Ari Pelto, Morgan Smith and Paul Whelan make Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut in Eugene Onegin

26 September 2017

Three Rayfield Allied artists make their Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

Ari Pelto takes the helm from the pit while Morgan Smith leads in the title role and Paul Whelan sings the role of Prince Gremin. 


Since the opening night on Saturday 30 September, all three artists have received fantastic reviews.


Ari Pelto

'Under the baton of Ari Pelto, the Kansas City Symphony proved both bold and sensitive, as necessary, the individual voices of the orchestra threading with the singers in a rich cloth, all savoring Tchaikovsky’s melodies.'

The Kansas City Star, Libby Hanssen, 1 October 2017

 

'The orchestra ably takes us through Tchaikovsky’s score under the baton of Ari Pelto, here making his Lyric debut.'

Medium, Kelly Luck, 1 October 2017

 

'Members of the Kansas City Symphony perform admirably in this production, conducted by Ari Pelto in his Lyric Opera debut. The overall sound from the orchestra is well balanced within itself and with those on stage…'

Anthony Rodgers, 1 October 2017


'The musical delivery got off to a good start in Act I, with Ari Pelto conducting a reduced...Kansas City Symphony in the pit: The peasant-chorus sounded splendid, and the vocal quartet of the four principal women...was carefully balanced and well-shaped.'

Kansas City Independent, Paul Horsley, 2 October 2017 


Morgan Smith

'For Onegin, emphatically played by Morgan Smith, it was reversed, from aloof stranger to dismissive neighbour to groveling suitor. You believe his change of affection, but still side with Tatyana’s pragmatic and honorable decision.'

The Kansas City Star, Libby Hanssen, 1 October 2017

 

'It’s not often we get to have a baritone as the central figure, but Mr. Smith does an excellent job in taking the reins of the role.'

Medium, Kelly Luck, 1 October 2017

 

Morgan Smith, baritone, takes on the titular role with a pompous and arrogant demeanor perfect for the cynical Onegin. His dark timbres provide an aging quality to the young dandy that helps justify the jaded outlook that Onegin has toward the world and wonderfully compliments González’s youthful tone. In Onegin’s Sermon (“Were I a man whom fate intended”) Smith does well in keeping distance in his voice and not letting much emotion show as he rejects Tatyana’s letter, “the avowal of a trusting heart, the outpouring of an innocent love.” The contrast between the Onegin of the first two acts and the broken, regretful man in the final act is powerful. Smith lets himself fall completely into a tormented state of love, and one can hear the heartache in his voice as he declares his anguish in what is one of the most powerful and abrupt operatic endings.

Anthony Rodgers, 1 October 2017


'Morgan Smith has a powerfully rich baritone...'

Kansas City Independent, Paul Horsley, 2 October 2017


Paul Whelan

'...the magnanimous Gremin (Paul Whelan) and humorous Triquet (Steven Cole), making for a solid, authentic performance.'

The Kansas City Star, Libby Hanssen, 1 October 2017

 

'Paul Whelan, bass, demonstrates that one can appear in a single scene and still steal the show. His aria as Prince Gremin (“All men surrender to Love’s power”) is sweet and tender, while his bass notes are strong and resonant.'

KC Metropolis, Anthony Rodgers, 1 October 2017


'What threw Act III for a loop was Paul Whelan’s Prince Gremin: He was such an appealing figure that his famous “Lyubvi vse vozrastï” aria, sung with a gorgeously inflected basso, made us feel that Tatyana had made quite a good choice. Instead of the dumpy dotard that Gremin is often made out to be, Paul was not just the tallest but perhaps the most appealing man onstage, and arguably the best actor. Even though Tatyana was indeed “settling,” she didn’t marry just for fame-and-fortune after all: Gremin is a decent guy, and actually not that bad-looking!'

Kansas City Independent, Paul Horsley, 2 October 2017

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