Magazine article Opera Canada

Banff Summer Arts Festival

Magazine article Opera Canada

Banff Summer Arts Festival

Article excerpt

At first glance, the two operas mounted at the Banff Summer Arts Festival could not be more different. In one, mid-20th century English composer Benjamin Britten's classic The Turn of the Screw (seen Aug. 5), two young orphans, a brother and his sister, contend with the Gothic creepiness of their Victorian manor-house surroundings, where unspeakable evil in the form of ghosts of former inhabitants are out to control and ultimately destroy them. In the other, contemporary Mark Adamo's acclaimed Little Women (seen Aug. 4), a young woman and aspiring writer struggles to find her place in a post-American Civil War world--with a little help from her three sisters and the boy next door.

Both opera productions were directed by Kelly Robinson, who points out fundamental similarities between the two works, which were composed almost a half century apart. "These two pieces really are pieces about innocence--innocence lost, in the case of The Turn of the Screw, and innocence or wisdom gained, in Little Women. They're both about the experience of maturing--in a tragic sense in one, and in a glorious way in the other."

The experience of maturing--maturing artistically, that is, and in a hopefully "glorious way," at that--is what it's all about for two of the 15 best-of-the-best young artists who auditioned in London, New York and across Canada for the Banff Centre's seven-week Opera as Theatre summer professional training program, which supplied the complete casts for the two productions. …

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