La Scena Musicale

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Week in Toronto (April 18 - 24)

Frederique Vezina (Mimi) and David Pomeroy (Rodolfo) in COC's La boheme
Photo: Michael Cooper
The Canadian Opera Company's spring season is in full swing, with Simon Boccanegra and La boheme taking turns at the Four Season's Centre this week. I attended the second performance of Boccanegra on Tuesday, and was very impressed by the production overall, and particularly by Italian baritone Paolo Gavanelli, who has a true Verdi baritone, even and smooth in production (albeit with a slight tremolo that comes and goes). He totally dominated the stage, and Boccanegra is on stage about 80% of the opera! Of the other principals, I thought the best was Mikhail Agafonov as Gabriele. He isn't the most sublte of artists, but he sure has his money notes! The Covent Garden production is lovely, and Italian conductor Guadarini made an auspicious debut. This show is not to be missed.

Yesterday was the opening night of La boheme, which unfortunately conflicted with Renee Fleming at Roy Thomson Hall. But I am going to Boheme tomorrow and will have more to report. I spoke to a couple of friends who attended the opening and they enjoyed it, even though it was a revival of the ancient - and rather threadbare - Skalici production with three intermissions. But the singing of the youthful (mostly) Canadian cast made up for it. I look forward to seeing it tomorrow.



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