Magazine article Opera Canada

Lanaudiere Festival. (Opera in Review: Joliette)

Magazine article Opera Canada

Lanaudiere Festival. (Opera in Review: Joliette)

Article excerpt

The Lanaudiere Festival is Quebec's best-kept secret. Every summer, it presents a mouth-watering array of concert operas and vocal recitals featuring top international stars. Among the offerings this year was Tchaikovsky's rarely heard Iolanta, and an orchestral concert featuring the sensational Finnish diva, Karita Mattila.

The story of Iolanta does not exactly make the most believable of opera plots, but in a concert version, one is free to focus on the voices and the music. It would be hard to find a more idiomatic Iolanta than Russian soprano Marina Shaguch, who offered strong vocalism, a few steely high notes aside. She was well matched by American tenor Marc Heller, an excellent Comte Vaudemont. Also outstanding was baritone James Westman as a charismatic Robert. The role of Roi Rene was a bit low for bass Robert Pomakov, who had a few shaky moments, but otherwise he sang with his customary beauty of tone. The Orchestre Metropolitain du Grand Montreal under Quebec wunderkind Yannick NezetSeguin played like it should be the first, not the second orchestra of Montreal. …

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