Last night, at Roy Thomson Hall, the TSO presented a two part Mozart program. The first half consisted of pieces from two abandoned opera projects; the buffa Lo sposo deluso and the Singspiel Zaide. The second half consisted of the better known, but incomplete, Mass in C Minor.
Neither opera seems like a huge loss. The plot of Lo sposo deluso is straight out of the catalogue and paper thin though the music shows occasional signs of the qualities that make Marriage of Figaro a masterpiece. Zaide probably has a bit more going for it but the basic plot emerges in much more developed form in Entführung. The excerpts were wittily introduced by the conductor, Paul Goodwin, a most engaging and personable chap, and given competent performances by a quintet of Gordon Bintner, Jean Tessier, Jean-Philippe Fortier Lazure, Hélène Guilmette and Julie Boulianne.
The soloists and orchestra, minus Jean-Phillippe, were joined by the Amadeus Choir and the Elmer Iseler singers for the Mass. The choral contributions were probably the most successful part of the whole endeavour, partly by virtue of some very crisp singing and partly because the hall is so much kinder to the choir than the soloists. The soloists did quite well under the circumstances. Ms. Gullmette sounded very clean in the Kyrie and started out strongly on et incarnatus but the rest of the Credo rather disappeared into the ether. Ms. Bouliane’s pleasingly dark timbre came through well in the Laudamus te and the men’s contributions later in the piece were effective. Mr. Goodwin clearly knows this music intimately and conducted from memory with great enthusiasm getting a suitably Mozartian sound from the orchestra and some real attack, where needed, from the choir.
The program will be repeated on Saturday at 7.30pm, again at Roy Thomson Hall (an abbreviated program), and then Sunday at 3pm at the George Weston Recital Hall in North York.