Calaf’s aria from Puccini’s Turandot is one that normally brings the house down in opera houses from Berlin to Sydney. Sung by tenor David Righeschi in the intimate venue of St Mark’s Anglican Church, Florence, the aria was even more powerful.
Also starring in the St Mark’s evening of opera were soprano Francesca Caligaris and pianist Eugenio Milazzo. Caligaris and Righeschi performed some memorable duets from La Boheme, La Traviata and The Merry Widow. Solo performances included Susanna’s aria ‘Deh vieni, non tardar’ from The Marriage of Figaro and the Duke’s aria ‘La donna e mobile’ from Verdi’s Rigoletto.
A particular delight of the programme was Milazzo’s astonishing energy and skill at the piano, which he showcased with Debussy’s Deux Arabesques. The audience enjoyed the flirtation between Caligaris and Righeschi as they performed ‘Tace il labbro’ from Lehar’s The Merry Widow.
The evening of opera commences at 9.15 pm, allowing time for an early dinner. The program lasts for about one and a half hours, including a short intermission for a glass of champagne. Milazzo, Caligaris and Righeschi graciously posed for photographs and chatted to the audience at the end of the evening.
The intrepid stroller can find St Mark’s at Via Maggio 16/18, not far from the jewellery shops of the famous Ponte Vecchio. Reverend Charles Tooth established the church there in 1881, and over the years the interior has acquired a variety of furnishings and decoration, much of it influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite Movement.
Details of the opera season can be found at http://www.concertoclassico.info/. Tickets are available for performances throughout July and September 2012. Unfortunately for those readers visiting Florence in August, there is no opera at St Mark’s that month.
On the subject of dinner, this reviewer chose the Obika’ Mozzarella Bar at Palazzo Tornabuoni, ?Via de’ Tornabuoni 16. A pizza with prosciutto, mozzarella, rocket and tomato was perfect as a light dinner before the opera.