Reviewed by Paula Citron
Bravissimo! Opera’s Greatest Hits
Attila Glatz Concert Productions/Roy Thomson Hall
Conducted by Daniel Callegari
Performed by Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano, Sarah Maria Punga, mezzo-soprano, Richard Margison, tenor and Alberto Gazale, baritone, with the Opera Canada Symphony and Rick Phillips, narrator
Roy Thomson Hall, Dec. 31, 2010
It was gratifying to look around Roy Thomson Hall on New Year’s Eve and see a very full house for Bravissimo! Opera’s Greatest Hits – clearly a big awareness growth curve over last year’s debut concert.
It could certainly be that the appearance of Canadian superstars, tenor Richard Margison and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, attracted people. Their singing was bang on with Margison getting the showiest numbers. Conductor Daniel Callegari was the able leader of the so-called Opera Canada Symphony, which included players from the TSO, COC, and Tafelmusik.
The new kids were Italian mezzo-soprano Sarah Maria Punga and baritone Alberto Gazale who are apparently husband and wife. I still find Gazale impressive from his last visit to town. Punga is an exciting singer but a bit wild in pitch and breathing.
The program was well-chosen because along side the warhorses were interesting inclusions such as the last scene’s trio and aria from Madama Butterfly.
Let’s hope the concert becomes a New Year’s Eve tradition.