Magazine article Opera Canada

Summer Stock (1); A Series of Chicago Stagings and a Mini Season of French Opera Highlight the CBC's Varied Roster

Magazine article Opera Canada

Summer Stock (1); A Series of Chicago Stagings and a Mini Season of French Opera Highlight the CBC's Varied Roster

Article excerpt

Opera Canada's guide to the broadcasts

June 7

La traviata

Giuseppe Verdi

In the first of three broadcasts from Lyric Opera of Chicago, soprano Renee Fleming sings the challenging role of Violetta. Fleming cites Maria Callas as a favorite Violetta, though her own take is more lyrical. Matthew Polenzani sings Alfredo, with Thomas Hampson as the elder Germont and Sir Andrew Davis conducting.


June 14

Giulio Cesare in Egitto

George Frideric Handel

Countertenor David Daniels stars in the title role of Chicago's remount of a Glyndebourne production late last year, but much of the interest was in the local debut of the vivacious Danielle de Niese as Cleopatra. She's made a specialty of the role over the past few seasons, appearing in productions at Glyndebourne, the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Nationale de Paris and Netherlands Opera. In Chicago, the New York Times critic said "she sang with power and clarity, and imaginatively ornamented intricate lines."

June 21

Die Frau ohne Schatten

Richard Strauss

Sir Andrew Davis was on the podium again for this innovative staging by British director Paul Curran. The cast is predominantly American again, with Deborah Voigt as the Empress, Robert Dean Smith (who late in the season replaced Ben Heppner in the Met's movie broadcast of Tristan und Isolde) as the Emperor and Christine Brewer as the Dyer's wife. Roundng out the principals are Franz Hawlata as Barak the Dyer and Jill Grove as the Nurse. In performance, Brewer won the biggest applause for her galvanizing consistency in tone and line. "Her voice soars with a refulgence I never expected to hear in this role," wrote the critic of the London Times.

June 28

HMS Pinafore

W.S. Gilbert & Sir Arthur Sullivan

For a lighter break on our Canada Day long weekend, the broadcast is of Edmonton Opera's February staging of one of the most popular G&S operettas. Our critic (see p. 33) much enjoyed a production that features a libretto tweaked by play-wright Stewart Lemoine and a Canadian cast that mixes actors and singers. Edmonton Opera Music Director Peter Dala conducts, with players from the Edmonton Symphony in the pit.

July 5

Guillaume Tell

Gioachino Rossini

For July, the CBC has programmed four French operas, including this performance from Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia of Rossini's final opera. This is the first performance in Rome of the original French version, which premiered in Paris in 1829. Beyond the overture, it's not that well known, in part because it's difficult to cast. Here Covent Garden Music Director Antonio Pappano leads a transatlantic cast that mixes veterans with rising young stars. Italian bass Michele Pertusi, a familiar voice at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, sings the title role, American tenor John Osborn assays the fiendishly difficult role of Arnold and French soprano Norah Amsellem is Mathilde.

July 12

Les Troyens

Hector Berlioz

Geneva's Grand Theatre is the source of this broadcast of Berlioz's five-act epic, with the distinguished cast including Quebec baritone Jean-Francois Lapointe as Chorebe, the young prince betrothed to the prophetess Cassandra. American conductor John Nelson leads the venerable Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, with Anna Caterina Antonacci as Cassandre, Kurt Streit as Enee and Anne Sofie Von Otter as Didon. …

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