Magazine article Opera Canada

Banff

Magazine article Opera Canada

Banff

Article excerpt

Sharp-Ears the Fox conies close to being a family opera with its singing animals. Using a new English libretto by John Murrell, Artist Emeritus at Banff, and an orchestration by British composer-in-residence Jonathan Dove Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen was transferred from the Moravian woods to the Rocky Mountains and updated with smart, sassy language. The new orchestration for a smaller orchestra retained Janacek's rich sounds and modern mood. The interpretations by the youthful singers and members of Banff Centre Orchestra in August made the music very accessible.

The agility and flexibility of the double cast were by turns endearing and beautiful. However, as Sharp-Ears, I preferred soprano Betty Allison's convincingly foxy movements, her sly vocal style and her well-rounded characterization. Baritone Brent Calis's swaggering woodsman, ob-sessed with retrieving the escaped Sharp-Ears, was balanced by allowing his love of nature and loneliness to show. Jon-Paul Decosse, as Preacher/Badger, melded his comedic talents with a powerful and mellow bass-baritone to clearly define the complexities of each character. …

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