by Paula Citron
The Canadian Opera Company’s production of Verdi’s Luisa Miller is strong. The original Italian design from Teatro San Carlo is peculiar, but it works by mixing centuries to make statements about privilege and oppression – the middle ages for the set, Elizabethan times for the courtiers, and Napoleonic for the peasantry. Young Argentinean director Jose Maria Condemi uses economy for strength in storytelling, while conductor Richard Bradshaw brings drama to the music.
The singers are very good and they can also act. Italian soprano Serena Farnocchia as Luisa Miller has a beautiful lyric voice, precision coloratura and an ability to spin notes into filigree. Russian tenor Mikhail Agafonov hits money notes with melodic ease as Rodolfo. Swiss baritone Alexander Marco-Buhrmester as Miller has Verdian style, while basses, Turkish Burak Bilgili as Count Walter and Canadian Phillip Ens as Wurm, are robust. Mezzo-soprano Larissa Kostyuk as Frederica sings in fulsome manner.
Luisa Miller continues until May 11.
From the Four Seasons Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.