'Idomeneo' Cast Change Soprano Barbara Quintiliani took the role of Elettra, daughter of the Greek war commander Agamemnon, in two performances of the Washington Opera's "Idomeneo," which has just finished its run in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Quintiliani is a member of the company's Young Artist Program of the Americas, and her performance in this, her first major operatic role, is eloquent testimony to the value of that program. Saturday night's audience, which applauded her warmly, saw the beginning of a significant operatic career.
Through most of this rather static opera, Elettra is not the liveliest of roles; she is the third -- and losing -- side of a love triangle with Idomeneo's son, Idamante and the Trojan princess Ilia. She has a bit of recitative, which Quintiliani sang with verbal clarity and fine dramatic sense; she also has arias in each of the three acts. The first two are well crafted but not exceptional, and Quintiliani handled them intelligently, gracefully and eloquently, with glowing tone and fine musical instincts.
The Act 3 aria is something else. A pouring out of rage and disappointment for lost love, it looks far ahead into the young Mozart's future, anticipating the kind of music he would give to the Queen of the Night in "The Magic Flute." Quintiliani took its challenges as opportunities; for the length of the aria, at the end of which Elettra collapses and dies, her voice and gestures dominated the stage and held the audience transfixed.
-- Joseph McLellan
Art-o-Matic Bands Of the four '60s-rooted rock bands on the bill Friday night at Art-o-Matic, the month-long ad hoc arts fair at the EPA's former Southwest home, two were local and two from Philadelphia. One of the latter, the Capitol Years, came equipped with the biggest buzz, and it was easy to see why.
Yet the two D.C. bands were both more appealing in their quite different ways.
As its retrospective-box-set name suggests, the Capitol Years plays record-collector rock, with a roughly eight-year span of sources that begins with the Beatles and the Yardbirds and runs up to early-'70s Americana rock. The quartet has some reasonably catchy songs but is most notable as an act so choreographed that it verges on vaudeville. Perhaps these musicians think that jumping off amps and doing Rockettes-style high kicks will distract from their connect-the-dots material.
(Sounds of) Kaleidoscope also drew on rock-historical precedents, but its music was less of a pastiche. The D.C. trio's neo-psychedelic drones and vamps sometimes surged forward, but at other times simply whirled in place.
Most of the songs were mid-tempo and hypnotic, in the manner of many bands that have transcribed minimalism's strategies to punky guitar. Yet the band's style also had undertones of mid-'60s pop-rock, an influence that came to fore with the encore, a noisy version of the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset."
The Washington Social Club, another local threesome, played the evening's most engaging set. The band hasn't completed the task of assimilating its influences, which range from Eddie Cochran and the Modern Lovers to Orange Juice, but its buoyant delivery and such jumpy, tuneful songs as "Modern Trance" were entirely winning.
Relay, a Philadelphia trio, was stylistically akin to Kaleidoscope but less fluid and adept.
-- Mark Jenkins