Magazine article Opera Canada

Sirens/Sirenes

Magazine article Opera Canada

Sirens/Sirenes

Article excerpt

Krisztina Szabo in the Queen of Puddings production

Billed as a "bilingual, a cappella, choreographed music-theatre spectacle" for the new millennium, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre's Sirens/Sirenes made up in musical values what it lacked in dramatic impact. Whatever success Sirens--clearly a work in progress--may have had seemed largely due to the show's six virtuoso singers: Jane Archibald, Barbara Hannigan, Tamara Hummel, Allyson McHardy, Krisztina Szabo and Laura Whalen.

Under the impeccable musical direction of founders Dairine Ni Meadhra and John Hess, Sirens brought together six contemporary composers in disconcertingly varied operatic miniatures. These ranged in dramatic texture from somewhat static sonic explorations of oblique texts (Juhan Puhm's "Metamorphosis" and Michael Oesterle's "Marginal Way") to exuberant farce--Marie Pelletier's hilarious, if predictable, Quebec separation romp, complete with rival hockey sweaters and macho posturing.

James (Beatrice Chancy) Rolfe's poignant meditation on lynching, "Fire," occupied the emotional and dramatic centre of the evening. Alisa Palmer's staging combined sensuality and traditional women's work (washing) with the disturbing theme of communal violence. …

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