McGill University. (Opera in Review).
Some action was realized (by Guillermo Silva-Marin). A raised eyebrow can go a long way under bright lights. Even the climactic dumping of Falstaff in the Thames was managed with panache just in front of the stage apron. Still, the core of the success was musical. The school hired a pro for the title role, Frederick Burchinal, a ringing baritone of strong presence and prismatic color who was never swamped by the orchestra. Dressed (like everyone) in formal attire, he was a relatively classy Falstaff, and clearly an inspiration to the student singers around him. Some of these--notably baritone Jonathan Carle as Ford--sounded ready for prime time.
Another plus was the pure tenor of Dimitri Pittas, our Fenton for the evening. Among the women, mezzo-soprano Genevieve Couillard (Mistress Quickly) and soprano Katerina Papadolias (Alice Ford) were the best of a good lot.
Falstaff is very much a conductor's opera, and Alexis Hauser--an Austrian starting this year as music director of the McGill Symphony Orchestra--demonstrated both a love for and understanding of the score. Detail was never subsumed by the boisterousness of the subject, and softer moments projected the same vital humor at a gentler level. The school will move on to a full staging of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress in the Spring.
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|Article Type:||Opera Review|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2002|
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