Magazine article Opera Canada

University of Toronto Opera Division

Magazine article Opera Canada

University of Toronto Opera Division

Article excerpt

Bernstein's Candide (seen Feb. 4) was both a University of Toronto Opera Division premiere and the first time the university's opera, instrumental and choral divisions worked together in what was billed as "A Faculty of Music Celebration." The production was a triumph, demonstrating what a masterpiece Candide is. The stirring final chorale was a thing of shimmering beauty and heartfelt sentiment.

Fred Perruzza's design had the orchestra on stage, surrounded by a circular, ramped runway that extended over the orchestra pit and served as the playing area. The steep ramps gave a real workout for the solo singers. Striped panels that reflected Perruzza's dazzling light show made up the back of the set, side-walls and ceiling. Two large percussion sections were hidden behind the back screens. Lisa Magill's hybrid costumes ran riot over the centuries, giving principals a look to suit their characters. She had great fun with the haute couture outfits for the fashion show that introduced the Paris scene, one of director Michael Albano's many clever moments. The chorus--Doreen Rao's excellent MacMillan Singers--sat in bleachers at the back of the stage. They sang in beautifully even fashion, and held up the very amusing signs explaining philosophical matters and where the scenes were set. There was also a kind of chorus line, consisting of 12 Opera Division students who played smaller roles and helped move set pieces.

Conductor David Briskin, the head of UofT's conducting program and Music Director of the National Ballet of Canada, opted for the 1982 New York City Opera edition, which provides many opportunities for solo singing. …

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