As SANTUZZA and NEDDA Fresno Opera Academy Concludes with Big Sound

As Santuzza and Nedda
The Professionals: We’ve heard Scott Piper and Laura Pedersen in Fresno before in conjunction with Youth Orchestras of Fresno fund-raising concerts.  From the moment Pedersen walks on stage as the hapless Santuzza in “Cavelleria Rusticana,” she inhabits the role with a fierce, downtrodden dignity that projects the tragedy to come. Her voice is gorgeous, but more than that, she actually for brief, flaring moments seems to embody the ache of love forlorn. I’m impressed. Piper, too, is superb as the problematic Turiddu, one of those juvenile man-boys who realizes too late that there’s a price to pay for his emotional immaturity. Piper is fiery in “Pagliacci,” another wonderfully wrought (and sung) characterization but it’s Pedersen’s Santuzza in “Cavalleria” that becomes the indelible performance of the day.
Donald Munro, Fresno Beehive
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