Magazine article Opera Canada

Opera Da Camera

Magazine article Opera Canada

Opera Da Camera

Article excerpt

Opera da Camera was back in Feb. for its third season at The Rialto, a congenial multifunctional venue that offers varied musical genres in a dinner/drinks setting. As in previous years, it attracted a mostly young public, this year for Handel's rarely performed Xerxes, mostly remembered for the popular "Ombra mai fu" ("Handel's Largo").The byzantine intrigue is hard to follow and the characters, as in many Baroque operas, are not well developed, which makes it easy for spectators to remain indifferent.

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Stage director Andrew Cuk came up with the ingenious idea of setting the opera in present-day Montreal. Given the young audience, it was not too shocking to substitute the royal court of Xerxes in ancient Persia with a lesbian drag nightclub. This also made some sense in an opera in which two lead male roles are sung by female voices. It also resolves the potential confusion of presenting characters in trouser roles as well as characters in cross-dressing disguise.

The cast of mostly recent graduates of Quebec's several music faculties was more than competent and seemed to relish their roles. …

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