Reviewed by Paula Citron
This spring season, the COC features crazy stage direction. For Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, director Stephen Lawless has a great set idea in an Elizabethan theatre, and then totally misuses the design. The singing and conducting, however, are sublime.
Lawless is a director who loves the floor. His singers are on theirs knees or behinds for most of the opera. He has staged them mostly on the narrow stairs. Poor tenor Eric Cutler. His large feet are too big for the stairs so he has them on different levels and looks like he’s hopping.
And then there’s Lawless’ inept total eclipse of Maria’s famous Preghiera and execution, and the scene between the queens fails to ignite. And don’t forget those interminable curtains…
At any rate conductor Antony Walker, Serena Farnocchia and Alexandrina Pendatchanska as Maria and Elisabetta respectively, and the rest of the strong cast render the opera aurally stunning.
Maria Stuarda continues at the Four Seasons Centre until May 30.
Canadian Opera Company
Composed by Gaetano Donizetti
Conducted by Antony Walker
Directed by Stephen Lawless
Starring Serena Farnocchia, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Eric Cutler, Patrick Carfizzi, Weston Hurt and Simone Osborne
Four Seasons Centre, May 1 to 30, 2010