Magazine article Opera Canada

Quebec City

Magazine article Opera Canada

Quebec City

Article excerpt

Opera de Quebec opened its 33rd season in October with two one-act operas from Puccinis Il Trittico, allowing Grand Theatre audiences to enjoy the contrasts between SuorAngelicas torments and Gianni Schicchi's buffooneries. Michael Cavanagh's staging added distinctive touches to both works. Keeping the silhouette that appears to the agonized Angelica in the shadows throughout, for example, made the audience question whether the Princess's story about the child's death was really true; and transporting the action of Gianni Schicchi to October 1945 made the audience realize how little family fights over inheritance have changed since Dante's days in the Middle Ages.

Angelica's Romanesque convent setting (from New York's Chautaqua Opera) cleverly morphed into a death chamber that the family of the late Buoso Donati turned upside down searching for his will. The combined cast of 26 featured mainly Quebec-trained soloists, including such established artists as Sonia Racine, Gianna Corbisiero and Robert Huard alongside promising young artists previously heard locally as members of the Festival d'Opera de Quebec's Brigade lyrique or in the Tempetes et Passions concert series.

Suor Angelica, visually striking with its black-and-white nuns' habits, gave us a dramatic dialogue between the merciless and cold Princess, solidly portrayed by Racine (her return to the Grand Theatre stage was greatly appreciated) and Corbisiero's tormented Angelica. After delivering moving performances in "Senza mamma" and at the point when she drinks the poison, the Montreal soprano was also electifying in the scene before the nun's death. …

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