...the orchestra was rugged but not ragged: kudos to conductor Lucy Arner! It was Gioconda, all of it, sung and played with style and vigor
OPERA NEWS ONLINE: July 2018
Verismo Opera ambitiously tackled Turandot on April 22 at the Bergen Performing Arts Center, providing an enthusiastic audience with a performance that proved very enjoyable...Puccini's final work is a huge undertaking for an underfunded local company, and the positive results spoke well to the organization's dedication. Principal conductor Lucy Arner, in place for two years now, has been a godsend to the company, steadily improving the level of playing; she offered a knowledgeable, idiomatic reading of Puccini's (and Alfano's!) score that anchored the afternoon.
It didn't take long into Act I to establish that the performance had, in its Liù and Calaf, strong assets well beyond the level of regional suburban companies. Yulan Piao--extremely sympathetic onstage and phrasing with care and feeling, showed a lovely lyric voice-winning in timbre. Philip Alongi easily ousting several Met Xalafs of recent years: his vibrant, squall-topped tenor carried easily (up to Act II's added "Corelli" high C) and his words emerged clear and meaningful. Supported by Arner, both Piao and Alongi employed a wide dynamic range.