Opera da Camera
Cinderella by Opera da Camera"Cendrillon" by Opera da Camera –, a dynamic young opera company, currently presenting their version of the Opéra - Comique Cinderella from the 21st of February until the 28th at the majestic Rialto Theatre.
Once upon a time, as children we were read sweet fairy tales that made us dream of attending fancy balls at which beautiful princesses danced gracefully and where Prince Charming might be just around the corner...
As magical and miraculous as these childhood dreams seemed, with time we come to the realization that the real magic in life is to be found in the results of our hard work, determination, and also sometimes…in the unexpected:
I was pleasantly charmed by the production of Jules Massenet's well - loved french opera fairy tale "Cendrillon" by Opera da Camera –, a dynamic young opera company, currently presenting their version of the Opéra - Comique from the 21st of February until the 28th at the majestic Rialto Theatre as part of the Bel Canto festival.
In Charles Perrault’s story of the persecuted heroine 'Cendrillon', Cinderella’s father Pandolfe ( baryton Martin-Michel Boucher ), wonders why he forsook the calm of his country home to marry a selfish countess ( commanding mezzo-soprano Geneviève Couillard-Després) with her two vain daughters (Noémie: Valérie Bélanger and Dorothée: Meagan Zantingh). He acknowledges that he is subservient to his wife and laments the fate of his own daughter Cinderella (Lucette - Carol Léger) who in contrast, is a simple, kind young girl who dreams of attending the ball, but is forced to stay behind and do her numerous chores.
Meanwhile up at the castle, the Prince, (played by Kathrin Welte as a 'mezzo-soprano de sentiment’) is suffering from severe melancholy and dreams of finding love…In comes a sparkling fairy godmother (soprano Sarah Halmarson). With a wisp of her magic wand, a pumpkin and a glass slipper, she brings closure to the classic fairytale and speaks of the greatest magic of the human condition: Love.
Opera da Camera created a production that is charming with colorful sets and costumes, clever dialogues and a lush and varied musical score performed with gusto by a chamber ensemble led by Conductor Christopher Hossfeld.
I enjoyed the addition of comedians and a younger cast in the corps de ballet which accentuated the absurdity of the prince having to choose a wife among the frivolous ball attendees before Cinderella’s dramatic appearance. I also found it interesting to hear the role of the Prince being sung by a woman, which I believe only heightened the lyrical sensibility of the duet performed by the two leads.
“Since its foundation in 2011, Opera da Camera has been producing voice recitals that combine works of the classical and musical theater genres in order to promote accessibility and encourage an understanding of the sung art forms. In 2013, the company broadened its mandate to include complete operas on a yearly basis.
Fulfilling its mandate of creating accessibility for the operatic arts, Opera da Camera has launched several initiatives in conjunction with "Cendrillon" to attract a diverse group of attendees, including a dating event (“Find your own Prince Charming / Cinderella”), a pre-opera talk by McGill music librarian Brian McMillan, special rates for children under the age of twelve ($10) and a social media campaign titled “Behind the Scenes”, featuring postings about the creative and production processes used to stage the opera.”
CENDRILLON continues its run as part of the Bel Canto festival at the Rialto theater:
February 21, 22, 23 and 28
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