It's chilly and cold outside but the Canadian Opera Company has a hot and sizzling way to celebrate with them this month! On February 26th the COC will present their annual fundraising bash, Operanation 6 Habanera at the beautiful Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
I celebrated with the COC early by attending the brilliantly sexy Carmen, an alluring story of a gypsy's seduction of a young soldier and the ensuing torment and turmoil. Georges Bizet's Carmen is one of the world's most famous operas for a reason -- as my friend Alix Robertson-Salzberg said, "it's salacious and unapologetically contagious" -- it truly comes to life on the stage. Michael Yergan did an incredible job with the sets, transforming inanimate objects into scenes bursting with life, aided by Aaron Black's near-magical lighting techniques. Carmen is obviously meant to be the star of the show but Jessica Muirhead, who played the sweet and innocent Micaela, shone the brightest with a clear and elegant voice. Sandra Horst did a fantastic job as chorus master, Carmen's ensemble had a beautiful strength and clarity not often heard.
Obsession and jealousy never fail to pack a room with heat and the COC's Othello did just that with a wonderful performance based on Shakespeare's Othello. Considered by many to be one of the greatest tragic operas of all time, Othello tells the tale of a former slave who rises to the rank of general, finds love with the devoted Desdemona, only to become consumed by a raging obsession and jealousy fueled by the sinister lieutenant, Iago. The chemistry between Othello and Desdemona feels genuine and alive, making his ignorant betrayal that much more deeply felt by the audience. It is Iago, played by Scott Hendricks who commands the greatest attention of the audience and who rewards us with the greatest performance. While everything about Othello is superb, the voices of the cast will stir your heart and spark your imagination.
Photos courtesy of the COC and Michael Cooper.
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