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Volume 13 - Issue 7- April 2008

I FOCUS IOn Operaby

I FOCUS IOn Operaby Christopher HaileOver the past few years we havewatched as opera production in SouthernOntario has grown by huge amounts.April, in its position at the end of thespring season, has increasingly becomethe one month in the year when the greatestnumber of productions are on offer.Here are eleven different April productions,listed chronologically, covering thehistory of music theatre from the l 7thcentury to the present:1695: The Indian Queen. Henry Purcell'ssemi-opera The Indian Queen willbe presented by Toronto Masque Thea-tre April 24-26. The historical fantasy by SirRobert Howard (1664), revised as a semioperaby John Dryden, takes place in pre­Conquest Mexico and Peru and includesMontezuma as a character. Purcell's lastwork for the stage, The Indian Queen wascompleted after his death by his youngerbrother Daniel. Directed by Derek Boyeswith choreography by Marie-Nathalie Lacoursiere,it stars soprano Meredith Hall andtenor Daniel Auchincloss. Larry Beckwithleads a period instrument band from the violin.www .torontomasquetheatre.ca1781: ldomeneo. Opera Atelier expands itsMozart repertoire with this opera seria,written when Mozart was 24, about the aftermathof the Trojan War. The cast includesCroatian tenor Kresimir Spicer (ldomeneo),Peggy Kriha Dye (Ilia), American malesoprano Michael Maniaci (Idamante) andCurtis Sullivan (Neptune). The big news isthat Measha Brueggergosman will sing Elettra,her Mozart operatic debut, and her debutwith Opera Atelier. Andrew Parrott conductsmusicians of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra,and OA Artistic Dirctor Marshall Pynkoskidirects. Idomeneo runs April 26-May 3 atthe Elgin Theatre. www .operaatelier.com1786: The Marriage of Figaro. There aretwo productions of this Mozart favourite inApril. The first is presented by students ofthe Royal Conservatory of Music April 4-10.www.rcmusic.ca.The second production of Figaro in Aprilcomes from the Brampton Lyric Opera onApril 19 at Brampton's new Rose Theatre's800-seat Main Hall. The cast includes AndrewTees (Figaro), Andrew Bolton (Alma viva),Tina Winter (The Countess), SandraTucker (Susanna) and Jennifer Fina(Cherubino). It is conducted by ChristopherBurton and directed by Penelope Cookson.www .bramptonlyricopera.ca1816: The Barber of Seville. Not only arethere two productions of Mozart's Figaro,but this April allows one to see both famousMeas ha Bmeggergosman as Elettra in Opera Atelier's staging ofMozart's ldomeneo, Apr 26-May 3 at the Elgin Theatre .Figaro operas in the same week. Pierre­Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-89)wrote three plays with Figaro as a centralcharacter-"Le Barbier de Seville" (1773),"Le Mariage de Figaro" (1778) and "LaMere coupable" (1792). Confusingly, Mozart'sopera is based on the second play andRossini's later opera on the first. The thirdhas inspired operas by Darius Milhaud (1966)and John Corigliano (1991). The CanadianOpera Company production is directed byMichael Patrick Albano and conducted byMiguel Harth-Bedoya with Rodion Pogossov(Figaro), Enkelejda Shkosa (Rosina), BlagojNacoski (Almaviva) and Patrick Carfizzi(Bartolo). There are eleven performancesfrom April 16-May 23. www.coc.ca1879: Eugene Onegin. In repertory at theCOC with Rossini is Tchaikovsky's mostpopular opera Eugene Onegin with a librettoby Konstantin Shilovsky, based on AleksandrPushkin's celebrated verse novel of 1828. Itfeatures Giselle Allen (Tatyana), Brett Polegato(Onegin), Daniil Shtoda (Lensky) AllysonMcHardy (Olga) and Alexander Kisselev(Prince Gremin). Strasbourg's Opera duRhin production is directed by Marco ArturoMarelli and conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong.It runs April 2-30. www .coc.ca.1882: The Snow Maiden. A nice complementto the Tchaikovsky is The Snow Maiden("Snegurochka") by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,who wrote his own libretto based on the1873 play by Aleksandr Ostrovsky which wasin turn inspired by a well-known Russianfairy tale. Snegurochka, daughter of FatherFrost and Spring, falls in love with the mortalLei', while mortal Mizgir falls in love withher. As one might expect from operas likeSemele and Rusalka, pairings between mortalsand immortals seldom work out. TheOpera in Concert presentation is sung inRussian with English surtitles and featuresLuiza Zhuleva (Snegurochka), KaterinaTchoubar (Kupava), Michael Meraw (Mizgir),and Paul Williamson (Tsar Berendey),with Raisa Nakhmamovich as music directorand pianist, April 6 at 2:30.www.operainconcert.com1885: The Mikado. The late19th century was not onlythe time for operas based onmyth and fairy tale or oneveryday life, but was alsothe end of the golden age ofoperetta. Gilbert and Sullivanwere the pinnacle ofoperetta in English and TheMikado instantly becameand still is the most popularof their fourteen collaborations.It has become one ofthe staples of British andAmerican opera houses.Jonathan Miller's versionset not in Japan but at aBritish seaside resort in the1920s is still a hit at theEnglish National Opera. Toronto OperettaTheatre's latest production runs April 20-27and features Peter McCutcheon, MicheleBogdanowicz with Gerald Isaac as the reluctantexecutioner Koko. Julian Wachner conductsand Guillermo Silva-Marin directs.www . torontooperetta. corn1953: Wonderful Town. Two of the fourmusicals on offer at the Stratford and ShawFestivals this season strangely enough wereDeanna Hendriks and Laird Mackintosh inTOT's recent production of Earnest, TheImportance of Being. TOT presents TheMikado April 20-27.both revived by the New York City Opera in1988. Wonderful Town, the musical LeonardBernstein wrote just before West Side Story,with lyrics by Betty Comden and AdolfGreen, is based on a book by Joseph Fieldsand Jerome Chodorov. The book is itselfbased on Fields' and Chodorov's play "MySister Eileen" and on the stories of Ruth8WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMAPRIL 1 - M AY 7 2008

McKenny and tells the story of two Ohio sistersseeking their fortune in the New York of1935 . The Shaw Festival production starsChilina Kennedy and Lisa Horner as the sistersand is directed by Roger Hodgman and conductedby Paul Sportelli. Previews begin April1 and the show runs May 24 to Octobert 5.www.shawfest.com1957: The Music Man. The Stratford Festivalis mounting its second production of MeredithWillson's greatest hit. Directed by Susan H.Schulman and conducted by Berthold Carriere,it features several singers who have sung operain the past, like Laird Mackintosh (with OperaAtelier), Marcus Nance (with Tapestry) andChristina Gordon (the famous Katisha of Stratford'sMikado). Actor Jonathan Goad is HaroldHill, the charming huckster who claims he canbring music to the wayward youth of RiverCity, Iowa. Previews begin April 26, and theshow runs May 28 to Nov. 1. www .stratfordfestival.on.ca2006: Elijah 's Kite. This Canadian opera foryoung people by James Rolfe set to a librettoby Camyar Chai premiered in New York Cityin 2006. A co-production between the ManhattanSchool of Music and Tapestry New OperaWorks, it is one of only a handful of Canadianoperas ever to premiere in New YorkCity. The piece explores the issues of bullying,friendship , loneliness and self-image. Over thepast two years Tapestry has brought Elijah'sChoreograph ancers fromGeorge Brown Dance/ Ballet Jorgen CanadaYork University Dance ProgramradHumber College Theatre Performance ProgramThe Swansea School of DanceAfroculture feaLUring Aclwoa & Fule BadoeCONTINUESWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM

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