Mozart’s La finta giardiniera is pretty thin stuff. The libretto is dreadful. The fits of madness start before the opera gets going when Count Belfiore tries to murder his fiancée Marchioness Violante. She runs off and becomes a gardener aided by her man-servant Roberto. There’s another gardener, Sarpetta, who is being wooed by Roberto (alias Nardo) and Violante’s (now Sandrina) boss the mayor has a niece, Arminda, who now plans to marry Belfiore to the dismay of her former lover Ramiro. And along the way the mayor, Don Anchise, gets the hots for Sandrina. Throw in a whole lot of confusion about Sandrina/Violante’s identity (because she keeps claiming that she’s not Violante or is just pretending to be Violante depending who she is talking to) and it’s no wonder that everyone goes mad at least once. Frankly the audience has every right to as well. And there’s three hours of this. The music is OK. It’s Mozart at 18 and he’s writing to a formula most of the time. So we get workmanlike but predictable arias and ensembles that only occasionally hint at what is to come in the later operas.
The operatic forces of Teatro Reggio di Torino are on a four city tour of North America. Last night, at Roy Thomson Hall, they performed a concert version of Rossini’s Guglielmo Tell. It was strictly concert style without any of the “semi staging” touches that are normal here so just music stands at the front of the stage and concert dress. It’s in some ways a very odd way to experience a piece like this because some of the most dramatic scenes aren’t sung but are accompanied by the orchestra. Take the canonical scene where Tell shoots the arrow off his son’s head. We get the build up and it’s fairly obvious what the hushed orchestra is all about and then we get the chorus announcing basically “Gee by golly, he did it”. Maybe the supertitles could be used as a commentary track at such points? Continue reading →
This Sunday sees the first of the season for Recitals at Rosedale. Entitled A Walk on the Dark Side: Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales, it will feature soprano Leslie Ann Bradley, mezzo soprano Allyson McHardy and baritone Geoff Sirett with pianists Robert Kortgaard and Rachel Andrist. The programme features works by Mahler, Debussy, Symanowski, Weil, Gershwin and more. It’s on November 9th at 2.30 pm at Rosedale Presbyterian Church and tickets are available here.