Magazine article Opera Canada

The Rape of Lucretia. (Montreal)

Magazine article Opera Canada

The Rape of Lucretia. (Montreal)

Article excerpt

Alexander Dobson (Junius), Alain Coulombe (Collatinus) and Aaron St. Clair Nicholson (Tarquinius) in the Opera do Montreal production

Seldom seen outside the college circuit, Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia got what was thought to be its Montreal premiere in a co-production by L'Opera de Montreal and the Societe de musique contemporaine du Quebec. With inventive local director Renaud Doucet overseeing a production originally planned by former OdeM boss Bernard Uzan, we were assured of unconventional elements. The Greek-style chorus narrators at opposite sides of the stage, who supply heavy-handed and anachronistic Christian commentary, were dressed in contemporary business clothes and walked around freely rather than remaining seated, as the libretto requires. Scattered books marked a semicircle near the stage apron, and the characters were costumed (by Andre Barbe) in a kind of Greco-Roman sci-fi collection. There were videos (including a nuclear explosion) meant to illustrate the brutality and decadence of Rome under the Tarquins.

Action was mostly realistic. Which is to say the tale was well enough told and well enough sung, notably by mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee in the title role, soprano Amy Pfrimmer as Lucretia's desperate maid, and particularly, the clarion tenor Kurt Lehmann as the Male Chorus. …

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