The mostly strong cast manages, nonetheless, to bring life to the stage, starting with the remarkable Polish contralto Ewa Podles, in the trouser role of Malcolm and without whom, we probably wouldn’t be seeing this opera. Podles dominated the stage Saturday night, and her considerable experience in trouser roles paid off. Using body language and the occasional gesture, she made a convincing male character, and her two big arias were carried off in spectacular fashion. Her remarkably resonant chest voice filled the hall with low notes that she never had to grab for, and her coloratura flights were embroidered in glittering fashion. Her first-act duet with O’Flynn was pure magic, with impeccable intonation from both.

September 24, 2006

by Michael Anthony