The night's program veered amiably from operatic hits and season teasers to some truly deep cuts of the repertoire, like Fernand's aria from Donizetti's rarely-performed La favorite, gamely sung by the always-appealing, always spot-on Lawrence Brownlee.
In 15 cities across Canada, roughly 400 musicians are offering free live concerts, "for the purpose of providing healing and connection to those who are affected by suicide, either in surviving a loss or in dealing with their own mental health issues."
We were away for six weeks in the fall and four in the spring, touring our opera in remote parts of Québec and Ontario. It may not have been France, but I have had some of the best moments in my professional life.
Then the production succumbs to another tired trope in an attempt to solve the problem of too little too late. Tiridate slits everyone's throat in the midst of their celebratory epilogue as if to ask: is it still opera if no one dies?
In a preview on Monday, the company showed an impressive cast of young local talent and a very thoughtful premise for the controversial show. The company has also included a violence and intimacy director in the production - a presence that, hopefully, will some day be a regular credit in programs.
I'm just done with it. It's exhausting and gross. I've learned (unfortunately) that on the Venn diagram of people who are pro-opera and people who are creeps, there's serious overlap.
"The singers all study or have studied music and want to immerse themselves in the process and see how far they can stretch themselves. It can be daunting, but they are up for the challenge."
This was a co-production with multiple opera houses around the world, including Houston Grand Opera and Opera Australia. As usual, the individuals in the company were top notch vocally, but unfortunately the production over all fell flat.
What I like about The Tete-a-Tete Opera Festival is that it is always a mixed bag. It is an incredibly liberating thing to watch so many creative performers and theatre-makers experiment with the limitations of the form.
All senses were catered to as audience members were misted with fragrant water and touched softly by the performers while being whispered and sung to directly.