Beautiful Helen

Offenbach’s La belle Hélène, given in English translation, opened at Toronto Operetta Theatre last night.  The production by Guillermo Silva-Marin is an uncomplicated and fast paced romp.  There a few cuts.  The scene with Orestes and his girls for instance is gone and the dialogue, as is the norm, is gently updated with a Facebook reference and an allusion to a certain orange real estate magnate.

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Inadvertently omitted

La Belle HeleneIn my April Round up I inadvertently omitted Toronto Operetta Theatre’s upcoming production of Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène which plays April 27th to 29th at the Jane Mallet.  It’s a good looking cast including Beste Kalender, Adam Fisher and Lynn Isnar.  Guillermo Silva-Marin directs and Peter Tiefenbach conducts.  Those few days at the end of the month are insane but it’s probably worth trying to fit this one in.

I due Figaro

Mercadante’s I due Figaro(1) is one of a number of operas that continue the story of Figaro, Almaviva etc into a third instalment.  It sets a libretto by Felice Romani based on Les deux Figaro by Honoré-Antoine Richaud Martelly.  It premiered in Madrid in 1835 but was lost for many years before being rediscovered in 2009 and given at the 2011 Ravenna Festival.  Yesterday in got its Canadian premier at VOICEBOX:Opera in Concert.

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Singing Stars: The Next Generation

Last night saw the culminating concert of the IRCPA’s Encounter program.  It wasn’t exactly a competition as the winner of the Career Blueprint Award had already been decided but not announced.  Still, it had the air of a competition with ten singers each offering an aria accompanied by the ubiquitous Rachel Andrist.  It was also being broadcast live on 96.3FM so we got the full on Zoomerplex treatment which is not far short of having flashing signs that say “Applaud Now!!”  It’s the price one pays for getting young singers media exposure I guess.

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Best shot I could get. Most of the singers are visible.

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Another take on The Rape of Lucretia

The Toronto Summer Music Festival continued last night with a one off performance of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at The Winter Gardens, the upstairs part of the Elgin Theatre that I had never before been in.  The production originated in a Banff Centre/Against the Grain/COC joint project directed by Paul Curran but was recreated here in semi-staged form by Anna Theodosakis.  It was on the “quite close to staged” end of the spectrum so, although the band was on stage behind the action and there was no scenery or curtain it came off as much more than a concert in costume.

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And so it begins

teiyaSo, after the rather scattered events of the summer last night’s fundraiser for Opera 5 at Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu felt like the start of a new season.  It was well attended and organised in an intriguing and fun format.  Basically, Team Day and Team Night were competing to see who could raise the most money.  There were four rounds in which a singer from each team presented an aria, song or MT number.  The one with the most pledges got to sing his or her “show off” aria.  For an additional donation, the loser got to do the same.  Given that some of the city’s best young singers were performing it was to be expected that it was a good show.

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Charming Vixen from the Glenn Gould School

ggsopera3_365sq_0This year’s opera offering from the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory is Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen.  It’s a pretty good choice for a student production with a wide variety of roles and it’s a great vehicle for showing off  the excellent Royal Conservatory Orchestra.  The school has chosen to present the work in English translation which probably makes sense given the difficulties of training a whole new cast in Czech even though it somewhat undermines the composer’s extremely tight linkage of text and music.

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