Small picture of Donizetti




Donizetti's Maria Padilla

Minnesota Opera production, 2005

Photographs by Michal Daniel, courtesy of The Minnesota Opera.


Minnesota Opera  recently finished its run of Maria Padilla (March 5, 8, 10, 12 & 13,  2005).  Michael Anthony in the Star Tribune spoke of  "This product of Donizetti's later years turns out to be something close to a long-lost masterpiece, as its handful of champions have always claimed."

 Brenda Harris in the title role, a role she took 2 years ago at the Buxton Festival, once again impressed, "shaping her often cartwheeling vocal lines with her customary suppleness and refinement" (Michael Anthony),  "but [contrasting] the fiery fare with slow arias dripping in pain and pathos." (Ron Hubbard, Pioneer Press , March 7, 2005  ).  It will come as no surprise that Bruce Ford as Ruiz was also highly commended, "moving from forcefully irate to pathetically  deranged -- rather King Lear-like in his final scene -- and marshaling his rich-toned tenor with both subtlety and power." (Michael Anthony).  

Perhaps more unusually than is often the case in bel canto opera, the set design of Cameron Anderson and lighting of Michael Murnane were particularly singled out for comment, " a surrealistic dream, a medieval castle adorned with empty picture frames and great wooden cages, with walls that dissolve into towering shafts of bright blue emptiness" (Ron Hubbard).

Director Josemaria Condemi and conductor Francesco Maria Columbo completed the main creative team that Ron Hubbard congratulated for bringing " its vision to life with such success as this."


 Ines (Karin Wolverton) and

Maria (Brenda Harris)

Ines and Maria 




Maria in bedroom

Maria in her bedroom -
a striking example of  Cameron Anderson's set design and Michael Murnane's lighting



Maria and chorus

Maria with chorus



  Ruiz (Bruce Ford)





Maria and Ruiz

Maria and Ruiz - the mad scene




Pedro (Ashley Holland), Ruiz and Maria


Minnesota Opera plan to continue their exploration of the bel canto repertoire in 2006 with Mercadante's Orazi & Curiazi




Page initially published in  2005