Thrilling Medea Caps Canadian Opera Firm’s Spring Season


A scene from the Canadian Opera Company production of Cherubini’s Medea (Photo: Chiara Isotton)
A scene from the Canadian Opera Firm manufacturing of Cherubini’s Medea (Photograph: Chiara Isotton)

Sondra Radvanovsky, sop. (Medea); Matthew Polenzani, ten. (Giasone); Alfred Walker, bbar. (Creonte); Janai Brugger, sop. (Glauce); Zoie Reams, mezz. (Neris); Alex Halliday, bbsr. (Captain); Charlotte Siegel, sop. (Handmaiden 1); Alex Hetherington, mezz. (Handmaiden 2) / Canadian Opera Firm Orchestra and Refrain, Lorenzo Passerini, conductor / 4 Seasons Centre, Could 3, 2024. Repeats Could 9, 11, 15 & 17; tickets right here

The Canadian Opera Firm saved its finest for final in an exciting COC premiere of a not often carried out opera, Cherubini’s Medea. This can be a co-production shared by the Metropolitan Opera, Greek Nationwide Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the COC. Primarily based on the massive ovations from the nearly sold-out viewers on opening night time, Medea was an unqualified success, decidedly the largest triumph of a season of many memorable moments.

Composed by Luigi Cherubini, Medée, initially in French, premiered in 1797 Paris. The work is now extra sometimes carried out in Italian translation. The plot is predicated on the well-known Euripides’ play on the title character. In Greek mythology, Medea the sorceress helps Jason seeking the Golden Fleece. They marry and have two youngsters. Jason later abandons her to marry Glauce, the daughter of King Creonte. Medea takes revenge by killing the King, Jason’s bride, in addition to her personal two youngsters.

Given this ugly story, one would suppose Medea is the archetypal antiheroine, however she’s additionally portrayed as a sufferer, having been betrayed by Jason and others round her. It’s this ambivalence that makes Medea an attention-grabbing character, and Cherubini has composed nice, very intensely lovely music for her, to be sung by a dramatic soprano. Since Maria Callas had achieved legendary success with Medea within the Fifties, few sopranos today would dare to tackle this difficult position.

Sondra Radvonovsky as Medea (Photo: Marty Sohl, courtesy of Met Opera)
Sondra Radvonovsky as Medea (Photograph: Marty Sohl, courtesy of Met Opera)

Properly, the Callas legacy didn’t cease Sondra Radvanovsky, and for that we’re grateful! Many people, yours actually included, caught her when Medea was staged on the Met two seasons in the past. I attended the Met Dwell in HD model, and I used to be struck by the good-looking set and the artistry of Radvanovsky. However seeing it reside on the 4 Seasons Centre yesterday, it actually brings house to me the saying that “it’s important to be there!” In individual on the FSC, I used to be overwhelmed by the grandeur of the manufacturing, and most of all, by the galvanizing efficiency of Radvanosky within the title position.

She completely gave her all, throwing herself into the position, singing with a effectively gauged stability of abandonment and management, placing us on the sting of our seats with pleasure, however by no means giving us the sensation that she won’t make it. It was actually a efficiency for the ages. Becoming a member of her as a ringing toned Giasone was tenor Matthew Polenzani, returning to the COC after his fantastic Alfredo a few seasons in the past.

Two principals making notable COC debuts had been soprano Janai Brugger as a sympathetic Glauce, and mezzo Zoie Reams, wonderful because the devoted maid Neris.

The David McVicar manufacturing is arguably essentially the most luxurious and opulent manufacturing seen on the COC in years. The gilded sliding panels, the large, strategically angled mirror, the wonderful projections, and the resplendent costumes all contributed to a feast for the eyes. The photographs within the Finale, with the mirror reflecting Medea and her two youngsters slowly being engulfed by flames, will stick with me for a very long time. Musically it was an thrilling night, with debuting Italian conductor Lorenzo Passerini main the orchestra in a brisk and incisive studying of the rating. The 2 hours of music glided by in a flash,

One ultimate be aware: Whereas Radvanovsky’s Medea is to not be missed, I look ahead to additionally listening to the alternate Medea of Italian soprano Chiara Isotton, a rising star within the opera world. Her exceptionally lovely lirico-spinto voice garnered a lot reward for her current Met debut as Fedora. Isotton will sing on Could 15 and 17.

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Joseph So
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