The line up for Voicebox: Opera in Concert has been announced for the 2019/20 season. There are four shows:
The season opens on Sunday, October 20, 2019, with a double bill by Maurice Ravel, L’enfant et les sortileges and L’heure Espagnole. It’s a common pairing and often a very funny one. It’s piano score with Suzy Smith playing., The cast includes Holly Chaplin, Anika-France Forget, Danlie Rae Acebuque and Joshua Clemenger.
Sunday, December 1st, 2019 sees some welcome Janáček. We don’t see near enough of his work in Toronto. This time its Katya Kabanova. It’s not the jolliest of pieces but it’s musically and dramatically top drawer. The cast includes Lynn Isnar, Emilia Boteva, Michael Barrett and Cian Horrobin with Jo Greenaway at the piano.
There’s a remount of Charles M. Wilson’s Kamouraska, premiered by OiC in 2009, on Sunday, February 16th, 2020. It’s based on Anne Hebert’s novel about a tumultuous love triangle that plays out near a village in Quebec, with tragic consequences. The cast includes Jennifer Taverner , Aaron Dimoff and Matt Chittick. Robert Cooper leads the orchestra, cast and chorus.
The season closes on Sunday, April 5, 2020, with snobbery with violets in the form of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. The cast includes Sally Dibblee, Romulo Delgado aand Geneviève Lévesque Narmina Afandiyeva at the piano.
Apparently the Amazonas Festival is on this year which means a chance to see opera in the perhaps the world’s most unlikely opera house, the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, 1000 miles up the Amazon. Iain Scott of IS Opera Tours is looking to organise a trip, if there is enough interest, to see Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur in Manaus on the evening of Friday 27th May with a couple of days sightseeing either side. Basically the deal is that you get yourself to Manaus and Iain organises accommodation, sightseeing, opera tickets etc. Anyone up for an unusual opera adventure should contact Iain for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, Sondra made a live broadcast for 96.3 FM at lunchtime today. It was one of those media things where the audience was aggressively stage managed by the floor staff but otherwise quite enjoyable. Also there was lunch which was a definite plus. What was a bit annoying was the overall vibe of “fitting opera into the programming for old folks”. Way to build a new audience there!
The performance was varied and interesting with Sondra on good form and the ever reliable Rachel Andrist on piano. There was no printed progrmme or lyric sheets so I’m going from my hastily scribbled notes but we got some Rachmaninov songs, which suited Sondra really well plus arias from Trovatore, Norma, Tosca and Andrea Chenier plus a Verdi song, Copland’s Simple Gifts and I could have danced all night. Nothing if not varied! It’s interesting how dropping from big opera rep to something like the Copland can be astonishingly effective. Simplicity and lack of artifice has it’s charms. And, yes, I want to hear her Norma and, if rumour is half way correct, probably will in the not too distant future.
Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur isn’t performed very often and, when it is, it’s usually because some great diva of the day wants to do it. That’s the case with the 2010 Covent Garden production which was created by David McVicar for Angela Gheorghiu. Actually I am a bit surprised it’s not done more often. It’s not a great masterpiece but it’s no worse than a great many commonly done pieces and, if the plot is a bit implausible, it’s not as offensive as half of Puccini’s output. I would have thought it would have great appeal to that opera middle ground to which I don’t belong.