Atlanta Opera’s presentation of Lucia di Lammermoor was top-notch. I am not opera savvy, but this powerful story of madness and love was effectively presented. Special kudos go to Georgia Jarman who played the title role. Not only is she a good singer, but she was convincing in the role. The blood effects were also very well done.
The ASO presented a program that included Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. II, Mozart’s Flute concerto No. 1, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. I was really tired during the performance and thus I think I became a Grinch. The conductor was last minute substitution Alexander Mickelthwate, who was the ASO’s former assistant conductor. The flute soloist was Christina Smith. Ms. Smith is very talented and played the Mozart impeccably, but I found the piece to be rather boring. The Beethoven was played quite well- I suspect the ASO members can play it while half unconscious. I found the Sibelius to be a bit odd. This composer, like other late-Romantics, could wander off into episodic themes and melodies. Usually I don’t mind it, but I thought Mickelthwate’s interpretation to lack a grand overarching approach to the music that to my ear made the symphony sound like it was lurching from one thing to another. Again, maybe I was just tired.
The ASO presented a Pops Concert. I don’t like reviewing such concerts because I generally find that playing soundtrack music, Broadway show tunes and Beatles music to be nothing short of wretched. Thin music played by a bloated ensemble. But this recent pops presentation was wonderful and harkened back to the programs of Arthur Fiedler. It included such pieces as the Flight of the Bumblebee, Jupiter from the Planets, Also Sprach Zarathustra, the 1812 Overture, a medley of Puccini’s greatest hits, among others. The only nod to Broadway was a few dances from West Side Story. This music was played with gusto by the orchestra, under Michael Krajewski’s direction. There were also some great visuals to accompany the festivities. I was happy that I went.