Symphony’s all-opera program sells out the house in
By Frank Merkling
NEWS-TIMES ARTS CRITIC
RIDGEFIELD — It was a grand night for singing — virile
music, balmy air, a full moon.
And a full house Saturday at Ridgefield High School, where Sidney Rothstein and the
Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra had put together an evening called “Viva Verdi!” made up of
chronological excerpts from operas by that composer and Richard Wagner.
There was a laudable effort to give equal play to soloists, chorus and orchestra, and
to program more than a popular aria or duet.
Thus Heather Thomson and Perry Price, Danbury’s husband-and-wife team of soprano and
tenor, were heard in enough of Act I of “La Traviata” to give a sense of the plot and
enough of “Un Ballo in Maschera” to encompass Amelia’s misgivings plus her final
confession of love.
In the former, the Connecticut Master Chorale performed with euphonious unison.
Thomson, Price and the orchestra realized the climax of the latter with a passion equally
made up of melody, harmony and timbres.
Tina Johns Heidrich conducted her singers rousingly in the Anvil Chorus from “Il
Trovatore.” Rothstein led his orchestra with notable subtlety and shape in the “La Forza
del Destino” overture.
Although the printed program listed the Wagner excerpts last, Rothstein decided to end
“Viva Verdi!” with Verdi — the prelude and triumphal scene from”Aida.”
Certainly this is the grandest scene in grand opera, and both the violin section and
trumpeter John Charles Thomas deserved their solo bows.
But it did seem anticlimactic after the forging scene from Wagner’s “Siegfried,” sung
heroically by Price, and most of the immolation scene from “Gotterdammerung,” the sublime
capstone to the four “Ring” operas and a Thomson specialty.
This soprano is living proof that good training and the careful building of a career