Soprano Cynthia Clayton was a graceful, fragile Desdemona. She projected well, had no trouble with the high-lying reaches of the role and sounded fresh throughout. Her “Willow” song was one of the production’s high points.
“In the title role, Cynthia Clayton gave a performance of heart-breaking tenderness and vitality, using her full-bodied soprano to depict Susannah’s harrowing downfall at the hands of mass righteousness. The melodic phrases of her famous Act 1 aria, “Ain’t it a pretty night,” arched dreamily with the joy of being alive, while the mournful ballad of Act 2… drew a devastating emotional contrast... As the lust-ridden preacher Olin Blitch, baritone Hector Vásquez gave the most dynamic performance I’ve heard from him in years — energetic, forceful, rich in vocal color and tinged with just enough spiritual nuance to keep Blitch from being a complete caricature villain.”
Soprano Cynthia Clayton scored another Utah Opera success Saturday with her performance as Florencia Grimaldi, a beloved but enigmatic opera superstar who harbors a secret hope of being reunited with a long-lost lover when she returns to her homeland to sing. Clayton struck the right vocal and dramatic balance of dignity, self-possession and vulnerability....Baritone Hector Vásquez provided a firm anchor in reality as the Capitan, Riolobo’s counterpart in the tangible realm.
The star of the show is Hector Vásquez’s Forester, his baritone finely focused and flexible and carrying well out into the Brown Theater.