Tanya’s Secret is a queer-trans adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. It’s a production by Opéra Queens who seem to be a Montreal based group created during the pandemic and doing their first show in Toronto; in this case at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. Actually it’s not a particularly radical adaptation compared to, say, some of Against the Grain’s transladaptations. It’s sung in Russian (with some Ukrainian interpolations including a Lysenko art song) with subtitles on screens either side of the stage). The plot isn’t really changed at all though the ball scene in Act 3 gets a sort of drag queen competition element. The big change is that some roles are assigned to the “wrong” gender. Tatiana is sung extremely well and acted even better by Mike Fan. Catherine Carew is a strongly sung and impressive Gremin doubling as the very different Madame Larina. Christina Yun’s Lensky is ardent and she makes a nice fist of “Kuda, kuda”. (Who needs tenors?) Oddly this doesn’t really come across as all that radical. The necessary transpositions occasionally create the odd awkward high note but it’s very singable and generally well sung.
This will be a bit of an “odds and sods” round up. First off, check out Natalya Gennadi and Catherine Carew’s latest offering on Natalya’s Youtube channel. The music is very good but the animated effects are amazing. Over at Against the Grain you can see Joel Ivany interviewing HE Adrienne Clarkson who is always interesting to talk to.
There’s an interesting new project on Youtube from Natalya Gennadi and Catherine Carew. It’s called HBD! Project and the idea is to produce a short themed video each month featuring composers whose birthdays fall in that month. The February pilot is online and it’s a bit different from other “shows” in similar vein that I’ve come across. This one features a song by Alban Berg sung by Natalya with a fluffy puppy, music for cello and piano by Jean Coulthard played by Alice Kim and Hye Won Cecilia Lee and Rodney Sharman’s Tobacco Road sung by Catherine. So what’s new you ask (apart from the puppy)? It’s the graphics with Mozart in a party hat, animated Emily Carr paintings and a look for the Sharman that could double as the witches’ scene in Macbeth. Yes it’s a bit weird but oddly compelling.