OPERA REVIEWS

A MEMORABLE PETER GRIMES FROM BRAMWELL TOVEY (NK)

Benjamin Britten, PETER GRIMES: David Pomeroy (Peter Grimes), Erin Wall (Ellen Orford), Brett Polegato (Balstrode), Gregory Dahl (Swallow), Susan Platts (Mrs. Sedley), Francesca Corrado (Auntie), Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey (conductor), UBC Opera Ensemble, Nancy Hermiston (director), Orpheum, June 9, 2018.

 

A WELL-TAILORED OVERCOAT FROM VANCOUVER OPERA

James Rolfe, THE OVERCOAT: Geoffrey Sirett (Akakiy), Peter McGillivray (Petrovich / Head of Department / Personage), Andrea Ludwig (landlady), Caitlin Wood, Magali Simard-Galdés, Erica Iris Huang, Courtney Stevens and Colin Heath, Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Leslie Dala (conductor), Morris Panych (libretto and director), Wendy Gorling (movement director), Ken MacDonald (set designer), Alan Brodie (lighting designer), Vancouver Playhouse, May 4, 2018.

 

A SUPERB EUGENE ONEGIN ADDS MOMENTUM TO THE 2018 VANCOUVER OPERA FESTIVAL

Tchaikovsky, EUGENE ONEGIN: Svetlana Aksenova (Tatyana), Carolyn Sproule (Olga), Leah Giselle Field (Madame Larina), Megan Latham (Filippyevna), Alexei Dolgov (Lensky), Konstantin Shushakov (Onegin), Peter Monaghan (Zaretsky/Captain Petrovich), Martin Renner Wallace (Monsieur Triquet), Goderdzi Janelidze (Prince Gremin). Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Jonathan Darlington (conductor), Vancouver Opera Chorus, Kinza Tyrrell (director), Tom Diamond (stage director), Scott Reid (set and projection designer), Harry Frehner (lighting designer), Parvin Mirhady (costume design consultant), Queen Elizabeth Theatre, April 29, 2018.

 

A DAZZLING L’ELISIR D’AMORE FROM VANCOUVER OPERA

Gaetano Donizetti, L’ELISIR D’AMORE, Andrew Haji (Nemorino), Ying Fang (Adina), Brett Polegato (Belcore), Stephen Hegedus (Dulcamara), Elaina Moreau (Giannetta): Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Jonathan Darlington (conductor), Vancouver Opera Chorus (Chorus Master: Leslie Dala), Brenna Corner (director), Queen Elizabeth Theatre, January 21, 2018.

 

UBC OPERA’S ORFEO ED EURIDICE A VARIABLE SUCCESS

Gluck, ORFEO ed EURIDICE: Shane Hanson (Orfeo), Elizabeth Harris (Euridice), Colleen Donnelly (Amor), Orfeo’s Choir and the UBC Opera Ensemble Chorus, Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Leslie Dala (conductor), directed by Nancy Hermiston, The Old Auditorium UBC, November 4, 2017.

 

TRANSGRESSION AND FORGIVENESS: A POWERFUL JENŮFA FROM PACIFIC OPERA VICTORIA

Leoš Janáček, JENŮFA, Leoš Janáček (libretto, after the play Její pastorkyňa – ‘Her Stepdaughter’ - by Gabriela Preissová). Lara Ciekiewicz (Jenůfa), Emilia Boteva (the Kostelnička), Colin Judson (Laca), Lynne McMurtry (Grandmother Buryja), John Lindsey (Števa), Dion Mazerolle (The Mayor), Maria Soulis (The Mayor’s Wife), Andrea Hill (Karolka), Peter McGillivray (Stárek), Rebecca Genge (Jano). Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Timothy Vernon, conductor, Pacific Opera Victoria Chorus, Giuseppe Pietraroia, Chorus Master, Atom Egoyan, director. Royal Theatre Victoria, October 20, 2017.

 

A STUPENDOUS PERFORMANCE OF THE ENIGMATIC TURANDOT FROM VANCOUVER OPERA

Giacomo Puccini, TURANDOT, Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simone (libretto), Amber Wagner (Turandot), Marcelo Puente (Calaf), Marianne Fiset (Liù), Alain Coulomb (Timur), Sam Chung (Emperor Altoum), Jonathan Beyer (Ping ), Julius Ahn (Pang), Joseph Hu (Pong), Peter Monaghan (Mandarin). Vancouvert Opera Orchestra, Jacquest Lacombe conductor, Vancouver Opera Chorus, Leslie Dala, conductor/director, Vancouver Opera Children’s Chorus, Kinza Tyrrell director, André Barbe and Renaud Doucet, set, costume design, direction and choreography. Queen Elizabeth Theatre, October 13, 2017.

 

A SENSITIVE AND COMPELLING UPDATING OF HANDEL’S ACIS AND GALATEA

George Frideric Handel, ACIS AND GALATEA, John Gay/Debi Wong (libretto): Debi Wong (Acis), Rachel Fenlon (Galatea), Peter Monaghan (Polyphemus), Marie Civitarese (Damon), with CD Saint, Clinton Stoffberg, Heather Molloy, William Alexander Liu (Chorus), Ensemble Nylandia, Matias Häkkinen (music director), Alan Corbishley (director). Orpheum Annex, September 15, 2017.

 

A SPARKLING ARIADNE FROM UBC OPERA

Richard Strauss, ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, Amira McCavitt (The Prima Donna/Ariadne), Scott Rumble (The Tenor/Bacchus), Elizabeth Harris (Zerbinetta), Charlotte Beglinger (Komponist), Jason Klippenstein (Musiklehrer), Spencer Britten (Tanzmeister), Yuhui Wang (Harlekin), Kurt Haunsperger (Haushofmeister) and others: Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Jonathan Darlington (Conductor), Alessia Carpoca (Set Design), Jeremy Baxter (Lighting Design), Parvin Mirhady (Costume Design), Old Auditorium UBC, June 24, 2017.

 

A DELIGHTFUL FIGARO TO CLOSE OUT THE FESTIVAL

Mozart, THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, Alex Lawrence (Figaro), Caitlin Wood (Susanna), Phillip Addis (Count Almaviva), Leslie Ann Bradley (Countess Almaviva), Ricardo Lugo (Bartolo), Anita Krause (Marcellina), Mireille Lebel (Cherubino), Christopher Mayell (Basilio, Don Curzio), Peter Monaghan (Antonio), Vanessa Oude-Reimerink (Barbarina), and others. Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Leslie Dala (Conductor), Drew Facey (Scenic Designer), Sid Neigum (Costume Designer), John Webber (Lighting Designer), Rachel Peake (Director), Playhouse, May 11, 2017.

 

DEAD MAN WALKING SUCCESSFULLY TAKES THE OPERA FESTIVAL TO SERIOUS FARE

Jake Heggie, DEAD MAN WALKING, J’Nai Bridges (Sister Helen Prejean), Daniel Okulitch (Joseph De Rocher), Judith Forst (Mrs. Patrick De Rocher), Karen Slack (Sister Rose), (Charles Robert Austin (George Benton), J. Patrick Raftery (Father Grenville), Karen Ydenberg (Kitty Hart), Thomas Goerz (Owen Hart), Emma Parkinson (Jade Boucher), Michael Barrett (Howard Boucher), and others. Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Jonathan Darlington (Conductor), Vancouver Opera Chorus, Kinza Tyrrell (Director), Erhard Rom (Set and Design), Joel Ivany (Director). Playhouse, May 7, 2017.

 

VANCOUVER OPERA’S OTELLO PROVIDES AN AUSPICIOUS START TO ITS INAUGURAL FESTIVAL

Verdi, OTELLO: Antonello Palombi (Otello), Gregory Dahl (Iago), Erin Wall (Desdemona), John Cudia (Cassio), Megan Latham (Emilia), Thomas Goerz (Lodovico), Martin Sadd (Roderigo), and Angus Bell (Montano), Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Jonathan Darlington (Conductor), Vancouver Opera Chorus, Kinza Tyrrell (Director); directed by Michael Cavanagh, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 4, 2017.

 

A HANSEL AND GRETEL FULL OF DELIGHT – AND SOME THINGS TO GET USED TO

Engelbert Humperdinck, HANSEL AND GRETEL: Pascale Spinney (Hansel), Taylor Pardell (Gretel), Ryan Downey (the witch), Peter Monaghan (Father), Leah Giselle Field (Mother), Vanessa Oude-Reimerink (Sandman/Dew Fairy), Viktor Lukawski, Lenard Stanga (Puppeteers), Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Alexander Prior, Conductor, Vancouver Opera Children’s Chorus, Angus Kellett, Director, Brenna Corner, Stage Director, Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, November 24, 2016.

 

A SPLENDID SIMON BOCCANEGRA FROM PACIFIC OPERA VICTORIA

Todd Thomas (Simon Boccanegra), Lara Ciekiewicz (Maria Boccanegra/Amelia Grimaldi), Philip Ens (Jacopo Fiesco), Jason Slayden (Gabriele Adorno), Brett Polegato (Paulo Albiani), and Neil Craighead (Pietro), Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Timothy Vernon, conductor, Pacific Opera Chorus, Giuseppe Pietraroia, Chorus Master, Glynis Leyshon, director, Royal Theatre Victoria, October 13, 2016.

 

‘BRAVO’: VANCOUVER OPERA CELEBRATES TWO DECADES OF INSPIRED LEADERSHIP FROM JAMES WRIGHT

Tracy Dahl (soprano), Jessica Chung (soprano), John Tessier (tenor), Krisztina Szabò (mezzo-soprano), Daniel Okulitch (bass-baritone), Ramona Luengen (piano): Vancouver Opera Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Darlington, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, June 2, 2016.

 

A WELL-SUNG AND INVOLVING EVITA FROM VANCOUVER OPERA

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, EVITA, Caroline Bowman (Eva Perón), John Cudia (Perón), Ramin Karimloo (Che), Cooper Grodin (Magaldi), Shannon Chan-Kent (Perón’s Mistress); Conducted by Jonathan Darlington, Directed by Kelly Robinson; Tracey Flye (choreographer:): Queen Elizabeth Theatre, April 30, 2016.

 

DARK SISTERS TACKLES A TOUGH SUBJECT

Nico Mulhy/Stephen Karam, DARK SISTERS: Eve-Lyn de la Haye (Zina), Heather Pawsey (Presendia), Karen Ydenberg (Almera), Megan Latham (Ruth), Melanie Krueger (Eliza),  Thomas Goerz (Prophet), Eden Tremayne (Lucinda); conducted by Kinza Tyrrell, directed by Amiel Gladstone, Vancouver Playhouse, November 27, 2015. 

 

A COMPELLING ‘OTELLO’ FROM PACIFIC OPERA VICTORIA

Verdi, OTELLO: Kristian Benedikt (Otello), Todd Thomas (Iago), Leslie Ann Bradley (Desdemona), Adam Luther (Cassio), Lynne McMurtry (Emilia), Jeremy Bowes (Lodovico), Matthew Bruce (Roderigo) and Alexander Dobson (Montano), Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Timothy Vernon (conductor), Pacific Opera Chorus (under Giuseppe Pietraroia); directed by Glynis Leyshon, Royal Theatre Victoria, October 25, 2015.

 

AN EXCITING RIGOLETTO FROM VANCOUVER OPERA

Verdi, RIGOLETTO: Gordon Hawkins (Rigoletto), Simone Osborne (Gilda), Bruce Sledge (Duke of Mantua), Matthew Treviño (Sparafucile), Carolyn Sproule (Maddalena) with Willy Miles-Grenzberg, Cameron McPhail, Angus Bell, Marcel d'Entremont, Eden Tremayne, Zachary Read and Francesca Corrado, conducted by Jonathan Darlington, directed by Nancy Hermiston, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, September 26, 2015.

 

A SCINTILLATING ‘CANDIDE’

Leonard Bernstein, CANDIDE, Tracy Dahl (Cunégonde), Judith Forst (The Old Lady), Alek Schrader (Candide), Richard Suart (narrator, Pangloss), Soloists and Chorus from the UBC Opera Ensemble, VSO/ Bramwell Tovey, Orpheum, June 8, 2015.

 

THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ‘CHOIR PRACTICE’ STRONGLY CONVINCES --AND CREATES CONTROVERSY TOO

Stephen Chatman/Tara Wohlberg, CHOIR PRACTICE, Sheldon Baxter (William Stoker), Katie Miller (Dawn), Alireza Mojibian (Corey), Gwendolyn Yearwood (Heather), Isabella Halladay (Julia), Paula Berry (Marilyn), Rachel Stewart (Amy), Geoffrey Schellenberg (Richard), Scott Brooks (Dr. Dave), Duncan Watts-Brown (Kenny the Clown), Sierra Campbell (Diva), Jack Foster (Angry Man), William Grossman (Gerhardt), Leanne Kaufman (Sally), Tamar Simon (Adonia), conducted by Jonathan Girard; directed by Nancy Hermiston, UBC Old Auditorium, May 9, 2015.

 

VANCOUVER OPERA: THE CHILL OF SWEENEY TODD

Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler, SWEENEY TODD, Greer Grimsley (Sweeney Todd/ Benjamin Barker), Luretta Bybee (Mrs. Lovett), Rocco Rupulo (Anthony Hope), Caitlin Wood (Johanna), Pascal Charbonneau (Tobias Ragg), Doug McNaughton (Judge Turpin), conducted by Jonathan Darlington; directed by Kim Collier, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 2, 2015.

 

A HUGELY ENJOYABLE ‘DIE FLEDERMAUS’ FROM VANCOUVER OPERA

Johann Strauss, Jr., DIE FLEDERMAUS, Joyce El-Khoury (Rosalinde), Suzanne Rigden (Adele), Roger Honeywell (Eisenstein), Julie Boulianne (Orlovsky), Christopher Gaze (Frosh), Hugh Russell (Dr. Falke), David Pomeroy (Alfred), Andrew Greenwood (Frank), Vancouver Opera Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Darlington; directed by Nancy Hermiston, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, March 6, 2015.

 

ENTICING SINGING BUT LESS THAN DISTINGUISHED DIRECTION IN PACIFIC OPERA'S LUCIA

Donizetti, LUCIA DE LAMMERMOOR, Tracy Dahl (Lucia), Ernesto Ramírez (Edgardo), James Westman (Enrico), Giles Tomkins (Raimondo), Owen McCausland (Arturo), Josh Lovel (Normanno), Michèle Bogdanowicz (Alisa),Victoria Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Opera Chorus, conducted by Timothy Vernon, Royal Theatre, February 22, 2015.

 

A MAGNIFICENT RHEINGOLD FROM PACIFIC OPERA VICTORIA

John Fanning (Wotan), Gordon Gietz (Loge), Joni Henson (Fricka) Betty Waynne Allison (Freia), Doug MacNaughton (Donner), Adam Luther (Froh), Susan Platts (Erda), Todd Thomas (Alberich), Benjamin Butterfield (Mime), Uwe Dambruch (Fasolt), Jeremy Galyon (Fafner), Lucia Cesaroni (Woglinde), Betty Waynne Allison (Wellgunde), Maria Soulis (Flosshilde), Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Tinothy Vernon (conductor), Wim Trompert (Director), Hans Winkler (Set Designer), Nancy Bryant (Costume Designer), Kevin Lamotte (Lighting Designer), Royal Theatre, October 26, 2014.

 

A COMPELLING DEBUT FOR 'STICKBOY'

Sunny Shams (Boy), Megan Latham (Grandmother), Willy Miles-Grenzberg, Heather Pawsey, Alan Macdonald; Music composed by Neil Weisensel, Libretto by Shane Koyczan, Leslie Dala (conductor), Rachael Peake (Director) Drew Facey (Set Designer), with animation by Giant Ant, Vancouver Playhouse, October 24, 2014

 

VANCOUVER OPERA: THE TIMELESS INTRIGUE OF BIZET'S 'CARMEN'

Georges Bizet, Carmen, Kate Aldrich (Carmen), Richard Troxell (Don José), Morgan Smith (Escamillo), Marianne Fiset (Micaëla),  Thomas Goerz (Zuniga),  Aaron Durand (Le Dancaïre),  Rocco Rupolo (Le Remendado), Caitlin Wood (Frasquita), Laurelle Jade Froese (Mercédès), Zachary Read (Moralès);  conducted by Jacques Lacombe, directed by Joel Ivany, Queen Elizabeth Theater, October 4, 2014

 

VANCOUVER OPERA'S 'DON CARLO'

Andrea Carè (Don Carlo), Jodi Henson (Elisabeth), Mary Phillips (Eboli), Brett Polegato (Rodrigo), Peter Volpe (King Philip), Gregory Frank (The Grand Inquisitor), Chad Louwerse (Friar), Kristin Hoff (Tebaldo), Martin Saad (Count Lerma), Jonathan Darlington, conductor; directed by Paul Peers, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 10, 2014.

 

VANCOUVER OPERA’S ‘DON GIOVANNI’

Daniel Okulitch (Don Giovanni), Katherine Whyte (Donna Anna), Krisztina Szabó (Donna Elvira), Colin Ainsworth (Don Ottavio), Stephen Hegedus (Leporello), Rachel Fenlon (Zerlina), Aaron Durand (Masetto), conducted by Steuart Bedford, directed by Kelly Robinson, Bob Bonniel, projection design, Queen Elizabeth Theater, March 8, 2014.