Magazine article Opera Canada

I'Opera De Quebec: Otello

Magazine article Opera Canada

I'Opera De Quebec: Otello

Article excerpt

Everything was in place to make a success of Verdi's masterpiece, Otello, at L'Opera de Quebec (Oct. 20-27): a renovated and acoustically improved Salle Louis-Frechette; a uniformly accomplished, largely Canadian cast; a conductor in John Keenan who could make the Quebec Symphony Orchestra sound better than ever at the opera; and the Albertan director, Brian Deederick, here working on his fifth production for OdeQ.

In this opera, with its stormy opening and talk of naval victory, the violence of the subject matter grip you from the outset. Canadian tenor John Mac Master inspired respect for the glorious Otello through his bearing and his powerful voice. Despite vocal fatigue that showed in some passages in Act I but more so in the finale, Mac Master's was a credible portrayal of the hellish descent of the "Lion of Venice," broken by groundless jealousy and reduced to a murderer.

Baritone John Fanning's Iago was excellent in every respect. His Act II "Credo" sent shivers down the spine, while the way he manipulated Cassio and Otello underlined the character's treachery perfectly. Soprano Michele Capalbo, as Desdemona, displayed a rich, velvety tone, and the artistry to produce touching pianissimos in the "Willow Song" and "Ave Maria. …

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