voice elegantly soared and was well-matched with Abdrazakov.

Pretty Yende’s, “Una voce poco fa” from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia was particularly stunning, prominently showcasing her skill and prowess in the bel canto repertoire. She perfected her coloratura runs with exact precision which made such a difficult aria seem effortless.

Francesco Demuro was a highlight of the evening; his voice was smooth and supple, yet had the brightness and strength to carry over the robust orchestra in Donizetti’s, “Ah! Mes amis, quel jour de fete” from La Fille du régiment. He has the kind of voice that opera purists crave when they want to hear bel canto; it was refreshing to witness such passion for technique and Italian tradition.

One of the most special moments of the evening was Nadine Sierra and Pretty Yende’s duettino, “Canzonetta sull’aria” from Act III of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. The unique depth and color of Yende’s voice matched beautifully with Nadine’s sparkling and shimmering hig