reviewed by Paula Citron
The Bird Seller
Toronto Operetta Theatre
Composed by Carl Zeller
Directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin
Conducted by Derek Bate
Starring Allison Angelo, James McLennan, Keith Klassen, Miriam Khalil and Gerrit Theule
At the Jane Mallett Theatre until Jan. 4.
Toronto Operetta Theatre has the operetta genre down pat. Carl Zeller’s 1891 The Bird Seller is being given TOT’s usual energetic production with a few extra updated laughs.
While the singing is quite strong, and conductor Derek Bate sets a lively pace, the diction of this production is worse than usual. They might have well as sung The Bird Seller in the original German. Only Keith Klassen as the womanizing Count Stanislaus can enunciate while he sings.
That being said, there are quite a lot of solo roles in this operetta which provide many opportunities for the singers. Not only that, many passages are through composed which makes The Bird Seller more opera than operatic (and which, unfortunately, underlines the need for diction).
Stand-out voices include soprano Miriam Khalil as Empress Elizabeth-Marie, soprano Allison Angelo as Christel and tenor Klassen.
The production is still a lot of fun, even if indistinct.
The Bird Seller continues at the Jane Mallett Theatre until Jan. 4.