You can't accuse the Dallas Opera's cast of undersinging Aida.
The three roles around which Verdi's opera revolves -- Aida, Radamès and Amneris -- are taken by a robust trio of singers with uniformly strong voices and a sense of the stage that adheres closely to tradition.
Aida, heard Sunday afternoon in Dallas' Winspear Opera House, is opening the financially strapped company's reduced season. Puccini's Turandot and Dominick Argento's The Aspern Papers will round out the season next spring.
The star of Sunday's performance was soprano Latonia Moore in the title role. She first generated a lot of buzz in the Dallas area in 1998, when, as a University of North Texas student, she won the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition in spectacular fashion.
She certainly impressed again Sunday, with a powerful, gorgeous voice that could easily be heard even against massed forces. She also is a quite decent actress.
A stentorian tenor, Antonello Palombi, made the most of Radamès' big moments. A former Italian police officer, he projected a real sense of machismo.
Nadia Krasteva, as Amneris, has a rich, creamy mezzo that always enchanted and made it easy to tolerate her somewhat stock operatic gestures.
The remainder of the cast provided strong support.
Particularly impressive were two basses, Orlin Anastassov as Ramfis and Ben Wager as the king of Egypt, as well as baritone Lester Lynch as a sturdy Amonasro.
This was one Aida that was firing on all cylinders. Conductor Graeme Jenkins deserves great credit for a superb orchestral performance and a magnificent choral one -- Alexander Rom is the chorus's maestro.
I also liked Kenneth von Heidecke's graceful choreography.
Stage director Garnett Bruce makes effective use of massed forces as a background for the principal vocalists.
The triumphal scene is suitably grand, if somewhat static.
Michael Yeargan's impressive sets and the late Peter J. Hall's equally impressive costumes certainly emphasize the Egyptness of Aida. The only disappointment here is the final tomb scene; the tomb looks more like a basement than a resting place for the dead.
There was one nervous moment during Sunday's Aida. Just as the triumphal scene was about to get started, there was a series of loud noises offstage that sounded like set elements colliding and debris dropping. Some of the performers looked around nervously, and there was a brief patch of ragged ensemble in the chorus.
But the noises soon stopped, the sets remained standing, and the performance continued without missing a beat.