I caught the last performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo by Opera Atelier on April 13th, 2019 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.
The performance starred Colin Ainsworth (Idomeneo), Measha Bruggergosman (Elettra), Wallis Giunta (Idamante), Meghan Lindsay (Llia), Bradley Christensen (Priest), Olivier Laquerre (Arbace), and Douglas Williams (Neptune.)
The production was directed by Marshall Pynkoski and conducted by David Fallis.
The production, like all of Opera Atelier’s productions, is on a lavish set that is very traditional – a large hall for large gatherings, a garden, and a room for worshipping Neptune with a large statute of Neptune. This allows the performance, not the director’s take on the opera, to take centre stage.
The singing was marvellous from all the performers, especially Ms. Lindsay and Ms. Giunta as the lovers Llia and Idamante, and Mr. Ainsworth as Idomeneo. Ms. Bruggergosman’s singing was well and she acted well for the most part – although a couple of times in the first act she seemed to be a bit stiff with her movements to me but she totally warmed into the role by the end and her final aria was extremely moving – both vocally and acted. I would like to see her in more performances in the future.
The music was wonderfully conducted by Maestro Fallis – although it was odd that the orchestra pit at the theatre was not being used. The drummer was sitting in a box off to stage right. This made for some really loud thunder sounds during the storm scenes!
There were only two parts of the performance that I thought could have been better. Firstly, I would have like to have seen the chorus a bit more involved in the performance. A large portion of their performance was sung from two of the upper boxes on stage left. While this allowed for the ballet dancers more space for their performance – I did think some of the scenes were over done with the ballet and it would have worked better with the chorus on stage reacting to the action on stage. The extra ballet dancing did not improve the performance in my opinion.
The other ‘issue’ was Mr. Pynkoski, the production’s director and Opera Atelier’s co-Artistic Director, coming out to do a speech prior to the start of the performance. The Maestro had come out and was ready to start conducting the performance. The only reason for coming out was for advertising. The programme already had the announcement for next season in it, and we were already at the performance so there was no need to sell the audience on either the performance (which was the last performance of the run anyway) nor to sell next season. I have seen a couple other companies do this and I hope it is a trend that stops. I went to see a performance, not to hear a speech from the Artistic Director.
All in all a very good performance!