Reviews

Inflatable beasts & vocal brilliance: LOC's Siegfried

Inflatable beasts & vocal brilliance: LOC's Siegfried

Pountney's concept for this Siegfried is rooted in his perception of the eponymous character's childlike naiveté and exuberance. Much of this production is experienced through the eyes of the young hero, but with some unabashed anachronisms. Siegfried's scenes were awash with primary colors taken straight out of a Crayola Crayon box.

Michael Pecak
A definitive hit: West Side Story in Atlanta

A definitive hit: West Side Story in Atlanta

West Side Story isn't an easy show and, particularly in current climates, a controversial one to cast. It is dance heavy and, while the Atlanta Opera Chorus shined during their choreographed number during last season's La fille du régiment, West Side Story requires specialized training, perfect timing, and active feats of physical intensity. After spending election night in the audience of the same production I was so nervous about, I can genuinely say that it is a production not to miss.

Daniel Weisman
The follies of modernization: Oedipus Rex & Iolanta

The follies of modernization: Oedipus Rex & Iolanta

It's a crass move to co-opt sexual assault as a means to artificially raise an opera's stakes. It also causes serious dramaturgical issues. By screwing around with the plot, the director has given herself the irreconcilable task of manufacturing staging that respects the repercussions of Iolanta's assault, while spinning an idyllic, fairytale love story, with a libretto that only supports the latter.

Jeremy Hirsch
Opera laid bare, for better or for worse in the Met's Fanciulla

Opera laid bare, for better or for worse in the Met's Fanciulla

It's funny how similar the opera-going experience is, be it at an opera house or the movies. Older audience members still kvetch about the venue - "They should have it at TIFF," et cetera - and there's the usual mixture of apologies and harumphing as latecomers squeeze past their neighbours' knees to find their mid-row seats.

Jenna Simeonov
Spectacle & art: Dragus Maximus

Spectacle & art: Dragus Maximus

The show, a revue of Baroque arias and a world premiere by music director Daniel Schlosberg, incorporated masterful singing, a costumed 6-piece band, gender bending, lip syncing, imaginative costumes and dazzling makeup in the intimate venue of Roulette Theatre in Brooklyn.

Lara Secord-Haid
Varied Opera Bites delivers interesting & delectable morsels

Varied Opera Bites delivers interesting & delectable morsels

Of course no wife would be spurred to murder her husband based on fortune cookie fortunes, but here it happens, and in exactly the kind of over-the-top manner that only opera can pull off. It was a joyous way to end the first half of the program.

Arturo Fernandez
Feminism & confetti: Atelier's triple-bill

Feminism & confetti: Atelier's triple-bill

Thank goodness for one-act operas. They're like a shot of great espresso, or a single chocolate truffle - the kind of indulgence that's short-lived, but immediate and totally satisfying. Among all the lengthy, luxuriating opera we see - all the da capo arias and all the Wagner - compact one-acts like Actéon and Pygmalion allow even the most hardcore of opera fans to admit that their attention spans don't always like to be stretched so thin.

Jenna Simeonov
Strong ensemble lifts Edmonton Opera production of La traviata

Strong ensemble lifts Edmonton Opera production of La traviata

The night, however, belonged to baritone James Westman and his standout performance of Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father. Westman has considerable longevity with this role; he will play Germont for the 200th time in the spring of 2019 in a celebrated career that has spanned two decades.

Oliver Munar
The Flying Dutchman a stellar homecoming for HGO

The Flying Dutchman a stellar homecoming for HGO

HGO's triumphant return to this venue was replete with sheer authenticity of spirit, dedication, and craftsmanship from all quarters. Throughout this marathon performance, I was pleasantly touched by this production that treated the central narrative of redemption through love as something to be regarded passively, and not inhabited fully, to be believed, yet inviting scrutiny from all angles.

Andrew Schneider
VO's Merry Widow a comedic tour-de-force

VO's Merry Widow a comedic tour-de-force

The setup for the Widow's entrance was hilarious, with all the men in the cast fussing over themselves and falling over each other to get to the door. The whole scene is an awkward, funny, madcap buildup to the heroine's entrance.

Melissa Ratcliff

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