by Paula Citron.
From the House of the Dead
Canadian Opera Company
Composed by Leos Janacek
Conducted by Alexander Briger
Directed by Dmitri Bertman
Starring Robert Pomakov, Zdenek Plech, Robert Künzli, David Pomeroy, Pavlo Hunka and Lauren Segal
At the Four Seasons Centre until Feb. 22.
The Canadian Opera Company’s poignant new production of Janacek’s last opera From the House of the Dead is magnificent. Director Dmitri Bertman, who did the COC’s questionable La Traviata, has kept control of his immense imagination and channelled the staging into a vision of brilliance. Bertman has been matched by Astrid Janson’s marvellous set that mixes periods to wonderful effect.
The opera is based on Dostoevky’s gloomy 1862 memoir of the same name about his stay in a prison camp in Siberia. There is no plot per se. We just hear some of the prisoners’ stories and experience the grim life in the camp, as exemplified by Janson’s cage-like set.
The lead singers are all strong and include Robert Pomakov, Zdenek Plech, Robert Künzli, David Pomeroy, Pavlo Hunka and Lauren Segal – the latter as a Tartar boy. Conductor Alexander Briger and the COC orchestra are simply superb.
From the House of the Dead continues at the Four Seasons Centre until Feb. 22.
I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.