My first chance to take a look at this year’s UoT Opera Program came up on Sunday night in a concert staged jointly with the UoT Symphony and the MacMillan Singers. It was a series of opera orchestral pieces and ensembles kicking off with the overture from Die Zauberflöte, where the orchestra was Klemperer sized but the tempo distinctly quicker. The evening proceeded via more Zauberflöte, Don Pasquale, Cavelleria Rusticana, Die Meistersinger and Carmen to the party scene in La Traviata.
There was some very cute acting from Korin Thomas-Smith and Midori Marsh in Bei Männern (though I will never be able to see this number the same way since watching The Night Porter). The Intermezzo and Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana displayed some very impressive playing from the orchestra in which the roots of the cinema soundtrack were clearly shown. Tatiana Stanishich, as Santuzza, was perhaps expected to do a little too much against such a big orchestra and chorus. That made Saige Carlson’s Eva, in Selig, wie die Sonne, the more impressive as she soared over the accompaniment. No mean feat for a young singer.
Jamie Groote is a finalist in this year’s Centre Stage at the COC so it wasn’t much of a surprise that she impressed both as Carmen and as Flora in the La Traviata scene. The orchestra and the chorus sounded very good throughout with just the occasional fluff in the brass (failed French horn player here) and Uri Mayer and Sandra Horst kept things together admirably. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday evening.
Photo credits: Lisa Sakulensky