The All Gretchen Show

Yesterday afternoon and evening we heard all sixteen contestants in the preliminary round of the art song competition and the eight semifinalists were announced.  To try and keep things interesting I’m going to do three posts; one on the afternoon, one on the evening and one on the judging and other general observations.  The first was written between the afternoon and evening sessions yesterday and I haven’t updated it with later information.  The second will be based on my notes and I’ll try to ignore who the fact that at time of writing I know the results.  So here’s the first post about yesterday afternoon…

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Trying on The Overcoat

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.

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Whose wearing the Overcoat?

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).

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Collaborations

Lunchtime saw the annual concert featuring visiting members of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal.  It turned into something of a Donizettifest.  First up was soprano Cécile Muhire with Adina’s aria Prendi, per me sei libero.  This was quite competently sung though she seemed very nervous.  The nerves seemed to vanish though when she was joined by her Nemorino, Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, for the duet when he tries the elixir.  One of the things that has always struck me about the Ensemble Studio is how quickly it teaches singers to have stage presence.  J-P was a very funny, rather drunk, Nemorino and his swagger seemed to rub off on Cécile who looked much more at home in this number.

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