by Paula Citron
There were a significant number of empty seats following the first act of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Presumably, those patrons do not like modern opera. For those that stayed, the COC orchestra under the superb conducting of Richard Bradshaw, and in the marvellous acoustics of the new opera house, poured out the composer’s cynical and sarcastic score in a feast for the ears.
Paul Curran’s new production for the COC picks up on the music’s droll commentary. His vision is reminiscent of post World War 1 German Expressionism where he sets the scene – full of clever surrealist touches. For this opera to be rewarding, one has to ride the musical and visual wave of this dark voyage into human nature, and not intellectually sit on the shore.
The singing is unusually good with excellent Spanish/German soprano Nicola Beller Carbone in the title role leading a very strong cast.
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk continues until Feb. 23.
From the Four Seasons Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.