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Tenor Filianoti star burns brighter with ringing performance in `L'Arlesiana'

Tenor Filianoti star burns brighter with ringing performance in `L'Arlesiana'

Audience members applauded and stomped their feet, shouting `Bis!' and Giuseppe Filianoti complied with an encore. Remember his name: He's going to be a major tenor.
The 33-year-old Italian's performance as Federico in Cilea's "L'Arlesiana" at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday night showed off his ringing voice.
Slender, with bushy hair and expressive eyes, Filianoti connects with fans in a direct, emotional way. In the unstaged concert performance with the Opera Orchestra of New York, his movements were limited mainly to resting arms on music stands. But when he stands slightly hunched, hand out, palm up and slightly curled, he emotes anguish.
His voice easily soared over the orchestra, pinging at the top in a manner that's rare for tenors these days. He hasn't been hyped, making a low-key Metropolitan Opera debut in October 2005 as Edgardo in Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" and returned last May for Donizetti's "L'Eliser d'Amore."
Filianoti's rendition of Federico's lament, "E la solita storia," was moving, with beautiful arched lines that retained their color when pushed _ after 90 seconds of applause, he repeated the aria, then was applauded for another minute. If there is any fault, the transition at times to his middle register and mezzo voce could be a bit unsteady at times. He already has appeared at Covent Garden and La Scala, and he figures to quickly join the ranks of preferred tenors. This was his only U.S. performance this season.
He was joined by soprano Latonia Moore (Vivetta), mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti (Rosa Mamai) and baritones Weston Hurt (Baldassare) and Ihn-Kyu Lee (Metifio). Federico's Lament, a tenor standard, is the only part of the opera performed regularly. The rest of the music is second-rate connective tissue that leads only to more connective tissue, and the verismo story of Federico's love for a woman he met in Arles, based on a story by Alphonse Daudet, is the stuff of romance novels.
Moore also has a beautiful voice, but it lost some of its color at the very top when pushed. Cornetti has a powerful mezzo of the Dolora Zajick mold. Hurt sang sweetly as the shepherd, and Lee impressed in the short role of L'Arlesiana's lover.
Eve Queler conducted one of her more propulsive performances. There were many empty seats, a sign of the OONY's financial struggles. Thus far, the only definite concert by the company next season will be Bellini's "La Sonnambula" on Feb. 27, 2008.
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On the Net:
http://www.oony.org
http://www.giuseppefilianoti.it/