Magazine article Opera Canada

Opera National De Paris

Magazine article Opera Canada

Opera National De Paris

Article excerpt

There was no little grumbling about the season-opening productions at the Opera National de Paris. At the Bastille, there were no new productions, only revivals of two Willy Decker productions, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Wagner's Die fliegende Hollander, neither among his best. Fortunately, there were some impressive voices, and two Canadians were primarily responsible for salvaging both nights.

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Wagner's Dutchman, first seen 10 years ago, labored under the lazy baton of Peter Schneider, who was conducting an opera orchestra that does not see any need in its job description to automatically make its conductors look good. Hiring veteran bass-baritone James Morris for the title role was a major error, since he is vocally no longer capable of it and croaked rather than sang most of the night. Another veteran, Matti Salminen, struggled with the role of Daland, but acquitted himself reasonably well.

Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, as Senta, along with the Erik of German tenor Klaus Florian Vogt, both making company debuts, created the much needed vocal sparks. Pieczonka delivered an introspective Senta without the overacting often seen in this role. Her clear, unforced vocal production was happily linked to an ability to communicate with the audience. Erik, her unhappy suitor, was rendered with all the enthusiasm of youth by the still-young Vogt. The opera took a noticeable turn for the better whenever these two were on stage. …

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