I have a distressing problem. Can you tell me which guy had a bad night when he reviewed Opera Pacific's "Aida" on Saturday night? I rely on Martin Bernheimer (The Times) and James Chute (Orange County Register) exclusively for all of my musical advice: who's singing well, who the bums are, where I should spend my ticket money.
On opening night, Mr. Bernheimer and Mr. Chute sat in the same row, just down from my $135 seat. But I am confused. They are experts but seemed to be watching two different performances. To wit:
On the performances:
Bernheimer: "Worthy in most respects of a major, serious yet cautious company."
Chute: "Operatic equivalent of costume jewelry."
On Dolora Zajic (the mezzo, Amneris):
Bernheimer: "Virtually stole the show. . . . The wide vocal range of the role posed hardly a problem for her. . . . She may well be the dramatic mezzo for whom the world has been waiting."
Chute: "Young singer . . . had serious control problems . . . would lose control and everything but scream her part."