Magazine article Opera Canada

Austria: Salzburg

Magazine article Opera Canada

Austria: Salzburg

Article excerpt

In recent years, performances featuring Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble, directed by Marc Minkowski have been highlights of the annual Mozart Woche festival at the end of January in Salzburg. This year was no different. On Jan. 26, they mounted a concert version of Mozart's 1788 arrangement of Handel's Acis and Galatea. Performing in the large hall of the Mozarteum, without fly gallery or curtain, the singers gestured to one another but were in concert attire. British tenor Toby Spence and German soprano Julia Kleiter starred in the title roles, with Finnish hass Mika Kares as the giant Polyphemus, German tenor Markus Brutscher was scheduled to sing the intermediary, Damon, but when he fell ill within days of the performance, Canadian tenor Colin Balzer was called to replace him. Balzer has sung the role of Acis before, but never Damon and never in the Mozart version of the work.

The performance was riveting, with Spence and Kleiter both in fine voice, beautifully capturing the deep emotion and commitment of the two lovers. Kares brought out the comic elements of the giant's character, especially in his Act II air, "Q Ruddier than the Cherry," without making Polyphemus a clown. And in his later "Cease to beauty to be suing," the lonely frustration of Polyphemus came to the fore. …

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