I Puritani at Baltimore Opera

More than meeting Bellini’s demands
Baltimore company sings ‘I Puritani’ with polish, precision and control

By Tim Smith
Sun Music Critic
November 15, 2004
Bel canto – “beautiful singing.” It’s more common to hear that term spoken of than to hear it in actual practice, which is reason enough to catch the remarkable demonstration of this venerable style being offered at the Lyric Opera House.
In its first attempt at Bellini’s I Puritani, among the most bountiful of all bel canto feasts, the Baltimore Opera Company has scored high.
Set during the English Civil War, Puritani’s plot is just a case of girl gets boy, girl loses boy, girl loses mind, girl gets boy – and mind – back. What gives the opera its lasting power is the way that Bellini treats this formulaic story with heart and soul, fulfilling his first-and-foremost dictum: “Opera must make people weep, shudder and die through singing.”
To produce such reactions requires more than just a fluency in bel canto principles – evenness of tone, agility of technique and, when appropriate, the ability to embellish a melodic line.
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Production photos courtesy of Baltimore Opera Company.
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