Reviewed by Paula Citron
Toronto Operetta Theatre
Music by Federico Moreno Torroba
Conducted José Hernández
Directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin
Performed by Miriam Khalil, Michèle Bogdanowicz, Edgar Ernesto Remírez, Guillermo Silva-Marin and Eugenia Dermentzis
Jane Mallett Theatre
Mar. 9 to 13, 2011
I have always appreciated hearing unfamiliar works, and Toronto Operetta Theatre introduced me to the tuneful Luisa Fernanda by Federico Moreno Torroba.
This zarzuela, the operetta of Spain, is filled with a gorgeous parade of Spanish music. Luisa Fernanda premiered in Madrid in 1932, and, so has modern cadences to the score. On more than one occasion, the music reminded me of Hollywood musicals where the likes of Betty Grable and Lana Turner went man-hunting in South America. I expected Ricardo Montalban or Fernando Lamas to show up at any moment.
The key roles belong to women, and sopranos Michèle Bogdanowicz as Luisa Fernanda, and Miriam Khalil as Duchess Carolina both sang magnificently. Imported Mexican tenor Edgar Ernesto Ramírez as Javier is a real talent, while baritone Guillermo Silva-Marin as Vidal showed he still has the chops.
Conductor José Hernández did a wonderful job in the pit. He is capable of subtlety and nuance, as well as the grand effect.