Magazine article Opera Canada

Opera Nuova

Magazine article Opera Canada

Opera Nuova

Article excerpt

Opera Nuova's six-week-long Vocal Arts Festival finished, as it always does, with two modestly staged productions of repertoire standards, this year Verdi's Falstaff and Gounod's Romeo et Juliette. The performers, two casts for each production, are drawn from the pool of singers (49 this year) invited to the highly respected emerging-artists program, where they enrich their already substantial training by working with established Canadian professionals.

The casts I heard (Jun 26 and 27), especially the Falstaff group, all had the array of qualities that will give them a good shot at making it in the highly competitive opera world, but, as usual, a few of the singers stood out as exceptional.

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The most striking performer was PEI-born soprano Tracy Cantin, a product of the University of Alberta and University of Western Ontario performance programs and in her second stint with Nuova. Her Alice Ford was vocally immense, with great power and poise. Often young singers--and even professionally successful singers--have musicality and passion, but nevertheless come across as small, making the audience work to become fully engaged with the performance. No one listening to Cantin will ever have this problem. If she had a weakness, it was her strength. In ensemble moments, she could have aimed to blend better.

Toronto-born bass-baritone Jon-Paul Decosse, bulging cartoonishly in his fat suit, is another singer who has the intuitions of a true performer. …

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