Cherubini’s Médée is a French opéra comique (i.e. with spoken dialogue) which premiered in March 1797. It’s based on Euripides by way of Corneille whose Médée of 1635 was written, as one might expect, in alexandrines. So its roots, and the work itself, are very much in the French classical tradition. The complication is that the work is much better known in its Italian version with sung recitatives (not authorised by Cherubini) and has developed as a “show off” vehicle for star sopranos; notably Maria Callas and, more recently, Sondra Radvanovsky. Along the way it’s lost a lot of its classicism and become almost verismo like. So I was intrigued to see how much Guillermo Silva-Marin, in presenting the work “in concert” at the St. Lawrence Centre, would try, and how much he would succeed, in reclaiming the Cherubini of a Paris tipping from revolution to Bonaparte.
Tag Archives: moodie
All’s well that ends well
VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert presented Mozart’s early opera Lucio Silla yesterday at the St. Lawrence Centre. Inevitably it was in a much reduced version (the original is insanely long) coming in at around two hours and organised into two acts. Tis left the principals with maybe three arias each plus a few ensemble numbers. It was presented off book but with a very minimalist production; piano at the centre of an otherwise empty stage, some atmospheric projections, basic blocking and some sort of hybrid of costume and concert wear. It actually worked rather well. This is very much a “tell” rather than “show” opera and fancy scenic effects weren’t really required.
A Waltz Dream
Oscar Straus’ A Waltz Dream opened last night in a Toronto Operetta theatre production at the St. Lawrence Centre. The piece premiered in Vienna in 1907 and soon became a huge international hit with various English versions appearing quite early on. The version given by TOT appears to be a 1970s version with book by Michael Flanders, Edmund Tracey and Bernard Dunn and the music adapted and arranged by Ronald Hanmer.
Lesson in Forgetting
Emma Haché’s Lesson in Forgetting (translated by Taliesin McEnaney and John Van Burek) is an exploration of memory, amnesia and love. It;’s currently playing in a production by Pleiades Theatre directed by Ash Knight at the Young Centre. The basic premise is that HE (Andrew Moodie) has suffered head injuries that mean the only thing he can remember is how much he loves SHE (Ma-Ann Dionisio). She visits him every day to work on his memory issues but it’s obviously hopeless and eventually, wanting to be free to continue her own life, she tries to leave him but can’t.
A Northern Lights Dream
A Northern Lights Dream is a new operetta by Michael Rose which premiered this last week at Toronto Operetta Theatre in a production directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin. A new operetta is a very rare thing. It;’s just not a form that contemporary composers seem to take to. There’s far too much spoken dialogue for an opera but the musical language; mostly tonal, often quite beautiful but not afraid to get more abrasive when appropriate, is much closer to that of contemporary opera than musical theatre. So an operetta it is.