As Ezekiel, Metropolitan Opera vet Gregg Baker both delivers sentence and begs forgiveness in ringing tones: he is equally forceful as despot and supplicant. But how he resists the entreaty of Jeannette Bayardelle's Serena is hard to fathom. Summoned into his presence, Bayardelle launches into a musical testament of determination and devotion, "The Way I Love You," that in its ferocity and virtuosity recalls the Jennifer Holliday–Jennifer Hudson starmaker from Dreamgirls, "And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going." The audience cannot be quelled. But Ezekiel doesn't give an inch: you'd think he was the one about to become a statue.
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