Perhaps not unexpectedly the Metropolitan Opera has announced the cancellation of the balance of their 2020/21 season. They took the opportunity to announce the 2021/22 season at the same time. It’s quite interesting. There’s the first opera by an African-American composer; Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Looks like an all African American cast for that and the co-director and choreography is also African-American. There’s also Brett Dean’s Hamlet in the Glyndebourne production and with most of the Glyndebourne cast but not Barbara Hannigan. Brenda Rae sings Ophelia. I’m curious to see how the “surround sound” elements of Dean’s music work in such a big house. There’s also Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice that premiered in Los ngeles in February and was thus probably the last new major opera before the storm hit. So three new(ish) operas in one season. I don’t think I’ve seen that from the Met before.
New comic operas are rare. New comic operas that are actually funny are vanishingly rare. The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring is such a beast. It’s a new piece with music by James Rolfe and a libretto by Morris Panych derived from his twenty year old stage adaptation of Gogol’s short story. Originally commissioned by Tapestry Opera, the Toronto staging was under the joint auspices of that company and Canadian Stage with the work also to be staged by co-producer Vancouver Opera as part of their summer festival.
Casting has now been announced for The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring; an opera by Morris Panych and James Rolfe based on Gogol’s short story by way of Panych’s 1990s theatrical version. The opera is a co-production of Vancouver Opera, Tapestry Opera and Canadian Stage and will premiere in Toronto’s Bluma Appel Theatre (March 29th to April 14th) before heading to the Vancouver Playhouse (April 28th to May 12th).
So the rumours have been around for a while but today the big announcement about Tapestry’s major project for 2017/18 went public. It’s a joint production with Canadian Stage and Vancouver Opera of an operatic version of Morris Panych’s adaptation of Gogol’s The Overcoat which, as a stage play, won critical acclaim in 1998. The music is by James Rolfe and it will premiere at the Bluma Appel Thaetre in March 2018 before moving to the Vancouver Playhouse as part of the second Vancouver Opera Festival. The idea originated in the 2014 LibLab which produced a very funny scene of a hapless customer being beaten senseless by his tailors. (something that should have happened to Cheetoh Benito long ago).
There were two big 2015/16 season announcements yesterday. On the west coast Vancouver Opera unveiled a four production season. there’s fairly conventional fare; Verdi’s Rigoletto (d) Nancy Hermiston (c) Jonathan Darling and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (d) Michael Cavanagh. Less conventionally they are offering Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. It’s about conflict in a breakaway Mormon community. Anthony Tommasini gave the original production a somewhat mixed review in the NYT but it sounds like it’s not without interest. It’s presented here in a new production by Amiel Gladstone and Kinza Tyrrell will conduct. Rounding out the season is Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Evita in a production by Kelly Robinson. Casting information is sparse but Simone Osborne will sing Gilda in the Rigoletto.
Just in! Soprano Simone Osborne replaces Layla Claire in the Coast Salish themed Magic Flute at Vancouver Opera opening March 9th. Simone will sing five of the six performances with Rachel Fenlon singing the final show. Simone’s recent stay in Scotland should have got her suitably acclimatized to lots of grey, rainy days. It’s apparently sung in English and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ so I hope her hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ is in good shape.
She’ll join, among others, recent Met debutante Joshua Hopkins as Papageno, Teiya Kasahara as the Queen of the Night and the guaranteed to be hilarious Michael Barrett as Monostatos.