This season brings very exciting opportunities. Mr. Burton with sing his first Calaf with Maestro DeRenzi at Sarasota Opera, and make his internation debut at the Royal Opera House Muscat Oman with Maestro Lorin Maazel.
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November 14 at 8 pm November 16 at 2 pm
La Fanciulla Del West
the possessor of a bronze-hued hefty tenor, made an explosive event out of his assignment by dominating the score’s challenges with seemingly wild abandon.
...The merits of this production did not stop here. The Sarasota Opera secured the services of tenor Jonathan Burton, here making his company debut and taking his first stab at the part, for the key role of the unknown Prince Calaf. This young artist, the possessor of a bronze-hued hefty tenor, made an explosive event out of his assignment by dominating the score’s challenges with seemingly wild abandon.
Calaf demands the spinto tenor to repeatedly climb the staff up to sudden high Bs and Cs, a challenge Mr. Burton accomplished with seemingly great relish. During the first half of the opera’s introductory act, he executed several of these leaps within extended dialogue passages, and towards the end of it, Mr. Burton applied this brand of exuberant vocalism into the testing aria “Non piangere Liu”. Like Ms. Natale, he impressed primarily through the brawn of his instrument, but bettered the young soprano’s efforts by way of a sound technical foundation, consistently remaining within his basic sleeve of luxurious bronze sound as he negotiated every note in the scale, including a ringing top C in the final phrase “Che non sorride piu.” As the act came to a close, Mr. Burton tipped his hat to the great Franco Corelli, performing a feat similar to those that made the career of the legendary Italian tenor. As Calaf resolved to accept the princess’ challenge, Mr. Burton let out a thunderous “Turandot!” via an interminable high A which he relentlessly suspended over the auditorium as he walked to the gong and stroked the disc three times. The audience could not handle it, and expressed their approval via enthusiastic applause. Tipped by this exuberant display, newoutpost made sure to keep an eye on our watch during the second performance in order to report the numeric equivalent of the singer’s breath control: An incredible nineteen seconds as heard on February 23.
When the second act introduced the overwhelming Turandot of soprano Brenda Harris, Mr. Burton was her vocal match note for note, if perhaps not fully in terms of sonority, consistently demanded attention not by extending past his technique but rather by remaining within his process. The third act held the reason most Sarasota Opera patrons paid the admission fee. The famous aria “Nessun dorma” has been sung by every tenor from Giacomo Lauri-Volpi (Puccini’s intended Calaf) to Franco Corelli and Luciano Pavarotti, who made the tune into a cross over sensation (Aretha, Sarah Brightman and Paul Potts need not apply). Again, Mr. Burton did not disappoint, and as all had hoped, held unto his top notes slightly past the point of decency. We have heard plenty of fine tenors essay this role, and after banking everything into the money aria, they have been known to vocally collapse afterwards, so it was refreshing and reassuring that this was not to be Mr. Burton’s story, and he held strong until he had launched the last note of this part.
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