Seeing both operas
Had I only attended one of the two operas, I'm pretty sure that I would have been less satisfied with my overall experience. Like I mentionned, if I'm gonna be travelling outside of Montreal, I'm gonna try and get as much opera in my plans as possible. And although both operas are love stories with happy endings, they are different in so many ways! And they complement each other too. The Elixir of Love is Italian opera at its best, and the COC did not try to modernize it too much. Themes in opera are often translated to fit our modern society, however this production was set at the turn of the 20th century. So modern, but with a trendy vintage touch! Compared to Arabella, which had a My Fair Lady circa 1860 feel to it; the set and the costumes, in their greyish tones, was like watching a black and white movie. It was more serious than The Elixir; I mean that story could have gone so wrong so quickly! Had Mandryka been a touch more impulsive, everyone would have surely died. Plus, because it is a contemporary opera, the music is completely different than Donizetti's. You don't walk out of the hall with a musical worm, but you still feel drawn to at least try to sing an excerpt. Or the closest thing to an excerpt that you can hum.
Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro is often the go-to trouser role. If there is one place that seems to accept cross-dressing, it's opera. And Jane Archibald performed Zdenka (Zdenko) to a T. âYou could feel her innocence as she suffered when Matteo would only talk about her sister Arabella. Yet, she loved her sister oh so dearly. Not quite naive, simply wishing the best to the ones she loves most. Jane was true to her character's feelings throughout the entire performance, absolutely in sync during duets with Erin Wall (Arabella). The COC is incredibly fortunate to have a singer of this calibre performing throughout their 2017-2018 season as COC Artist-in-Residence. I certainly cannot wait to see her again on stage for The Abduction from the Seraglio by Mozart.
the haji-osborne-bintner trio
I loved everything about these three. They're young, they're Canadian, and they're graduates from the COC Ensemble Studio program. It is unquestionably amazing that the COC hires their graduates, having now reached the appropriate level of quality to star in their productions. Andrew Haji is such a sweet Nemorino, you just want to hug him and comfort him! He does not let you down during the most popular aria of the opera, Una furtiva lagrima. Well-known opera excerpts are difficult to perform, not necessarily because of their technical complexity, but rather the public's expectations of the performance. And the audience on Saturday night was completely swept away!
Completing my Opera trip with these musts!
See you soon Toronto!