Posted by Alexander Neef / in Casting / comments (0) / permalink
On Saturday night, we opened Fidelio to great success. I
enjoyed Andreas Baesler’s production, as he makes Beethoven's piece of
1805 relevant to today’s audiences. It was masterfully led by Adrianne
Pieczonka as Leonore. She carries the cast from beginning to end with
her vocal brilliance, and wonderful sense of the character, she is
joined by Mats Almgren (Rocco), Gidon Saks (Don Pizarro), Virginia
Hatfield (Marzelline), Adam Luther (Jaquino), Zdenek Plech (Don
Fernando) and Jon Ketilsson (Florestan). Gregor Bühl inspires a real
Beethoven sound to our orchestra.
is always sad to lose a singer for a production and I regret not being
able to do the series with Jon Villars. It is always a difficult task
to find a replacement at the last minute, and especially in such
challenging repertoire. We have been fortunate to find two very strong
singers for the role of Florestan to help us through this situation,
Jon Ketilsson and Richard Margison.
Ketilsson did a wonderful job in our first two performances, despite
not rehearsing with the orchestra in advance and the cast adapted well
to all of the surrounding changes. It is wonderful to have Mr.
Ketilsson with us for the first half of the series. I am also delighted
that we will have Richard Margison with us to close the run. This will
be Mr. Margison’s debut at the Four Seasons Centre, and we will be
pleased to have this eminent Canadian artist with us.
Fidelio is approaching quickly, and I would like to express my excitement in hosting Adrianne Pieczonka’s role debut as Leonore. Leonore is such a challenging role, and an incredibly difficult one to cast as the voice needs to encompass so many colours, from light lyric passages to strong dramatic phrases.
In the soprano’s first act aria, Beethoven makes huge demands on the singer’s stamina to sustain her voice in the top part of her range for a long time before finishing with a concluding quick section which requires wide-ranging agility. There is no mercy for this role, especially in the final scene where she sings top note after top note against a very full orchestra.
It is important for me to see Canadian singers debuting roles in our house. It is our goal for the COC to be a home company for Canadian singers, and for them to feel comfortable and supported singing this challenging and exciting repertoire.
(Clifton Forbis and Adrianne Pieczonka in the COC’s Die Walküre. Photo: Michael Cooper)
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