The Glenn Gould School released their spring opera performance on the new Koerner livestream platform on Thursday night. It’s a concert performance of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. This is a piece I find hugely problematic but since I went into considerable detail about why in a review of an MYOpera production that I wrote exactly five years ago I won’t repeat myself. Let’s just look at what the GGS did with it.
First it’s a “COVID compliant” concert performance filmed on the stage of Koerner Hall. The eight singers are just arranged across the stage separated by plastic screens with piano and percussion in the pit (I think). The lighting is quite clever so the screens are not actually particularly intrusive and it feels like an ordinary concert sung in concert dress off music stands. I think this is probably a better bet than trying to do a staged show with restrictions but not as much fun to watch as a location shoot.
It’s well done. There’s some excellent singing across the board. River Guard and Lynn Isnar are effective (and appropriately annoying) as male and female chorus. The trio of men; Noah Grove as the calculating Junius, Jordan de Sousa as Tarquinius and, especially Korin Scott-Thomas as a noble sounding Collatinus are individually and collectively excellent. Chelsea Pringle-Duchemin has the low notes and the gravitas for Lucretia and Ariana Maubach as Bianca and Thera Barclay as Lucia sound properly differentiated as elderly servant and young girl. The ever reliable Rachael Kerr is at the piano and Gordon Gerrard conducts effectively. Musically there’s much to admire but I’d be less than truthful if I said I enjoyed it. It’s still Rape of Lucretia.
The new Koerner livestream portal behaved very well with a high quality picture, clear sound and no annoying glitches. I did think occasionally though that the voices got balanced a bit far back but it was minor. It offers selectable subtitles but in this case they aren’t really necessary.