Christian Reif with Opera San Jose “Pagliacci” cast members (Photo credit: Opera San Jose)
Last month, our conductor Christian Reif made his debut with Opera San Jose in their production of Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci”. The six performances ran through December 2nd with cast members Christopher James Ray, Cooper Nolan, Maria Natale, Emmett O’Hanlon and Anthony Clark Evans, with stage direction by Chuck Hudson. The production was a great success garnering praise from critics and audiences alike!
The San Jose Mercury News said that Reif was “an excellent choice to find the fire and pathos in this quintessentially Italian work.”
Cultural World Bilingual raved, “Opening Night of Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci ended with the spectators inside the California Theatre, standing in front of their seats applauding enthusiastically, and shouting “Formidable”. The performance was masterful. The Orchestra, under the baton of Conductor Christian Reif, interpreted the contrasting festive and sorrowful moods of Leoncavallo’s melodies with feeling. It also managed to control its volume, allowing the audience to listen clearly, even the pianissimos tones in the voices of the singers. There is only one word to define Opera San José’s production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci: FORMIDABLE.”
The Opera Chaser praised, “In the pit, conductor Christian Reif worked the tempi favorably and allowed the music to breath with the singers. The OSJ Orchestra played soundly, the strings particularly striking with their gossamer clarity and smooth crescendos. The orchestra’s expertise was cemented in the oft-performed Intermezzo, driving it with depth and feeling.”
Lastly, Operaville writes, “Christian Reif and orchestra played with power and elegance; I particularly enjoyed the intermezzo, especially the passage featuring harpist Karen Thielen as Tonio contemplates Nedda’s handkerchief.”