Lend me a tenor

ramirezThe saga of “Where in the world is Roberto Devereux?” at the COC continues.  Originally Giuseppe Filianoti was slated to sing the title role in the seven show run that began April 25th.  At some point, some while ago, it was announced that Leonardo Capalbo would sing the first three performances; which he did to some acclaim.  During the week the rumour mill started grinding with news that cover Edgar Ernesto Ramírez would sing tomorrow night’s show and, a bit later, that Filianoti was out completely.  All this has now been confirmed.  Mexican born Toronto resident Ramirez will sing tomorrow and then Spanish tenor José Bros will complete the run (or at least that’s the plan).  It’s a great break for Ramírez and we wish him luck.

Revisiting Devereux

Devereux-MC-0489-490I went back for a second look at Roberto Devereux at the COC last night.  My original impressions pretty much stand but this time I remembered my opera glasses and was able to focus more on some of the details of this quite intricate production.  I do still struggle a bit with the music.  There’s this jaunty little tune (doo de doo doo doo doo dooo) that crops up all the time and often at the least emotionally appropriate moments and there’s the interminable overture and thank goodness for Lawless’ allegorical prelude because listening to it in front of a closed curtain would have been intolerable.  Still, the drama was pretty intense and Sondra Radvanovsky has, if anything, grown into the role.  The last scene, portraying the dying queen’s emotional disintegration is worth the price of admission.  I also got more of a sense of Russell Braun and Allyson McHardy being in role and having developed some chemistry that was a bit absent on opening night.

There are four more peerformances between now and May 21st with Giuseppe Filianoti now replacing the excellent Leonardo Capalbo in the title role.

Photo credit – Michael Cooper

Not a potato in sight

clemenzaToday’s MetHD broadcast was Mozart’s last, and arguably best, opera La Clemenza di Tito.  J-P Ponnelle’s production has been around for a while and offers nothing to offend traditionalists.  There’s not a baked potato, muscle suit or child sacrifice in sight.  The set, maybe more Italian Renaissance than Imperial Rome is elegant, undistracting and very singer friendly.  The costumes are a rather eclectic mix of late 17th century and Republican Rome with a bit of Lady Capulet thrown in but only the black number with the big panniers that Vitellia gets in Act 2 would excite much comment.  Direction then focuses rather on the characters and their relationships.

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