BANFF, Alberta – Adapting an ancient Greek story, Veronika Krausas and André Alexis populated their opera with humans and puppets. Giddy laughter from the audience during Act I gave way to silence for the dark ending.
MONTREAL – Observing the fifth anniversary of its Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique, the Maison symphonique showcased the 6,489-pipe colossus with a four-hand go at The Rite of Spring by Olivier Latry and Shin-Young Lee.
TORONTO – Composer Dean Burry's Shanawdithit, about the woman who was the last known member of the Beothuk, a people that lived in Newfoundland, reflected the work of a team that included many Indigenous artists.
TORONTO – Gunther Herbig, former music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, made his first podium return since 2012 with unfinished symphonies by Schubert and Bruckner, and most of the rewards centered on the latter.
CALGARY – About 1,700 Calgarians braved bitter Arctic cold to see Joby Talbot’s 2015 Everest at Calgary Opera. The largely Canadian cast featured bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch as a climber left for dead. The staging originated in Dallas.
TORONTO – In music by Chopin and Debussy, the 2015 Chopin Competition gold medalist gave an impressive demonstration of pianistic métier while leaving room for reservations regarding his willingness to communicate.
TORONTO – Despite a story of fiery passion and a score with many highlights, Rufus Wainwright’s second opera needs a rewrite. The Canadian Opera Company brought a dream production team and a stellar cast to the premiere.
TORONTO – Can there be too much energy on the podium? Cellist-turned-conductor Han-Na Chang’s intensely kinetic approach to Mahler with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was a nonstop spectacle but became a bit exhausting.
MONTREAL – In its season opener, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra premiered Chaakapesh, The Trickster’s Quest, a chamber opera sung in Cree about the adventures of the eponymous Aboriginal mythical hero.
QUEBEC CITY – The Festival d’opéra de Québec’s marquee production affirms stage director Robert Lepage’s status as a leading conservative of our time. Mozart’s humanistic message shines through Ex Machina’s dazzling visuals.
BANFF, Alberta – Joel Ivany directed an enhanced take on the 1859 Berlioz version of Gluck’s French rethinking of Orphée et Eurydice, now newly retitled Orphée+. Like Gluck in his day, Ivany said he wanted to add innovative touches.
MONTREAL – In leading the Montreal Symphony through the nine symphonies, music director Kent Nagano brought a contemporary golden mean of interpretation: neither old-fashioned tempo manipulator nor neo-Baroque martinet.
MONTREAL – The Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal marks its 30 years as a purveyor of newness by mounting and touring Hockey Noir, an 80-minute chamber opera set in sporting, gritty Montreal of the 1950s.
VICTORIA, B.C. – Pacific Opera Victoria closed its season with a mainstream production of Rinaldo, stylish but eclectic. It set out to charm. But did the storybook staging square with the intensity of Handel’s music?
TORONTO – There was a sense of hail-and-farewell at the opening of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's 14th New Creations Festival, the final new-music showcase established by outgoing music director Peter Oundjian.
MONTREAL – Technology vaults irrevocably forward. Does concert music pay heed? Among attempts to link the two we can now count (and probably discount) Les Planètes, an experimental recital in the Satosphère.