Toronto Operetta Theatre
Citron, Paula, Opera Canada
Over the years, Toronto Operetta Theatre has created a production formula that works--namely, mounting traditional shows with no surprises. Johann Strauss Jr.'s operetta Wiener Blut (Dec. 27-Jan. 8) was given a solid production according to form. The English text included some witty anachronisms, the rented costumes were pretty and the minimal set pieces workable. The only distraction was Cameron More's lighting, which kept going up and down like a brown-out. Director Guillermo Silva-Marin held silliness to a minimum, although his predictable one-step, cancan choreography was prominently featured. Happily, though, he does know how to move people on, off and around the stage with dispatch.
Basically, Wiener Blut is a one-song operetta--the famous title waltz--but the other numbers were tuneful. What differs in each TOT offering is the music. Conductor Kevin Mallon, a noted Baroque specialist, produced the tightest ensemble in TOT history. One really sat up and listened to the orchestral color he drew out of his players. The singers' diction was also clearer than in other years, but there was still difficulty in getting the chorus to enunciate, although its members sang well. …