Opera 5’s Barber of Seville

Opera 5 opened a run of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Factory Theatre last night.  It’s arguably the most conventional thing Opera 5 have done.  It’s a (very) mainstream piece.  There was no accompanying themed food or drink (a glass of Rotsina?).  There was no audience participation.  There weren’t even Aria Umezawa’s characteristically minimalist touches.  What there was a carefully constructed Barber for reduced forces directed by new Artistic Director Jessica Derventzis and conducted by Evan Mitchell.

O5 Barber #2_preview

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Opera 5’s Ethel Smyth double bill

SUFFDetails are now available for Opera 5’s double bill Suffragette featuring the works of Dame Ethel Smythe.  The show will feature two works; Fête Galante, a rather grim “dance dream”, in a somewhat Stravinskian style, and the feminist opera The Boatswain’s Mate, which makes extensive use of folksong tunes.  In her day Smythe tended to be written off by the critics for being too masculine so it will be interesting to see how the works have fared with time.

The cast features Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon, mezzo-soprano Eugenia Dermentzis, soprano Alexandra Smither and tenor Kevin Myers. The show is being led by an all-women production team, headed by Opera 5 Production Manager and Stage Director, Jessica Derventzis (absolutely not to be confused with Dermentzis); Production Designer Erin Gerofsky; and Lighting Designer Jennifer Lennon. Evan Mitchell will conduct with a chamber orchestra performing composer-original reductions.

Suffragette will play at Theatre Passe Muraille, Mainspace – 16 Ryerson Ave, Toronto on June 22-24 at 7.30pm and June 25 at 6pm.

Tickets: At the door, online: www.opera5.ca/suffragettetix or phone: 416-504-7529.
More Info including complete cast and production team: www.opera5.ca/suffragette

Opera 5 have created some of the most interesting and innovative low budget opera in the city in the last few years so I would definitely recommend trying to see this show.

Where there’s a Will

So the Toronto Summer Music Festival continued last night with a Shakespeare themed show called A Shakespeare Serenade.  Curated and directed by Patrick Hansen of McGill it fell into two parts.  Before the interval we got Shakespeare scenes acted out and then the equivalent scene from an operatic adaptation of the play.  After the interval it was a mix of Sonnets and song settings in an overall staging that was perhaps riffing off The Decameron.  Patrick Hansen and Michael Shannon alternated at the piano.

Shakespeare-45

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Joan Sutherland on form

A while back I reviewed the train wreck that is the CBC recording of Joan Sutherland in Norma. Three years later the Canadian Opera Company and the CBC tried again with a recording of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. As a recording and a production it has its limitations but it’s not a disaster and is enjoyable in many ways.

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