Last night we had our Dress Rehearsal for Rusalka, which
will open on Saturday night. The production, which came from Theater
Erfurt in Germany, is really quite stunning with a pool on set,
shimmering costuming, and remarkable lighting effects. The story, based
on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale The Little Mermaid, is
one that most of us are familiar with, and our production heightens the
fantastical elements, which successfully strikes the imagination of
observers to create an unforgettable artistic vision.
Makerov and Michael Schade are wonderfully matched to lead a strong
cast of singers. I am very much looking forward to opening night on
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Productions / comments (0) / permalink
I have just returned from a fruitful trip to Europe where I had to the pleasure of enjoying various operas, including the Opéra National de Paris production of Fidelio and the La Monnaie production of Rusalka in Brussels. It really made me proud that we are performing both of these works in the New Year.
Fidelio is based on a story by Jean-Nicholas Bouilly. Bouilly was an activist figure in the French administration before and during the French Revolution. The work is filled with the revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. It is interesting to consider the fact that Beethoven’s opera is probably the first serious political opera by a German composer, and was considered groundbreaking when it opened in 1805. One of my favourite aspects of this opera is the humanity, and the multi-dimensional characters. I feel that Beethoven created characters that are extraordinarily relatable from an audience perspective.
As for Rusalka, it is the first time the COC has performed this beautiful work. The COC in recent years has focused on fellow-Czech composer Leos Janáček’s library of operas. It is a delight to explore more Czech operatic material, especially Dvořák’s Rusalka, as it is one of the most beautiful scores ever written, and at the top of my list of favourites.
Music rehearsals have now started with the chorus members for our productions, and I look forward to a thrilling opening in the New Year.
We now turn our attention to the annual Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour.
This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the final dress
rehearsal for both productions with my family at our rehearsal
facilities on Front Street.
This year we are touring a remount of Dean Burry’s The Brothers Grimm,
a charming retelling of the life of the brothers and some of their
famous stories—“Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rapunzel,” and
It is a little-known fact that The Brothers Grimm is the most performed Canadian opera in history with well over 100 performances to its credit. Listen to clips:
Track 1: “Once upon a time…”
Track 2: “Fairest lady…”
We are also touring a colourful new version of The Barber of Seville,
specially adapted by former Ensemble Studio member Brent Krysa to
include all of the best-known tunes and madcap fun associated with this
most popular of operas.
Each year the Xstrata Ensemble
Studio School tour reaches between 15,000 and 20,000 elementary school
children across the province.
As I write this The Brothers Grimm
company is in Sudbury and Timmins with stops by both productions
planned for communities such as Scotland, Ingersoll, Bracebridge,
Aurora, King City and Barrie.
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