Singers: Something to Go Home To

The New York City Opera's opening production of Handel's Julius Caesar last week was just minutes old when Contralto Maureen Forrester fixed hand to forehead, shuddered "Woe unto me," and fainted dead away. Contralto roles are like that, full of weeping and despair, the tragic counterweights that support the romantic leads. Forrester, making her U.S. operatic debut, flawlessly performed the role of Cornelia, effortlessly pouring out great billows of plum-shaded singing that served as a lush backdrop for the vocal scrollwork of the other principal singers. Where they thrilled, she caressed. Predictably, the heaviest applause went to Soprano Beverly...

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