This review first appeared in the print edition of Opera Canada.
Moon Loves Its Light is a debut disk by Nova Scotia soprano Allison Angelo accompanied by Australian pianist Simon Docking. It’s a mix of Canadian settings of English language texts; Harry Somers’ Three Songs to texts by Walt Whitman and Lloyd Burritt’s settings of texts from Marilyn Lerch’s Moon Loves Its Light supplemented by individual songs by Ian Bent, Oskar Morawetz and Patrick Cardy, plus songs by Debussy, Hahn, Fauré and Poulenc. Curiously, the two sets; are split up to fit the disk’s division into four sets; Moon, Night, Dreams and Moon.
Last night I went to see Essential Opera’s cheap and cheerful production of Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera. It was a semi staged production in the relatively small Heliconian Hall. Semi-staged in this case meant sung in costume from music stands with very basic blocking. Accompaniment was by Cathy Nosaty on piano and accordion which actually suited the music pretty well.
The singing was good, sometimes very good. Probably the stand out was Laura McAlpine’s Jenny. Of all the singers on display she was the one who seemed most immersed in the sound world of the piece and could vary style and technique appropriately. Erin Bardua’s Lucy Brown was really quite idiomatic too. The others were more consistently operatic which sounded a bit odd in places but worked surprisingly well in, for example David Roth and Heather Jewson’s rather refined refined and bourgeois Peachums. Obviously this approach also worked for the character who are usually sung operatically; Macheath, Brown and Polly for example. The ensembles were all also very effective.