The "In" Series presented one masterpiece (Manuel de Falla's intense, brooding "El Amor Brujo") and a sparkling collection of light Spanish arias Sunday evening at the National Museum of Women in the Arts -- an evening well-varied and balanced, performed with this company's usual imaginative spontaneity.
For "El Amor Brujo," a short drama of love, obsession, betrayal and Gypsy sorcery, the chief musical credits go to two performers. Anamer Castrello's rich, deep mezzo-soprano had exactly the vibrant, gutsy, flamenco-style sound the music requires, and Music Director Carlos Cesar Rodriguez accompanied her at the piano with an orchestral power and variety of colors. The dances, which are an important part of this work, featured Jaime Coronado and Lourdes Elias, with Nancy Sedgwick and Renee Lamont in supporting roles as Gypsy singers and dancers. Actor Scott Sedar played the silent role of the faithless lover.
Sedar and Rodriguez returned for the second half of the program: 14 arias from various zarzuelas, loosely held together by a script in English, titled "The Heart of Madrid," written by Elizabeth Pringle. The songs, about bullfighting, pickpockets, flower sellers and other aspects of the city's vivid street life, were light, lyrical, sometimes satirical and flavored with Madrid slang. Most would be unfamiliar to American audiences (except, perhaps, Valverde's "Clavelitos") and all were fresh and well-sung.
Besides Sedar, a bass, the singers included sopranos Lorena Sabogal and Rayanne Gonzales, mezzo-soprano Sandra Nino, tenors Aurelio Dominguez and Pablo Henrichs and bass-baritone Eduardo Castro. The program will be repeated tomorrow, Friday and Sunday.
-- Joseph McLellan