Magazine article Opera Canada

Saskatoon Opera

Magazine article Opera Canada

Saskatoon Opera

Article excerpt

Given its small niche in the Canadian opera scene. Saskatoon Opera might be tempted to offer its annual mainstage production merely as a charming, pretty take on a 'top 10' opera each season.

Thankfully, stage director Marilyn Gronsdal had other ideas. Her Don Giovanni took audiences to a darker place from the first rising of the curtain, while Cameron Porteous's monumental, gloomy set pieces helped set the tone for this lesson in the wages of sin. The first half of Mozart and Da Ponte's dark comedy can be--and to some extent was--a static affair, as the crimes of the anti-hero are laid out and the cast of characters introduced. The second half came to life as the giocoso aspects of this dramatic piece unfolded, assisted by witty stage elements which helped the actors find their places in the somewhat otherworldly set.

Aviva Fortunata's Donna Elvira was the vocal standout of the evening, her voice moved seamlessly through its registers with a mixture of warm musicality and dramatic edginess. In the title role, Iain MacNeil was a suitably regal and self-absorbed sociopath, and his singing held onto its bright, seductive quality as he headed to his doom. Myriam Leblancs lyric soprano gave Donna Anna a youthful, floating sensitivity that is often sacrificed to the vocal demands of the role. …

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