Marshall Pynkoski on Armide: "Love is amoral." Artists of Atelier Ballet Jack Rennie and Maria McDunnough. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Marshall Pynkoski on Armide: "Love is amoral."

Jenna Simeonov

Next week, Opera Atelier opens its 30th anniversary season with their “landmark production” of Lully’s Armide. Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski directs a solid cast of OA veterans, including Peggy Kriha Dye in the title role, Colin Ainsworth as Renaud, and Stephen Hegedus as Hidraot. There’s a lot about this Armide that is familiar to Opera Atelier and its audiences; yet, Lully’s work is no ordinary love story.

“[Armide] is an opera in which love is the most powerful force on stage,” explains Pynkoski. “We realize by the end of the opera that love isn’t good or bad – the power of love has everything to do with context. Love can be something that saves people or destroys people. Love is amoral. Love cuts through like a knife – anyone in love is cut open. Love is more powerful than hate, but that doesn’t mean it’s a happy ending.”

It’s a twist on a tragic love story that seems progressive for its 17th century creation. “By the end of the opera no one wants to feel hate more than Armide, but her tragedy is that she can now only feel love. There are no winners and no losers: love has annihilated everyone.”

Opera Atelier Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

The production will in Toronto this month before heading to perform at the Palace of Versailles. That’s no small feat, and Opera Atelier has assembled has the right team to help pull it off.

“It’s the greatest privilege in the world to work with this corps of singers and dancers and instrumentalists.” The production is three years old, Pynkoski adds, yet the work is still fresh. “The whole process is a process of deepening our interpretation and growing the roles. Armide is a great masterpiece and so the possibilities are never exhausted.”

Armide runs October 22-31 at the Elgin Theatre. For details and ticket information, follow the box office links below.



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