Home     Content     Articles      La Scena Musicale     Search   

La Scena Musicale - Vol. 18, No. 1 September 2012

Vocal Music

by Joseph So / September 1, 2012

Version française...

Flash version here.

The fall is always an exciting time for opera lovers as companies compete to present their best to open the season. This being a “Verdi Year”, Opéra de Montréal is presenting La Traviata with the charismatic Greek soprano Myrto Papatanasiu as Violetta, arguably her signature role. Franco Zeffirelli specifically chose her as his ideal Violetta over another soprano for his Rome production two years ago. Alfredo is Italian tenor Roberto Di Biasio, and baritone Luca Grassi sings the Elder Germont. OdeM is also making an infrequent foray into Wagner with Der fliegende Hollander. The superb cast includes German baritone Thomas Gazheli (Dutchman), German spinto soprano Maida Hundeling (Senta), and Bayreuth tenor Endrik Wottrich (Erik). The provocative Christopher Alden/COC production that proved controversial in Toronto will be remounted for OdeM by Marilyn Gronsdal. www.operademontreal.com

By sheer coincidence, Opéra de Québec is also presenting La Traviata, led by former Opera Hamilton music director Daniel Lipton. Soprano Laura Whalen is Violetta, tenor Antoine Bélanger sings Alfredo and Germont is Gaétan Laperrière. (Four performances, Oct. 20 - 27). www.operadequebec.qc.ca

The COC opens with the Verdi potboiler Il Trovatore (10 performances Sept. 29 – Oct. 31), last staged by the company in 1999. It stars Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas in his first-ever Manrico. Canadian baritone Russell Braun is singing his first di Luna. South African mezzo-turned-soprano Elza van den Heever is Leonora and Russian mezzo Elena Manistina is Azucena. The production comes from the Opéra de Marseille.  Paired with the Verdi is Die Fledermaus, after an absence of twenty-one years. The novelty is tenor Michael Schade singing Eisenstein, normally a baritone role. American soprano Tamara Wilson, last heard locally as Elettra in Idomeneo, returns as Rosalinda. COC Ensemble artists Ambur Braid and Mireille Asselin share the role of the saucy Adele; tenor Christopher Enns is Alfred and former Ensemble baritone Peter Barrett is Dr. Falke. Another former Ensemble baritone, James Westman, takes on the cameo role of Frank. COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts. Eleven performances from Oct. 4 to Nov. 3. www.coc.ca

The baroque opera company Opera Atelier is venturing into the Romantic repertoire with its fall presentation of Weber’s Der Freischutz (6 performances, Oct. 27 – Nov. 3) Croatian tenor Kresimir Spicer returns to OA in the title role, and soprano Meghan Lindsay is Agathe. Carla Huhtanen sings Aanchen and Vasil Garvanliev is Kaspar. David Fallis leads the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. www.operaatelier.com

On the concert front, several events stand out—the sublime Mahler Second Symphony “Resurrection” that opens the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal season, conducted by Kent Nagano, is one of them. The soloist is the young German lyric Christina Landshamer, while the marvelous Anke Vondung takes the all-important alto part. Performances on Sept. 5, 6, 8. Another “must-see” event is Susan Graham singing Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer, conducted by Marc Minkowski leading the OSM (Oct. 16 and 17). www.osm.ca

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting a concert performance of Falla’s La vida breve, with visiting conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. It stars an all-Hispanic cast led by Spanish mezzo Nancy Fabiola Herrera. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir supplies the choral forces. A much-needed innovation here is the use of surtitles in a concert situation. There are two performances on Nov. 1 and 3 at Roy Thomson Hall. www.tso.ca

Version française...

(c) La Scena Musicale