The Vocal Gem

…Her entire portrayal of the aria was one of heartbreak, the line delicate but always connected. Pérez possesses an increasingly large sound, but it was quite surprising how restrained she was with its use throughout, opting for a gentle approach that gave the character a greater dignity and nobility. When she did pour out the massive volume she is capable of, it came in more confrontational moments with the Count at the end of Act two. “Porgi, amor” was beautiful,” but “Dove sono” was on another level altogether with Pérez managing what seemed like an extended legato phrase that just built and built until its reprisal, whereupon the soprano utilized ornamentations to express the lament and pain of the character. It was impossible not to feel loneliness at the core of this pain, the character’s sense of isolation and defeat building throughout. When the Countess falls to her lowest point by the end of the next act, her husband’s betrayal complete, Pérez didn’t need to give him an angry or disappointed look to tell us how she felt; she didn’t really look at him at all. As he apologized she showed him his back and her forgiveness saw her turn slowly to him, the extended line and slower tempo making the sense of hesitation all the stronger.

What was interesting about Pérez’s interpretation here was that you could tell she was deeply in love with the Count from the way she was so quick to jump into his arms and kiss him passionately at key junctures. We saw this in Act two and then at the very end of the opera where Pérez and Kwiecien were so involved in the moment that neither realized that the rest of their castmates had stopped their final pose to take applause. It was a humorous moment to be sure with other actors forced to give the two the signal to stop but emphasized just how committed they were to their roles.