Magazine article Opera Canada

Canadian Opera Company

Magazine article Opera Canada

Canadian Opera Company

Article excerpt

Although generally Veil received at the time of its 2009 premiere, Christopher Alden's Chicago Opera Theatre production of La clemenza di Tito struck this audience member as much less stylistically sensitive in its February restaging by the Canadian Opera Company than the company's first production of Mozart's penultimate opera back in 1991. Unflatteringly costumed by Terese Wadden (especially in the case of the female cast members) in today's sadly common mixed metaphor of styles, with a brutalist, diagonal wall of a set by Andrew Cavanaugh. Holland, the production neither honored the music's opera seria dignity nor facilitated the stage action.

In the tide role, Michael Shade made an admirable Tito, notwithstanding having to prance around the stage in purple pajamas with a rug-like security blanket--opposite the Sesto of Isabel Leonard (indisposed on my night and replaced by the lovely, fast-rising Wallis Giunta), the properly passionate passionate Vitellia of Keri Alkema and the similarly well cast Annio, Publio and Servilia of Sasha Djihanian, Robert Gleadow and Mireille Asselin.

Indeed, both the first cast and the Ensemble Studio cast (the latter headed by Christopher Enns's Tito in Act I and soprano Melanie Diener. The achievement of both singers was made all the more obvious in contrast with the capable but vocally challenged Tristan and Isolde of the alternate cast, headed by the German tenor Michael Baba and the Brunnhilde-like American soprano Margaret Jane Wray, with Franz-Josef Selig an outstanding King Marke in both casts, Davida Karanas a serviceable Brmgane and Alan Held an able Kurwenal.

Owen McCausland's in Act II, with Rihab Chaieb Is Sesto, Claire de Sevigne as Servilia, Sasha Djihanian as Annio and Neil Craighead as Publio), served the music well under the debuting young Israeli conductor Daniel Cohen. …

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