The Arts

Opera in Concert – Charles Wilson’s Kamouraska

Opera in Concert – Charles Wilson’s Kamouraska featured image

reviewed by Paula Citron

Opera in Concert
Composed by Charles Wilson
Conducted by Alex Pauk
Starring Miriam Khalil, Loralie Kirkpatrick, Jenny Cohen James McLennan and Alexander Dobson
At the Jane Mallett Theatre

It’s a testament to the struggle of new opera that the Opera in Concert performance of Charles Wilson’s Kamouraska had empty seats. Apparently Wilson wrote the opera 25 years ago based on Anne Hébert’s famous poetic prose novel of the same name about a murderous rural Quebec love triangle.

The opera sounded of its time with vague, seesaw, singspiel, arioso vocals lines on the slightly dissonant side of things. The orchestration, however, was richly dramatic and suitably moody. Alex Paul and his Esprit Orchestra are one of the city’s chief purveyors of new music and did excellent playing in interpreting the score. The use of spoken text for the courtroom scenes worked well.

Unfortunately, there were no surtitles which you do need for operas in English and so lines were lost, but the talented cast, led by Miriam Khalil as the young Elizabeth and Loralie Kirkpatrick as the older Elizabeth was strong.

This attractive Canadian opera deserved its world premiere, if delayed by 25 years.

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