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The Gypsy Baron: great singing leads TOT's holiday offering

The Gypsy Baron: great singing leads TOT's holiday offering

This year it's Johann Strauss II's The Gypsy Baron (Ziegeunerbaron). Directed by Silva-Marin with Music Direction by Derek Bate, The Gypsy Baron tells a classic operetta-style tale of a prodigal son, mistaken and hidden identities, prophecies, treasure, and of course, wine.

Greg Finney
Roundup 2019, or why I'd prefer to just look ahead

Roundup 2019, or why I'd prefer to just look ahead

This year has certainly been different, though - and maybe you’ve noticed the change in tone since I’ve gone from being Schmopera’s primary voice, to its behind-the-scenes editor and sometimes-guest author.

Jenna Simeonov
A chilling Iago & a devoted Otello at Covent Garden

A chilling Iago & a devoted Otello at Covent Garden

Though Otello may be the title character and tragic hero of the story, in truth it is Iago who is the most alluring character on stage. For four hundred odd years, Shakespeare’s infamous villain has captured the imaginations of audiences everywhere. Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez played him with chilling ease.

Alessia Naccarato
The singularity of Fauré in Oper Frankfurt's Pénélope

The singularity of Fauré in Oper Frankfurt's Pénélope

The men indiscriminately abuse Pénélope and the women of her kingdom, theatrically throwing them around like amateur wrestlers. Yet their violence succeeds as seduction and they are rewarded with sexual favors. The men are thinly drawn, each portraying a single affect – incredulity, apathy, viciousness and predation. The women are sexualized totems who have little effect on the larger story.

Jeremy Hirsch
Sondra's Three Queens earn "thunderous ovation" in Chicago

Sondra's Three Queens earn "thunderous ovation" in Chicago

Billed as selected excerpts from three operas, the event comes across on paper as a kind of combination Donizetti-teaser and superstar feature concert. Yet, the experience was remarkably gratifying artistically thanks not only to the operas’ shared backstories, but also to director Matthew Ozawa’s unity of concept through the scenes and, of course, Radvanovsky’s riveting portrayal of Anne Boleyn, Mary Stuart, and Elizabeth I.

Michael Pecak
Jones reflects Glass in ENO's Orphée

Jones reflects Glass in ENO's Orphée

Much like past productions I've seen at ENO, the singing was a bit of a mixed bag. Many of the characters were played by young singers at the beginning of their careers. Naturally, some flourished while others struggled to keep up.

Alessia Naccarato
Ciekiewicz shines in the title role of Manitoba Opera's Susannah

Ciekiewicz shines in the title role of Manitoba Opera's Susannah

I hope that Ciekiewicz gets many more opportunities to sing this role. You won't hear it sung better anywhere, and her outstanding dramatic ability helped us feel the heartbreak of Susannah's anguish and confusion.

Neil Weisensel
Death in Venice: a near-perfect production

Death in Venice: a near-perfect production

At first glance, this opera based on the Thomas Mann novella of the same name doesn't lend itself to the stage which could, in part, be the reason Britten sat with the piece for so many years.

Alessia Naccarato
A perfect-fit Figaro in UofT Opera's Nozze

A perfect-fit Figaro in UofT Opera's Nozze

Incredible music, a beautiful set, and even stunning costumes too. Lisa Magill perfectly rounds out the production with her classic designs. She successfully fits the designs to the 18th century, and manages to have everyone looking their absolute best.

Alexandra Delle Donne
Rightly uncomfortable: FGO's Don Giovanni

Rightly uncomfortable: FGO's Don Giovanni

The over-the-top, 50's-horror-movie vibes of the opera's finale? Go ahead and laugh (some in the audience did). But an aria cataloguing thousands of victims of rape; a rapist sharply calling a survivor of his violence "You bitch!" – we should feel uncomfortable laughing at these moments.

Carly Gordon

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