Frustrating Idomeneo

Opera Atelier’s current production of Mozart’s Idomeneo is frustrating, especially given their recent run of good form.  It, unfortunately, combines a fussy, rather pointless production with histrionic antics and uneven singing.  It’s just not good enough.

7_Opera-Atelier_Idomeneo-2019_The-company_PHOTO-BY-BRUCE-ZINGER

Continue reading

Opera Atelier 2019/20

Opera Atelier has announced its 2019/20 season.  As usual there are two main stage shows.  The first is a revival of their 2011 production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  It runs from October 31st to November 9th, 2019, in the Ed Mirvish Theatre.  It’s a production that plays up the comedy and the elements of the commedia dell’arte in the piece while pretty much eschewing anything deeper or darker.  The cast includes Douglas Williams as the Don with Stephen Hegedus as Leporello, Colin Ainsworth, as Don Ottavio, Meghan Lindsay as Donna Anna, Carla Huhtanen as Donna Elvira, Mireille Asselin as Zerlina, Olivier Laquerre as Masetto, and Gustav Andreassen as Commendatore. beautiful Ed Mirvish Theatre.  David Fallis conducts.

Opera-Atelier__Don-Giovanni-Meghan-Lindsay-and-company_Photo-by-Bruce-Zinger-2019_11

Continue reading

Actéon et Pygmalion

Opera Atelier’s french double header opened last night at the Elgin Theatre.  It was, bar the occasional twist, classic Opera Atelier.  They presented two French baroque operas in their distinctive style with a little humour and none of the excesses that have sometimes crept in.

oa-ap1

Continue reading

Opera Atelier 2018/19 season

20080424Opera Atelier_Idomeneo_Dress Rehearsal

Measha Brueggergosman.
Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Opera Atelier have announced their 2018/19 season.  As usual, there are two shows.  In the Fall there is a double bill of Charpentier’s Actéon paired with Rameau’s Pygmalion (Oct. 25 – Nov. 3, 2018).  Colin Ainsworth, who has also been named as OA’s first “artist in residence”, features in both title roles with Mireille Asselin as Diana and Amour and Allyson McHardy as Juno and Céphise.  The supporting cast includes Jesse Blumberg, Christopher Enns, Meghan Lindsay, Cynthia Smithers and Anna Sharpe. Pygmalion will be prefaced by Opera Atelier’s first Canadian commission for solo baroque violin and contemporary dancing, entitled Inception.  It will be performed by composer/violinist Edwin Huizinga and choreographer/Artist of Atelier Ballet, Tyler Gledhill. Following its Toronto dates, the show will tour to the Royal Opera House in Versailles.

Continue reading

Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation

Last night’s TSO program started off with a sort of Remembrance Day pot pourri; pipes, bugles, a bit of poetry, an excerpt of Vaughan Williams in between and finally a rather beautiful account of The Lark Ascending with Jonathan Crow playing the solo from high up in the Gallery.  Once upon a time the TSO would do Remembrance Day by performing an appropriate work or works, Britten’s War Requiem for example.  I think that might actually be a more effective way of remembering.

Jonathan Crow_The Lark Ascending (@Jag Gundu)

Continue reading

Opera Atelier’s Médée

There are umpteen operas based more or less closely on the legends surrounding Medea, Jason, the Golden Fleece and the events afterwards in Corinth.  Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s 1693 version to a libretto by Corneille deals with the events in Corinth subsequent to Jason and Medea’s return with the fleece.  The plot, in essentials, is simplicity itself.  Jason is scheming to secure his future, and that of his children, by ditching Médée and marrying the king’s daughter Créuse.  Médée is not having this and wreaks revenge on just about everybody else in the piece.  Somehow Charpentier and Corneille string this out over five acts and the obligatory prologue glorifying Louis XIV, wisely omitted by director Marshall Pynkoski.

medee1

Continue reading

And now, the TSO

tso-music-director-peter-oundjian-photo-credit-sian-richardsHot on the heels of the RCM, the Toronto Symphony has announced its 2017/18 season, whih will be Peter Oundjian’s last as Music Director.  There’s lots of sesquicentennial stuff of course but here’s a summary of the interesting vocal stuff (rock and roll and other children’s music omitted).

September 27,28 and 30, 2017: Brahm’s German Requiem with Erin Wall and Russell Braun.

October 19 and 20, 2017: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Susan Platts and Michael Schade.  This is billed as a Maureen Forrester commemoration.

November 9 and 11, 2017: Jeffrey Ryan’s Afghanistan:Requiem for a Generation with Measha Brueggergosman, Alysson McHardy, Colin Ainsworth and Brett Polegato.

December 16, 19, 20, 22 and 23, 2017: Handel’s Messiah with Karina Gauvin, Kristina Szabó, Frédéric Antoun and Joshua Hopkins.

April 26 and 28, 2018: A concert performance of Bernstein’s Candide with Tracy Dahl, Judith Forst, Nicholas Phan and Richard Suart.

June 2 and 3, 2018: A concert called Water Music with Leslie Ann Bradley singing Dvorak, Schubert and Mozart.

June 28 and 29, 2018:  Peter Oundjian signs off with a Beethoven 9.  Soloists tba.

Full details here.

 

A Play of Passion

playofpassionThis review first appeared in the print edition of Opera Canada.

The latest CD release from the Canadian Art Song Project features four works by Derek Holman. Three song cycles are performed by tenor Colin Ainsworth with Stephen Ralls at the piano. This team presented all three works in a very fine concert at the Four Seasons Centre in October 2014. For the CD Ralls is joined by Bruce Ubukata for the piano duet, Variations on a Melody by Dr. Arne.

Continue reading

Traditional Pirates

Toronto Operetta Theatre opened a run of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance at the Jane Mallett Theatre last night.  Bill Siva-Marin’s production is competent and very traditional with some strong performers in the key roles.  It won’t leave you with any new insights into the piece but it’s a well executed production which is lots of fun and very funny in places.  When I say traditional I mean pirates in pantomime pirate dress, maidens in some stereotypically Victorian maiden garb and a Major General in a cod colonial uniform.  Tnere are the traditional mild updatings to the libretto including a couple of rather well crafted verses in the MG’s patter song that reference the Glorious Leader of our neighbour to the south.  There are also a few nice touches.  In the second act the MG spends much of the time clutching a bust of one of his purchased ancestors and the “catlike tread” scene is noisily anything but.  That said, the choreography and blocking are pretty formulaic though there are some deft touches in the Personenregie.  Mabel’s body language in Oh! Is there not one maiden breast? is worth a look.

pirates

Continue reading

Season announcements

adrianluciaBy an odd coincidence two season announcement pressers hit my in box today; Toronto Operetta Theatre and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.  Toronto Operetta Theatre have four shows:

  • The Waltz Rivals (November 6th at 3pm) is a Léhar and Kálmán greatest hits show featuring Lucia Cesaroni, Adrian Kramer, Holly Chaplin, Stefan Fehr and Greg Finney with Michael Rose at the piano.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance runs from December 27th to January 8th, 2017.  Colin Ainsworth sings Frederic, Vania Chan is Mabel and Curtis Sullivan is the Major General.  Derek Bate conducts and Guillermo Silva-Marin directs.
  • Oscar Straus’ The Chocolate Soldier, based on George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man, runs on April 26th, 28th, 29th and 30th, 2017. Peter Tiefenbach leads the orchestra and the cast includes Jennifer Taverner, Anna Macdonald, Michael Nyby and Stefan Fehr.
  • Finally there’s an Offenbach tribute concert on June 4th 2017.

All performances are at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.

Continue reading