Magazine article Opera Canada

Quebec City

Magazine article Opera Canada

Quebec City

Article excerpt

Russia has figured prominently in Quebec City's cultural landscape recently with Robert Lepage's staging of Stravinsky's The Nightingale and Other Short Fables at the inaugural Quebec Opera Festival last summer, an exhibition about Diaghilev's Ballet Russes at the Musee national des Beaux-Arts du Quebec and then last fall's premiere staging of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at Opera de Quebec. The production met the challenge of having Quebec singers perform credibly in Russian alongside Russian artists brilliantly.

Backed by Peter Dean Beck's superb sets, director Francois Racine showed great insight into Tchaikovsky's musical expression of the Russian soul. This was as true of his re-creation of the opera's country atmosphere in Acts 1 and II as of the brilliant reception room of Prince Gremin's house, where the Polonaise dance turned into a true symphonic interlude.

Quebec baritone jean-Francois Lapointe and three Russian singers performed the opera's lead roles. In top form as Onegin, Lapointe towered over the rest of the cast, and his final, heartbreaking scene was met with thunderous applause. As Tatyana, soprano Tatiana Latina seemed somewhat withdrawn, and while she was credible as the timid and secretive character in Act I, she Failed to imbue the Letter Scene with the vocal intensity and passion one expects. …

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