So this has to be the weirdest opera related thing I’ve seen in a while. It’s a 2005 CBC production of eight very short comic operas (the whole thing only lasts an hour) going through the stages of a relationship from Attraction to Starting Over via Marriage and Murder. The characters are mostly played by actors lip-synching while someone else sings. The music is by Alexina Louie and the libretto by Canadian comic, Dan Redican. Each piece is introduced by Redican as a mad toast scientist and the cast includes some of the best known names in Canadian theatre and opera including Colm Fiore, Isabel Bayrakdarian and Russell Braun. It sounds like a great idea but unfortunately it’s pretty ordinary. The music is mostly dull but it livens up a bit when it’s more obviously pastiche. The humour is a bit lame though the piece about a woman slicing her husband’s head off then disembowelling and liquidizing him for leaving the toilet seat up has its moments; especially her acquittal by an all female jury. Also you get to hear Isabel Bayrakdarian sing about kitty litter and Russell Braun do a version of Der Hölle Rache.
All in all, it’s as Canadian as moose jokes and about as funny.
ETA February 1, 2016
So it’s been four years since I last watched this and the funny thing is that in that time I’ve come to know, one way or another, most of the singers involved in this thing who include Michael Colvin, Krisztina Szabó, Shannon Mercer, Peter McGillivray, Barbara Hannigan and Doug McNaughton. It does make it more fun but I guess that doesn’t really work for a general audience. It also makes me a bit baffled about who got to be played by an actor and who got to sing and act. There are some pretty good actors involved here who never get seen.