reviewed by Paula Citron
Toronto Summer Music Festival
Conducted by Agnes Grossmann
Starring Phillip Addis, Stephen Bell, Melinda Delorme, Erica Iris Huang, Teiya Kasahara, Tomislav Lavoie, Joey Niceforo, Paul Ouellette, Lauren Segal, Désiré Till and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada
At the MacMillan Theatre
Toronto Summer Music Festival did not present a fully staged opera this year as a cost saving measure. Instead, artistic director Agnes Grossmann did the next best thing. She mounted an Opera Extravaganza featuring ten young singers who had all appeared in former TSM operas. Grossmann conducted the young players of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada who did very well.
It was a demanding program covering Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Donizetti, Cilea, Richard Strauss with schlock Italian songs for good measure. There was not a Puccini in sight. The hands down winners were the Strauss selections from Ariadne auf Naxos and Der Rosenkavalier which were positively orgasmic.
In a short review, only a few of the ten can be mentioned. Baritone Phillip Addis has a delivery that is creamy, rich and compelling. The voice of mezzo-soprano Erica Iris Huang is lush, musky and seductive and speaks of meaty roles down the line. Bass-baritone Tomislav Lavoie has the sonority of command and beautiful phrasing.