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Glenn Gould School.

The Royal Conservatory of Music's Glenn Gould School mounted a terrific production of Mozart's Cost fan tutte in April. Mazzoleni Hall has no pit, so the orchestra was onstage and director Jennifer Parr had precious little room to manoeuvre. Nonetheless, using the horizontal lip of the stage, the hall's aisles and every possible entrance and exit, she fashioned a charming, intimate chamber production.

Her period-garbed cast tackled the characters and their complications with verve. Parr also concentrated on character, which rang true for all six principals, whose voices and acting skills blended together. To gild the lily, the production had a very knowledgeable Mozart conductor as music director in Mario Bernardi. The young Royal Conservatory Orchestra showed dramatic flare and nuanced subtleties under his astute guidance. The bowing was professionally even, with sophisticated phrasing and accenting throughout.

Cosi suits young voices very well, and each singer had his or her own strengths. Soprano Inga Filippova-Williams (Fiordiligi), displayed a distinctive vibrato that gave her an almost old-fashioned though dramatic sound, graced by powerful bottom notes and sophisticated phrasing. Mezzo Wallis Giunta (Dorabella) has a beautiful high instrument, an astonishing ease of delivery and consummate expression. Hers is a clear and clean sound that can be molded at will. Coloratura soprano Taylor Strande showed the requisite supple, feathery voice for Despina, and a sparkling personality that gave her presence.

Adam Bishop's Ferrando showed off a light, well-formed tenor, but capable of surprising outbursts of passion. Baritone Matthew Cassils (Guglielmo) displayed a hearty, woody sound with a gentle vibrato and hints of force to come. The basics are there, and his voice could be thrilling in the future. Already a very good actor, bass David English has time on his side, too. Although he sounded at times a little pinched in his upper register and a bit wild in pitch, his voice was not forced and should settle down to a commanding sound.
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Author:Citron, Paula
Publication:Opera Canada
Date:Jun 22, 2009
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