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Palm Beach Post
The Sun Sentinel
Daily News



2, 4 Aprile 2004


Manon Lescaut   DANIELA DESSI'
             Renato Des Grieux
   FABIO ARMILIATO               
                       Lescaut   THOMAS BERRET         
                   Geronte   STEFANO DE PEPPO


Conductor   KAMAL KHAN

  Prossima pubblicazione












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Lavish 'Manon' stirs passionate emotions

WEST PALM BEACH -- Their first entrances are splendidly quiet and unassuming; they sing their polite, offhand comments gently. But by evening's end, the two stars' presence and full-bodied voices command not just center stage but the large Kravis Center audience.

Soprano Daniela Dessi and tenor Fabio Armiliato projected beautifully authoritative singing with sympathetic acting Friday night to open Palm Beach Opera's Manon Lescaut.

Far from the average dull meet-and-greet first act, Puccini's 45-minute opener flew by, propelled smoothly by Dessi in her Palm Beach debut, Armiliato as her equally passionate partner, a strong supporting cast, stage director Bernard Uzan, and in particular, resident conductor Kamal Khan.

Dessi, as the 18-year-old Manon, and Armiliato, as the dashing student Des Grieux, fall in love and run off to Paris. But fickle Manon deserts her penniless lover for a lavish lifestyle offered by elderly Geronte, whom she humiliates when her love returns.

Sharon Mc Daniel PALM BEACH POST  4 Aprile 2004

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Thrilling vocalism in Manon Lescaut closes Palm Beach Opera's season on high note

Fortunately in Daniela Dessi and Fabio Armiliato, Palm Beach Opera served up a pair of singers with the vocal goods and dramatic sparks to ride over the opera's fault-lines. Despite some inconsistent pit advocacy, Friday night's performance provided some of the most thrilling and idiomatic Italianate singing heard locally in quite a while.

Dessi's voice remains in fine repair with a rich pearly tone and a penetrating top. The soprano's In quelle trine morbide was rendered with affecting longing and sadness, high notes powerful and accurate. Dessi was always touching and dramatically effective, her death scene as the tattered and desolate Manon vividly sung, putting across the girl's despair and wistful regret with natural and subtle vocal acting.

Armiliato, Dessi's real-life partner, was even more impressive. The Italian tenor possesses a big yet refined voice, secure from top to bottom with clarion top notes. Armiliato delivered an ardent and impassioned Donna non vidi mai, and was a dramatic powerhouse throughout, making des Grieux's agony and despair wrenchingly manifest in the deportation scene. Indeed, the tenor threw himself into the role with fearless commanding vocalism.

Lawrence A. Johnson - THE SUN SENTINEL 4 Aprile 2004

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Soprano Daniela Dessì sang Manon with a full voiced energy and soaring lyricism.She embraced the sweep and line of the composer's melod phrases with an expressive and moving vocalism. Her second act In quelle trine morbide was masterfully and elegantly set forth. The last act Sola, perduta abbandonata was haunting and lovely.

The role of Des Grieux was stunningly sung by tenor Fabio Armiliato. His dramatic voice is a beautifully sustained golden burnished tenor. His top tones are glorious with a brilliant ring. He delivers with a powerful, intense Italianate emorive force. It was a thrilling right-on portrayal. He delighted with his lyric Tra voi belle and brought down the house with the dramatic sweep of Donna non vidi mai.

The duets by Dessì and Armiliato were exciting and electric.

R. Spencer Butler  PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS  4 Aprile 2004

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Last modified: aprile 14, 2004