The first virtual offering if the COC’s season is now available at coc.ca. It’s a ninety minute concert featuring Tamara Wilson, Russell Braun and the COC orchestra with Johannes Debus conducting. The choice of rep is fairly “safe” with plenty of Verdi and Puccini though there’s quite a lot of Wagner too. Both singes are in good voice; Tammy Wilson very much so. Her “Ben io t’invenni… Anch’io dischiuso” from Verdi’s Nabucco is dramatic and there’s a moving “Vissi d’arte”, “Tacea la notte placida… Di tale amor” from Il Trovatore gives evidence of flexibility and precision as well as power in and she gives an excellent Liebestod to finish. Russell sounds really lyrical especially in that concert favourite “Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen” and in Wolfram’s “O du, mein holder Abendstern”.
This is also, of course, our first exposure to the new shiny AV gear at the Four Seasons Centre. A concert on stage probably isn’t a really good test but what we get suggested potential. The technical quality is very good indeed. Whoever did the sound engineering deserves a lot of credit as the winds are behind COVID screens which can’t have made sound balancing any easier.
So, all in all, a satisfying, if conventional, start to the season.