I could see Ms. Vaness' artistry in every move of the performers. While there was no groundbreaking staging, I felt a special electricity from the cast, like there was a connection to the greats, which of course Ms. Vaness provides.
Legato in spades and a magnetic presence on the stage that was at times hypnotizing, her "Sempre libera" (an aria that holds a particularly special place in the hearts of Queers in my generation) brought the house down.
Julie Andrijeski and Shelby Yamin (violins), Kathryn Montoya and Nagy (oboes and recorders), Rebecca Reed (viola da gamba) and Mark Edwards (harpsichord) all wear cat masks, a simple and delightfully conspiratorial gesture. These cats know how to work it.
“When you think of the voice as having, like, the sound of an emotion instead of just sounding pretty, that's a really exciting thing to do. It makes it more like a mime performance than just lip syncing.”
"Representation matters. New works matter. Canadian works matter. We are proud to have the honour and privilege to give space to these characters and voices - and relish the opportunity to do more in the future."
"After years of creating work after work, it becomes your life," he says about why he is an artist. "Initially, I was drawn to things just because I was fascinated by ideas. The traditional world was not where I belonged. I knew I wanted to be in the arts and I had an impulse to perform."
The standout of the evening was Justin Welsh as Leporello. With comedic timing second to none, Welsh’s Leporello was long-suffering, but wily, and every scene he was in was hilarious with so much physical comedy it brought the house down.
"I think the way that I've approached it has been a little bit more of thinking about time expanding and thinking about the things that happen, not happening in real time, so that we take and use da capo arias, we just take a real dive into people's emotional states."
It's my thought that reviewers who disparage singers' bodies are only telling us some ugly things about themselves: that they don't think fat people can fall in love or have romantic experiences, and that they don't have anything better to say about an opera production even after the two years of shit we all went through with stages being shuttered.
The crowd rose to their feet after this aria, applauding and cheering an downright incredible performance. And her singing in the final quartet, from Verdi's Rigoletto, reminded me of Denyce Graves.