Opera on wheels

curtainYesterday saw the 21st and final performance for this season for the Bicycle Opera Project; the conclusion of a five week, fourteen city trip around Ontario.  Fittingly for an eco-opera venture it took place at the Evergreen Brickworks in a bare brick and sheet metal industrial setting.The programme consisted of seven pieces; short works or excerpts from longer ones, all by contemporary Canadian composers and scored or rescored by them for the unusual ensemble of keyboards, flute and clarinet that accompanied the singers.

First up was an excerpt from Brian Current’s Airline Icarus. They played the scene where the passengers and stewardess are expressing their hopes and, more vehemently, fears.  It’s an uncomfortably funny scene and it was played here in a more broadly comedic manner than in Tim Albery’s original staging.  That proved very effective as a stand alone especially with most of the audience up so close.  Fine performances from all four singers with Chris Enns as an extremely angsty academic, Stephanie Tritchew flirtatiously displaying her considerable charms and some neat eye rolling from Larissa Koniuk and all anchored by Geoffrey Sirett reprising the role of the Businessman.  I was reminded too what a fine score this is, even in the reduced arrangement used here. Continue reading