AS PART OF ITS MASTERWORKS REVIVAL SERIES, Sarasota Opera gave Engelbert Humperdinck's grim fairy-tale opera, Konigskinde, a beautiful production, with sets by David P. Gordon and imaginative direction by Jacque Trussel. Beauty, poignancy, and melancholy play a large part in the score, and conductor Neil Varon brought forth both the music's heartfelt romanticism and its bitterness. Yi Ge (the King's Son) sang with untiring concern and a lyric but dry sound. Lisa Willson's shining soprano was well suited to the Goose Girl, baritone Brian Davis had a fine voice and was eloquent as the Fiddler, LeRoy Lehr was perfect as the nasty Woodcutter and Ory Brown made a convincingly human witch.
Ernani was vibrantly conducted by Victor DeRenzi. Philip Webb showed promise as Ernani but had technical problems. Tamara Wright Acosta (Elvira) sang with beauty and agility, Igor Emelianov (Carlo) had an exciting but unpolished sound and Ding Gao's strong bass-baritone effectively evoked Silva's nobility and implacability. However, John Hoomes' direction was ineffective.
DeRenzi showed that his Puccini is equal to his Verdi conducting in a lovely, moving La Boheme, in which Marcie Ley showed the strength of the Apprentice Artist program by stepping in at short notice to sing a wonderful Mimi. Em-manuel Villaume conducted Manon with finesse and passion. Cherie Caluda was a sweet-voiced, tender, temperamental Manon, although she took few chances with high notes or ornamentation; Barton Green was an impetuous, impassioned Des Grieux and sang with insight and ardor, although sometimes a more caressing tone would have been apt. Oziel Garza-Ornelas characterized Lescaut well, Peter Volpe was an authoritative, paternal Count with deep, rich tone and Michael Hendrick a foppish Guillot.