From: Craig Russell
Date: October 26, 2007 2:19:30 PM PDT
Subject: Wow and wow again!
I just wanted to pass along my congratulations and kudos to you and PRO for an amazing performance last weekend. I went expecting to enjoy it, but I had no idea that it was going to be so fabulously strong and wonderful in every aspect. Really, you and all involved can be proud of a stupendous artistic success.
Renato was as good a performer as I've heard; fantastic voice, commanding stage presence, a musician in the deepest sense. That is Met quality. Wow. And he is not the only great performer that night; the entire cast was first-rate. Any major metropolitan center would be proud to have a production of that quality. Again, first rate.
Your conductor was stellar. The acting and staging was quite convincing. Goodness, if I start the list of things that were notable and aesthetically on the mark, I will spend my weekend writing my praises. (I don't have that much time. Sorry.)
I'll just have to summarize. The Verdi was a wonderful evening and, in opinion, has raised the bar yet again for the professional accomplishment(s) of PRO. We are luck to have the opportunity to hear that quality in our town. Wow.
Oh. One last thing. It was affordable! I really pushed this opera with my students, both in Music Appreciation and in Music of the Late Classic and Romantic Eras. I saw MANY of my students in the audience. They actually came. That is indeed important. Many concerts let the ticket price ascend to the "market" level, and as a result, the concert is attended by people with the median age of 50. Your opera performance, however, had a good number of students in the audience, all dressed up in tuxedos, fine suites, and elegant dresses. It was a delight to see my students all in their noble attire, attending a fabulous event. They could afford it. And they came. Again, that deserves enormous praise--and let the generous donors know that their support made it possible for our your adults at Cal Poly to become "infected" with that wonderful illness that we get when we fall in love with opera. I deeply appreciate that you made the ticket price affordable to students. THANK YOU.
And of course, thank you for a glorious triumph of a performance. I was lucky to have been there to witness it. Thanks.
Thanks to all at PRO, from top to bottom, from left to right, and through and through. Thanks.