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MUSIC REVIEWS : L.A. Concert Opera's Rewarding 'Count'

January 19, 1994|LAURENCE VITTES

Although a concert production in English of one of Franz Lehar's most well-known operettas, the performance of "The Count of Luxembourg," Sunday afternoon at Ambassador Auditorium by the Los Angeles Concert Opera Assn. turned out to be rich with good singing and orchestral playing.

From start to finish, Michael Lynn Galanter as the Count, Lisa Willson as the singer he marries first (as a sort of indecent proposal), then falls in love with, and Megan Weston as a delightful soubrette of a painter's model, hit all the right and high notes and filled the hall with brilliant sound.

Dark-voiced Brad McMurray, as a pompous Russian prince, excelled in his comic turns. Directing this semi-staging, Loren Zachary made it possible for the cast to move comfortably about onstage without making them seem foolish.

While conductor Todd Helm's crisp pacing seemed more appropriate to Gilbert & Sullivan than to Lehar, the orchestra played with color and finesse, and the Roger Wagner Choral Institute chorus (prepared by Jeannine Wagner) sang with obvious enjoyment and admirable ensemble. It remained, however, for Michelle Sarkesian as a Russian countess to show the importance of luxurious, erotic Viennese style in her big Act III aria.

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