Brandon Cedel, a recent winner of the Met’s National Council Auditions, lent his ample, agile bass-baritone to the comic role of Nerbulone. In February, I encountered Cedel in Opera Philadelphia’s production of Kevin Puts’s 2011 opera “Silent Night,” a brilliantly constructed, if conventional, drama of the First World War. In the few minutes that Cedel was on stage—his character died early—his voice boomed majestically through the dry acoustics of the Academy of Music. Capable of singing anything from Cavalli to Wagner, he may be destined for stardom.
Brandon Cedel, as Isacio, revealed a bass-baritone of impressive weight and conveyed the tyrant’s nefarious nature without once resorting to a snarl. Only in recent years have we dared to hope that a lower-voiced singer could actually articulate Handel’s coloratura; Cedel fulfilled that wish with florid singing of stunning accuracy and beauty of tone.
Cedel, fresh from being named one of six winners in the Metropolitan Opera’s 60th annual National Council Auditions earlier this month, played the comical servant Nerbulone with a lustrous, booming voice and charismatic appeal.
…when he sings, you don’t want him to stop. He was beautifully smooth in “Vi ravviso” from Bellini’s “Sonnambula,” with an elegant line and persuasive phrasing.
…while Brandon Cedel lent the cavernous depths of his bass-baritone to the philosopher Colline. Cedel’s low range was particularly impressive, reaching that immensely resonant, ebony-dark timbre one associates with a true bass; this reviewer would be intrigued hear him in roles that extend the low range even further.
The bass-baritone Brandon Cedel brought burnished sound and fervor to the Petrarch setting.
The performers were all past recipients of George London awards. The bass-baritone Brandon Cedel, the most recent winner, demonstrated a velvety low range and smooth legato in “Vi ravviso” from Bellini’s “La Sonnambula” and sang with sensual nuance in Copland’s “Boatmen’s Dance.