Showmanship, versatility, charm and two glitzy gowns marked Sumi Jo’s return to the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night. The remarkable Korean soprano was assisted by guest conductor Emmanuel Villaume and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, both in wonderful form.
Predictable coloratura showpieces, plus arias from operas we do not expect Jo to assay, made up her program. In the first half, the orchestra played operatic excerpts by Saint-Saens, Charpentier, Offenbach and Berlioz; in the second, Rossini and Verdi overtures.
Jo warmed up gently in the Bell Song from Delibes’ “Lakme”; then, after the orchestra played the Prelude to Act III of Charpentier’s “Louise,” she sang a touching and effective “Depuis le jour.” She capped the first portion with a most amusing and nearly flawless reading of Olympia’s aria from “The Tales of Hoffmann,” the occasion of her last Los Angeles Opera appearance, in November.
“Una voce poco fa” from “The Barber of Seville” began Jo’s second half in a glittering, crisp, definitive performance. In Nanetta’s aria from Verdi’s “Falstaff,” the petite soprano sang softly but without the requisite delicacy for this exposing showpiece.
She ended her solo marathon with the Act I scena from “La Traviata,” in a bold, clear performance that still did not prove the role belongs to her; Jo’s voice lacks the dramatic core that identifies Violetta.
Throughout the evening, the French conductor showed himself a model collaborator and sensitive accompanist. In the orchestra pieces, Villaume’s authority shone and the ensemble played up to his standard.
Where: Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood
When: Today, 8 p.m.
Price: $1 to $88
Info: (323) 850-2000