Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Music for a While: Rowan Pierce and Christopher Glynn at Ryedale Online

“Music for a while, shall all your cares beguile.”

A Musical Reunion at Garsington Opera

The hum of bees rising from myriad scented blooms; gentle strains of birdsong; the cheerful chatter of picnickers beside a still lake; decorous thwacks of leather on willow; song and music floating through the warm evening air.

'In my end is my beginning': Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida perform Winterreise at Wigmore Hall

All good things come to an end, so they say. Let’s hope that only the ‘good thing’ part of the adage is ever applied to Wigmore Hall, and that there is never any sign of ‘an end’.

Iestyn Davies and Elizabeth Kenny bring 'sweet music' to Wigmore Hall

Countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny kicked off the final week of live lunchtime recitals broadcast online and on radio from Wigmore Hall.

From Our House to Your House: live from the Royal Opera House

I’m not ashamed to confess that I watched this live performance, streamed from the stage of the Royal Opera House, with a tear in my eye.

Woman’s Hour with Roderick Williams and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

At the start of this lunchtime recital, Roderick Williams set out the rationale behind the programme that he and pianist Joseph Middleton presented at Wigmore Hall, bringing to a close a second terrific week of live lunchtime broadcasts, freely accessible via Wigmore Hall’s YouTube channel and BBC Radio 3.

Natalya Romaniw - Arion: Voyage of a Slavic Soul

Sailing home to Corinth, bearing treasures won in a music competition, the mythic Greek bard, Arion, found his golden prize coveted by pirates and his life in danger.

Purcell’s The Indian Queen from Lille

Among the few compensations opera lovers have had from the COVID crisis is the abundance – alas, plethora – of streamed opera productions we might never have seen or even known of without it.

Philip Venables' Denis & Katya: teenage suicide and audience complicity

As an opera composer, Philip Venables writes works quite unlike those of many of his contemporaries. They may not even be operas at all, at least in the conventional sense - and Denis & Katya, the most recent of his two operas, moves even further away from this standard. But what Denis & Katya and his earlier work, 4.48 Psychosis, have in common is that they are both small, compact forces which spiral into extraordinarily powerful and explosive events.

A new, blank-canvas Figaro at English National Opera

Making his main stage debut at ENO with this new production of The Marriage of Figaro, theatre director Joe Hill-Gibbins professes to have found it difficult to ‘develop a conceptual framework for the production to inhabit’.

Massenet’s Chérubin charms at Royal Academy Opera

“Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio … Now I’m fire, now I’m ice, any woman makes me change colour, any woman makes me quiver.”

Bluebeard’s Castle, Munich

Last year the world’s opera companies presented only nine staged runs of Béla Bartòk’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

The Queen of Spades at Lyric Opera of Chicago

If obsession is key to understanding the dramatic and musical fabric of Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades, the current production at Lyric Opera of Chicago succeeds admirably in portraying such aspects of the human psyche.

WNO revival of Carmen in Cardiff

Unveiled by Welsh National Opera last autumn, this Carmen is now in its first revival. Original director Jo Davies has abandoned picture postcard Spain and sun-drenched vistas for images of grey, urban squalor somewhere in modern-day Latin America.

Lise Davidsen 'rescues' Tobias Kratzer's Fidelio at the Royal Opera House

Making Fidelio - Beethoven’s paean to liberty, constancy and fidelity - an emblem of the republican spirit of the French Revolution is unproblematic, despite the opera's censor-driven ‘Spanish’ setting.

A sunny, insouciant Così from English Touring Opera

Beach balls and parasols. Strolls along the strand. Cocktails on the terrace. Laura Attridge’s new production of Così fan tutte which opened English Touring Opera’s 2020 spring tour at the Hackney Empire, is a sunny, insouciant and often downright silly affair.

A wonderful role debut for Natalya Romaniw in ENO's revival of Minghella's Madama Butterfly

The visual beauty of Anthony Minghella’s 2005 production of Madama Butterfly, now returning to the Coliseum stage for its seventh revival, still takes one’s breath away.

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird at Seattle

It appears that Charlie Parker’s Yardbird has reached the end of its road in Seattle. Since it opened in 2015 at Opera Philadelphia it has played Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and the English National Opera.

La Périchole in Marseille

The most notable of all Péricholes of Offenbach’s sentimental operetta is surely the legendary Hortense Schneider who created the role back in 1868 at Paris’ Théâtre des Varietés. Alas there is no digital record.

Three Centuries Collide: Widmann, Ravel and Beethoven

It’s very rare that you go to a concert and your expectation of it is completely turned on its head. This was one of those. Three works, each composed exactly a century apart, beginning and ending with performances of such clarity and brilliance.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Andriana Chuchman as Susanna and Gordon Bintner as Figaro [Photo by R. Tinker]
30 Nov 2015

Le Nozze di Figaro, Manitoba Opera

To borrow from the great Bard himself: “the course of true love never did run smooth.”

Le Nozze di Figaro, Manitoba Opera

A review by Holly Harris

Above: Andriana Chuchman as Susanna and Gordon Bintner as Figaro

Photos by R. Tinker

 

However, it does make for a terrific night of madcapopera buffa as proven during Manitoba Opera’s 2015/16 season-opener of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro ( The Marriage of Figaro).

Last staged by the 43-year old company in 2006, the four-act opera buffa based on Lorenzo Da Ponte’s Italian libretto is regarded among the top 10 operas performed worldwide. The three-hour plus production directed by MO newcomer Brent Krysa featured the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra led by Tadeusz Biernacki (who also prepared the Manitoba Opera Chorus), as well as a dream team of accomplished Winnipeg-born sopranos.

The first of those is Andriana Chuchman, whose skyrocketing career has already taken her to the Metropolitan Opera house as well as seeing her gracing the stage with fabled Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo during her LA Opera debut this fall. An equally compelling actor who last appeared on the MO stage in 2011, Chuchman crafted a radiant Susanna with her Act III aria “Deh, vieni, non tardar” particularly showcasing her luminous, soaring vocals.

_RWT3601.png

Charismatic local soprano Lara Ciekiewicz continues to prove her gifts as a natural stage chameleon, able to crack viewers up one moment with her razor sharp comic timing before breaking their hearts the next with her soulful performances — such as her MO debut as slave girl Liù in Turandot last April. Her two solos as the Countess Almaviva: “Porgi, Amor,” matched only by her later mesmerizing “Dove sono I bei momenti” did the latter, as she revealed the complex emotional underbelly of her deeply conflicted, all-too-human character.

Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch likewise dazzled with his swaggering portrayal of the skirt chasing Count who petulantly stomps his feet and wields large axes. His robust vocals, as displayed during his Act III recitative and aria “Hai già vinta la causa! ... Vedrò, mentr'io sospiro,” added brooding gravitas to the comic froth. His truly touching finale “Contessa perdono! added its own grace note to the entire show.

Kudos to veteran mezzo-soprano Donnalynn Grills, grappling with real-life illness as housekeeper Marcellina. Singing mostly sotto voce, Grills’ strong acting chops helped sell her character for all she’s worth, aided by simpatico sidekicks Dr. Bartolo (baritone Peter McGillivray) and Don Basilio (tenor David Menzies) who valiantly rallied by her side in support.

_RWT3716.png

Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner (MO debut) created a convincing Figaro, including his “Non piu andrai farfollone amoroso” sung with military precision, with his portrayal noticeably growing more confident throughout the performance. He also received the night’s biggest guffaws after leaping into Grills’ waiting lap as his long-lost mother, later tossing off his tongue-twisting “Aprite un po’ quegli occhi” that earned cries of bravo.

Mezzo-soprano Alicia Woynarski (MO debut) created an admirably convincing male persona in the trouser role of page Cherubino, despite suffering minor intonation issues during “Non so piu cosa son.” Her later “Voi che sa pate” fared better, although her lovesick character mooning for women could have gone much further.

A highlight proved to be seeing now Toronto-based colouratura soprano Anne-Marie MacIntosh, a recent graduate from the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music marking her impressive MO debut as Barbarina. This rising star made every minute of her relatively short stage time count, including delivering a riveting “L'ho perduta, me meschina” under a starry night sky.

The stylish, albeit decidedly traditional production included ornate period costumes and effective sets originally created for Pacific Opera Victoria and Calgary Opera. Revolving mirrored door panels spun throughout the production at strategic moments captured designer Bill Williams’ flashing shards of light, adding to the overall, crazy funhouse atmosphere that’s a bit like love itself.

Holly Harris

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):