Measha Brueggergosman (via measha.com)
Canadian opera companies stick to crowd-pleasing Italian masterpieces to anchor their 2013-2014 seasons
by Richard Burnett @bugsburnett
The Opéra de Quebec presents two operas this season, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Oct 19 – 26) with Le Chœur de l’Opéra de Québec, L’Orchestre symphonique de Québec and Yunah Lee in the title role; and Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth (May 17 – 24).
By far the biggest buzz this season is L’Opéra de Montréal’s company premiere of George Gerhswin’s Porgy and Bess starring superstar soprano Measha Brueggergosman as Bess in her company debut. According to the composer’s wishes, an all-black cast will take the stage, including the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and soprano Marie-Josée Lord makes her return to the Opéra de Montréal. L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal will be led by star British classical musician and conductor Wayne Marshall. The opera will run over four nights beginning on January 25, 2014. L’OdeM’s upcoming season – featuring five productions in all – opens on Sept 21 with a four-night run of the Opéra de Montréal / Opera Australia co-production of Leob Delbie’s Lakmé.
Montreal will also pay homage to Guiseppe Verdi during the Verdi Bicentennial with a Falstaff production originally created for the New York City Opera and the Glimmerglass Opera, starring Italian baritone Paolo Gavanelli (four nights beginning Nov 9); l’Atelier lyrique de l’ Opéra de Montréal will present Hänsel und Gretel by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck (March 22 – 29, 2014); and Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot will run over four nights beginning on May 17, 2014. Incidentally, Turandot features Nessun Dorma, the aria sung by Calaf, the unknown prince who falls in love with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. Calaf will be played by Kamen Chanev and Princess Turandot by renowned Russian soprano Galina Shesterneva who made her Bolshoi Theatre debut as Turandot in 2012.
There is also a fledgling Montreal opera company that I must mention, because I saw their terrific production of La Traviata in 2012. Montreal’s Opéra Immédiat presents Puccini's La Bohème at Montreal’s historic Rialto Theatre on Sept 21-22. The ticket prices are also excellent: $35 to $45.
Meanwhile, over in Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Opera has not yet posted their 2013-2014 season on their website.