by Paula Citron
At the end of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, the woman in the row ahead of me shouted out a giant whoop meaning Right On! The hall was electric. Maestro Peter Oundjian had just led the Toronto Symphony, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company on a thrilling journey of storytelling.
Orff’s 1936 masterpiece sets to music a series of profane medieval songs. Oundjian’s masterful approach was to let out all the stops and concentrate on the emotional and dramatic elements. This TSO Carmina Burana was a mini opera.
The orchestra is also sounding really good. The woodwind section is extraordinary while the strings have really come together. As for the two choirs, there was even singing throughout with no ragged edges.
Baritone Hugh Russell is an astonishing actor who threw himself into his roles, while countertenor Daniel Taylor was the most woeful cooked swan ever. Slovakian soprano Simona Saturova was practically ecstatic in her high notes.
From Roy Thomson Hall, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.