"That's Entertainment" would have been a fitting title for the National Lyric Opera's program last evening at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater in Arlington. Opera and operetta highlights were the advertised bill of fare, but the audience got much more--almost two solid hours of song and dance.
For the song portion, the Opera devoted the bulk of the concert to familiar selections from Verdi. The famous Anvil Chorus from "Il Trovatore" gave way to "Strida la vampa," where mezzo-soprano Patricia Boyd unveiled a smoldering portrayal of the earthy gypsy mother, Azucena. In the duet for soprano and baritone, "Mira, di acerbe lagrime," Patrizia De Carmine as Leonora revealed a dusky voice that became ragged when pushed into its upper register. Nikita Rosanoff in the role of DiLuna sang with magnificent power.
The well-known "Haban ra" from Bizet's "Carmen" presented an interesting contrast, as mezzo-soprano Karen Hettinger in costume played the sultry temptress to a bevy of tuxedoed, would-be suitors.
The Jason Taylor Dance Theater provided two interludes, "Searchlights" and "Rainbow--Pas de deux." In the former, a quartet of dancers with flashlights rose from a supine position, capered about in ever-widening circles as the darkened stage slowly brightened, ending the piece.
On the lighter side, the singers presented "Big Spender" from "Sweet Charity," "There's Nothing Like a Dame" from "South Pacific" and the Second Act Finale to Strauss' "Die Fledermaus." The attempted smashing of the plastic champagne glasses in this party scene somehow seemed a proper sign-off.