-Photo, Jeff Roffman
By James L. Paulk - For the AJC
If this performance did not fully answer that question, it did give Atlanta a sense of what it’s like to experience real world-class opera. Latonia Moore has become the Aida of choice today, and her performance here was electrifying. The voice is simply immense yet capable of the finest pianissimo, grounded in solid technique. Her high notes are lustrous, with an old-fashioned weeping sound. Even in a concert performance, she is riveting to watch.
Armed with these gigantic voices, ASO music director Robert Spano unleashed a big, thrilling torrent of sound. And here is where the ASO’s advantages came into play: The orchestra is larger than all but the biggest opera orchestras; its chorus is gigantic, with a sound unmatched by any opera chorus in America; and an orchestra on stage, rather than in a pit, has a bigger and more distinct presence. It all came together, though, because of Spano’s command of the score. Every minute came alive, punctuated by real thunder from outside right at the very moment the priests had prayed for divine intervention.