7 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 4 - December 2007

On Operaby Christopher

On Operaby Christopher HaileIn December and January, Toronto is awash in musicals, not myusual cup of tea. But one of these, Stephen Sondheim's 1985musical "Sweeney Todd," may hold some appeal for opera-goers,and has been produced as an opera by numerous opera housesaround the world, including the Royal Opera House, CoventGarden. This touring production, directed by John Doyle, bestknown as an opera director, is in town until December 9 at thePrincess of Wales Theatre, and is highly unusual because the singersand orchestra are one, each singer playing up to three differentinstruments on stage to accompany themselves and others. Theremarkable result enhances both the alienation effect built into thestory and the general atmosphere of a world gone mad.www first new , strictly operatic offering in December is a real rarity,Opera in Concert's Canadian premiere of the comic opera "Die DreiPintos" by Carl Maria von Weber and Gustav Mahler on December2 at 2:30pm. How did composers from opposite ends of the 19thcentury come to write this work? Weber began work on "Die DreiPintos" in 1820, but abandoned the piece in 1824 having leftsketches for seventeen numbers. Weber's grandson Carl inherited thesketches and brought them and his ideas for a new libretto to theyoung Gustav Mahler, who completed the work. It premiered in1888. Opera in Concert's General Director Guillermo Silva-Marinsays, "I first became acquainted with it at the Aspen Festival when Imyself sang one of the roles. It's marvellously inventive and givesus a brilliant look at the mischievous side of a man most noted forserious and high-minded operas" . Daniel Lichti, James McClennanand Eric Shaw are the three Pintos, two characters impersonating athird, all competing for the same woman, Clarissa, sung by EmilyDuncan Brown. It will be sung in German with English surtitles.www .operainconcert. corn.Toronto Operetta Theatrewill ring in the NewYear with "The Count ofLuxembourg" (1909) byFranz Lehar. Writtenfour years after hisworldwide hit "TheMerry Widow" , thiswork still lies fully withinthe realm of comedybefore Lehar began topush Viennese operettainto the tragic mode.Running December 28,2007 to January 6, 2008,it stars Keith Klassen,Elizabeth Beeler andPrevious incarnation: Toronto Operetta Theatre's artistic director GuillermoSilva-Marin and Cristen Gregory in TOT's 1985 production of THE COUNTOF LUXEMBOURG..t).....0tQJ.....i5u·.:::;v,'E

Michel Corbeil. Anne Allan directs and Kevin Mallon conducts theTOT Orchestra. www.torontooperetta.comAnd finally, as noted by Jason van Eyk in Some Thing New (page12), you can begin the New Year with a new full-length opera,"Opera on the Rocks" by David Ogborn, January 6 and 7, playingat the Pauper's Pub, 539 Bloor St. West. "Ambient opera", Ogborncalls it since "it takes place in an everyday environment-the barthatwe are claiming or reclaiming for art." The audience can relax,eat and drink while the piece moves around them-and the operaworks with the natural characteristics of the space, acoustically,physically, etc." The work's libretto, consisting of comic stories ofeveryday success and defeat is by four authors-Leanna Brodie,Dave Carley, Lisa Coddrington and Krista Dalby (all graduates,along with Ogborn, of Tapestry's famed fall "Lib/Lab"). Theperformers are Alex Dobson, Carla Huhtanen, Keith Klassen andJessica Lloyd with Ogborn on electronically modifiedclassical guitar. Directed by Liza Balkan, it is part of the CanadianMusic Centre's New Music in New Places ends on a more traditionalnote with the COC'sproduction of Puccini's"Tosca," January 26-February23, starring Eszter Siimegi,Mikhail Agafonov and AlanOpie. The new production is bythe British team of Paul Curran,Kevin Knight and David MartinJacques, who created the COC'sexciting "Lady Macbeth ofMtsensk" earlier this year.Attention: Opera SingersDo you have a dream rolethat you want orneed to perform?ll 1s easier than you think!More info: www.OperabyRequest.caopel'"~ by l'"equestDireclor Wilham ShookhoH..,.,.C Laidlaw~ FoundationDECEMBER 1 2007 - FEBRUARY 7 2008Tu, c......,,.Co111

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