OPERA REVIEWS

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.