Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Huffington Post: "Christian Van Horn -- A Busy Season at San Francisco Opera"

Christian Van Horn (as Oroveso - left)
Christian Van Horn  is part of a cast that is delivering old-fashioned vocal fireworks at the San Francisco Opera.  Joined by Sondra Radvonovsky as Norma, Jamie Barton and Russell Thomas as Pollione, the vocal quartet has already been dubbed The Fantastic Four by the opera staff. It's rare that an Oroveso receives this much attention, but Van Horn delivered a performance that defined the role for this generation. Sean Martinfield ran the following feature in the Huffington Post:

Christian Van Horn is Oroveso in San Francisco Opera's new production of Bellini's Norma. The bel canto gem opened the 2014/15 Season on September 5, making Christian's resounding bass-baritone the first voice to be heard in the company's 92nd season. As Chief of the Druids and father of Norma, the community's High Priestess, Oroveso enters and instructs the soldiers and priests to watch for the light of the silvery new moon. At that moment, the sacred gong will be struck, whereupon Norma will enter and deliver a mandate from their god. In no uncertain volume, Oroveso rouses the mens spirits predicting that the message will be a clear declaration of war against the occupying Roman forces. The clamor of defeat will reverberate even to the streets of Rome. Oroveso is persuasive in his vision of victory and Christian Van Horn is precisely the brand of baritone Bellini had in mind. For die-hard fans of Norma, a season opening is a dream come true. It has been nine years since San Francisco Opera last presented the work - and another seven before that.
"This is not La Bohème, you know," observed Christian. "I think it says a lot about the audience - that the company feels comfortable putting this on. This is a big opening and I think San Francisco is ready for it. Even Wagner has opinions about Norma, being one of his favorites - you have to cast heavy, top-to-bottom. You get vocal theatrics and there's no opportunity for passive performing. You have to be aggressively on top of it to make the opera what it needs to be. It is a privilege to sing this music. My role is a good size role. Bellini left us a document to go by and we have to follow what's in there. But within that - with Maestro Nicola Luisotti at the helm - there are these slight moments to be artistic."

[Read the entire interview HERE]

There are four performances of Norma remaining at the San Francisco Opera between September 19-30 and tickets are available online

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