reviewed by Paula Citron
Canadian Opera Company
Composed by Antonin Dvorak
Conducted by John Keenan
Directed by Dmitri Bertman
Starring Julie Makerov, Michael Schade, Richard Paul Fink, Irina Mishura and Joni Henson
At the Four Seasons Centre until Feb. 23.
The COC programmed Dvorak’s Rusalka to honour company co-founder Nicholas Goldschmidt’s 100th birthday, and this Theatre Erfurt production is absolutely compelling.
When Russian director Dmitri Ertman is on, he’s fascinating, and he has approached Rusalka with two hats – on one hand, the fairy-tale characters, and on the other, the more duplicitous real world. The water nymph Rusalka wants to experience human love but it destroys her. It is the classic case of innocence overcome by human treachery, and the brilliant revolving set magically captures the gorgeous green-blue of the watery world as opposed to the stark white/neon of the human world. There are also delightful directing surprises.
Conductor John Keenan understands the rapture of Dvorak’s ravishing music, but he threatens to drown out the singers with musical ecstasy. Julie Makerov as Rusalka and Michael Schade as the prince lead an extraordinarily strong cast.
This production is not to be missed.
Rusalka continues at the Four Seasons Centre until Feb. 23.