All’s well that ends well

VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert presented Mozart’s early opera Lucio Silla yesterday at the St. Lawrence Centre.  Inevitably it was in a much reduced version (the original is insanely long) coming in at around two hours and organised into two acts.  Tis left the principals with maybe three arias each plus a few ensemble numbers.  It was presented off book but with a very minimalist production; piano at the centre of an otherwise empty stage, some atmospheric projections, basic blocking and some sort of hybrid of costume and concert wear.  It actually worked rather well.  This is very much a “tell” rather than “show” opera and fancy scenic effects weren’t really required.

luciosilla_oic

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Hosokawa double bill

hosokawaThis year’s featured composer in UoT’s New Music Festival is Toshio Hosokawa.  Last night saw performances of two of his one act operas in Walter Hall in productions by filmmaker Paramita Nath, with the composer in the hall.  The first was a monodrama setting of Poe’s The Raven featuring Kristina Szabó and a student ensemble conducted by Gregory Oh.  It’s an interesting piece.  Hosokawa’s sound world combines the European avant-garde with Japanese elements so it’s unlike anything I’ve heard from a North American composer.  It’s dramatic and atmospheric and works really well with fevered nature of Poe’s text.  He also writes well for the voice with a variety of demands from whispering, through speech to full on singing.  All of this coped with admirably by Szabó who, as ever, seemed perfectly at home with whatever the composer threw at her.

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The Lessons of Love

Last night Toronto Masque Theatre presented a double bill entitled The Lessons of Love.  First up was John Blow’s 1683 masque Venus and Adonis and it was followed by the premier of The Lesson of Da Ji; a fusion of Western and traditional Chinese elements by composer Alice Ping Yee Ho and librettist Marjorie Chan.

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