Review: Spotlight is on S.F. Opera music director Kim in

San Francisco Opera Conductor Eun Sunshine Kim acknowledges an ovation all through “Eun Sun Kim Conducts Verdi” at War Memorial Opera Property on Thursday, June 30. Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

They say opera is all about the singing. (It isn’t accurate, but they say it anyway.) In that circumstance, how need to we have an understanding of an operatic application in which the conductor is the star and the vocalists are additional or much less the accompanists?

The San Francisco Opera place on these kinds of a exhibit on Thursday, June 30, at the War Memorial Opera Residence. The when-only efficiency — which joined productions of “Don Giovanni” and “Dream of the Pink Chamber” to make up the company’s a little bit foreshortened summer months season — was billed as “Eun Solar Kim Conducts Verdi,” as a result placing the highlight where by it belonged.

Like Esa-Pekka Salonen throughout the road at San Francisco Symphony, Kim took up her place as music director just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic to stomp all around any original designs. As a result, the exuberant getting-to-know-you honeymoon period has experienced to move forward in fits and begins.

Etienne Dupuis sings during “Eun Sunshine Kim Conducts Verdi” at War Memorial Opera Household on Thursday, June 30. Picture: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

So Thursday’s software (which was also reside-streamed on the company’s web page) furnished a welcome option to listen to Kim in action in this key corner of the operatic repertoire. And even in a comparatively small sampling — the two-hour application showcased excerpts from a few Verdi operas — the news was completely heartening.

In songs from “Luisa Miller,” “Il Trovatore” and “Don Carlo,” Kim made a brisk, robust template that nevertheless still left home for tenderness and expressive adaptability. Melodic phrases identified home to breathe devoid of pulling the effectiveness absent from its rhythmic tutorial rails.

In his spoken remarks in between the alternatives, General Director Matthew Shilvock designed significantly of the stylistic arc of Verdi’s job, continuing from the early, fairly regular strains of “Luisa Miller” by way of the progressively inventive and responsive psychological lexicon of “Don Carlo.” But in real truth, Kim found an apt spectacular and musical path as a result of all these works with equal finesse.

San Francisco Opera’s Eun Sun Kim conducts as Nicole Car sings in the course of “Eun Sunlight Kim Conducts Verdi” on Thursday, June 30. Photograph: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

Local audiences will gain from this in seasons to arrive considering the fact that Kim designs to present 1 Verdi opera each and every period for the foreseeable potential — as perfectly as an annual supplying by Wagner, the other wonderful figure of 19th century opera. Thursday’s plan, in other words, amounted to a promissory note for more expansive pleasures nonetheless to occur.

The present-day proceedings were being curtailed, regrettably, by tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz’s previous-minute withdrawal soon after an interior ear infection prevented him from traveling. That remaining soprano Nicole Motor vehicle and her partner, baritone Etienne Dupuis — two stars of the company’s “Don Giovanni” — to carry most of the vocal assignments.

They did that most alluringly during the second 50 %, in a pair of arias from “Don Carlo.” In Rodrigo’s farewell aria, “O Carlo, ascolta,” Dupuis blended outstanding breath control with a wealthy expressive radiance. Car’s crystalline tone and sustained phrases created Elizabeth’s “Tu che le vanità” a glorious showpiece.

Conductor Eun Sunlight Kim and the San Francisco Opera Refrain through “Eun Sunshine Kim Conducts Verdi” at War Memorial Opera Household on Thursday, June 30. Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

The Opera Refrain, singing splendidly under its new director, John Keene, brought vigor and pressure to the “Anvil Chorus” from “Trovatore,” and smaller sized vocal contributions ended up properly handled by bass Soloman Howard and soprano Mikayla Sager.

Nonetheless probably the most oddly unforgettable phase of the evening was purely orchestral. “Don Carlo” features a extensive, alternatively pointless ballet sequence, almost generally omitted, for which Verdi composed a string of spectacular tunes. We never ever get to listen to this new music, and listed here have been Kim and the Opera Orchestra supplying it a superb diploma of tonal muscle and stylistic assortment. It was a reminder of just how deep Verdi’s genius ran, and how much more there is here to find.



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