Magazine article Opera Canada

Canadian Opera Company

Magazine article Opera Canada

Canadian Opera Company

Article excerpt

New To You, the name of a second-hand shop in Toronto, is increasingly becoming the approach of the Canadian Opera Company towards its patrons, as the nation's largest opera-producer joins so many others in the cost-saving recycling of previously mounted productions. Both of the company's January-February winter-season operas, Puccini's Turandot and Verdi's Falstaff, originated elsewhere and have made the rounds of a number of North American cities.

James Robinson's Turandot, first seen in Toronto in 1997, looked just as presentable in a second visit, remounted by Peter Rothstein, its Anita Stewart scaffold sets atmospherically lit by Marcus Dilliard to evoke the nocturnal mysteries of a fairytale Peking.

Although he had originally announced his intention to use the new Luciano Berio conclusion to Puccini's unfinished score, general director Richard Bradshaw ultimately opted for the traditional Franco Alfano ending as theatrically more effective. He presided in the pit over a well-played, well-sung (not least by the Canadian Opera Chorus) reading of the score, with the Czech soprano Eva Urbanova contributing a Turandot with the right kind of cutting-edge soprano, Richard Margison a Calaf with ringing tenor tones and Italian soprano Serena Farnocchia a superbly touching Liu.

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Moved around like chess pieces, the splendid Gregory Dahl, Luc Robert and Michael Colvin impersonated Ping, Pang and Pong, with Peter Barrett (a Mandarin), Deyan Vatchkov (Timur), Peter Collins (Prince of Persia) and John Kriter (Emperor Altoum) completing the cast. …

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