Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera, which is currently playing at Meridian Hall, takes Roger Waters’ words from the original album The Wall and sets them to music by Julien Bilodeau which is new but based on the original melodic lines. The stage production, conceived and directed by Dominic Champagne, is flashy (often literally) and makes extensive use of projections. There’s a decent cast of Canadian singers (including Nathan Keoughan, France Bellemare, Caroline Bleau, and Jean-Michel Richer), a rather good chorus and a symphony sized orchestra all conducted by Alain Trudel. It’s loud, expensive looking and in your face. On paper all the elements of a sort of cross-over opera spectacular are there but they simply don’t come together.
Every year the COC Ensemble Studio engages in an exchange programme with the Atelier Lyrique of L’Opéra de Montréal. Each year that results in a joint lunchtime recital in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. It seems to be a popular gig. The doors were closed today at 11.40 for the noon performance (it’s first come, first served). Thankfully, writing this stuff gets me a reserved seat or I would have missed out. The show is always worth seeing because it’s not at all unusual for the best singers from the Montreal programme to move onto the Ensemble Studio.