Reviews

A handful of the Met's Porgy and Bess

A handful of the Met's Porgy and Bess

Even with Gershwin's best intentions in demanding that this opera only ever be produced with an all-black cast, it is nonetheless apparent that this was and is an opera written for the white gaze. Be it the cringe-inducing libretto, the caricatured depiction of Southern accents (both white and black), the depiction of the hyper-saturation of religion in black communities (on and on with talk of the "promised land") and the gross exaggeration of Bess as the quintessential portrait of semper femina.

Michael Zarathus-Cook
Chronicle of Nine a slow-building triumph

Chronicle of Nine a slow-building triumph

The music, while still adhering to some trappings of the medieval stylings, began to explore outside the bounds of its medieval stylings in order to do something new. The libretto, already full of pathos for its subject, finally found its stride as far as moving the plot at a good clip.

Arturo Fernandez
Last-minute surprises & a star performance by Barton: HGO's La Favorite

Last-minute surprises & a star performance by Barton: HGO's La Favorite

Mezzo Jamie Barton inhabited the lead role of Léonor very naturally indeed, especially in her aria “O mon Fernand,” itself a perfect example of Donizetti’s felicitous employment of confident Parisian harpists and wind players in prominent positions. Such inspired orchestrational choices are the sort of thing that give great singers an optimal point to start their dramatic conceptions of such arias.

Andrew Schneider
Technologies may change, people may not: DMMO's The Human Voice

Technologies may change, people may not: DMMO's The Human Voice

Stage Director Kristine McIntyre brought Poulenc’s one woman drama into the modern era with her own updated translation of the libretto. Performing the opera in English removed the need for supertitles which let the audience focus on the drama. In addition to the telephone, McIntyre added in some new technologies such as a smartphone and tablet.

Meghan Klinkenborg
A Love Letter to Jennifer Holloway

A Love Letter to Jennifer Holloway

Richard Strauss's Salome has always been a controversial opera, to say the least. The premiere performance in 1905 was not particularly well received, though famously the premiere was attended by Giacomo Puccini, Gustav Mahler, and Adolf Hitler. Based off of Oscar Wilde's play of the same name, Salome comes from a Biblical tale, though highly erotic and controversially murderous.

Daniel Weisman
A vague ensemble opera: Flight

A vague ensemble opera: Flight

It seemed to be a two-and-a-half-hour opera about people being their worst in a confined space. It was, basically, a series of vignettes that could be amusing and meaningful in a shorter format.

Callie Cooper
A "vital and contemporary" evening in BERLIN: The Last Cabaret

A "vital and contemporary" evening in BERLIN: The Last Cabaret

With the world premiere nature of this show and the resurrection of some of this music, it should come as no surprise that the songs disappeared from our cultural lexicon because they’re not musically memorable. I kept waiting for a showstopper, but none were forthcoming

Sam Darling
Leading ladies steal Barber of Seville at COC

Leading ladies steal Barber of Seville at COC

Directed by Joan Font with choreography by Xevi Dorca, this revival of the 2015 production with set and costumes by Joan Guillén, is described in the program notes by the director as "action that could happen" in the 19th century, or even today in Toronto. I do beg to differ.

Greg Finney
A lusty Carmina Burana from Minnesota Dance Theatre

A lusty Carmina Burana from Minnesota Dance Theatre

I am by no means an Orff scholar, so my analysis may be subjective. The collection of twenty four poems from a larger collection written by medieval monks with varying themes, yet this production seemed to hone in on just one: lust.

Callie Cooper
Classic, not overdone: Philippe Jaroussky and Jérôme Ducros at Wigmore Hall

Classic, not overdone: Philippe Jaroussky and Jérôme Ducros at Wigmore Hall

The Schubert-song recital is a staple and one that I find, for the most part, to be overdone. There is no denying the composer’s immense and invaluable contribution to the lieder repertory. His songs are like golden threads in the intricate tapestry that is the history of German lieder, but personally, I find that a recital programme of unrelated Schubert song to be lacking in imagination when there is a wide variety of song repertoire to be programmed in interesting and new ways.

Alessia Naccarato

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