reviewed by Paula Citron
Canadian Opera Company
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
Conducted by Marco Guidarini
Directed by Ian Judge
Starring Paolo Gavanelli, Tamara Wilson, Mikhail Agafonov, Phillip Ens, Daniel Sutin and Alain Coulombe
At the Four Seasons Centre until May 7
The Canadian Opera Company’s production of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra is old-fashioned, blood and thunder, goose-bump-inducing theatre. Verdi revised the work in 1881, and the opera is sophisticated, serious stuff.
The COC cast represents the beauty of the lower male voice. Baritone Paolo Gavanelli is outstanding in the title role. He is a sensational actor who uses his distinctive vibrato with finesse. Similarly, baritone Daniel Sutin as Paolo, and basses Philip Enns as Jacopo and Alain Coulombe as Pietro sing with glory. Soprano Tamara Wilson as Amelia has the soaring high notes and thrilling low notes so necessary in Verdi, while Mikhail Agafonov as Gabriele shows, yet again, what a true meat and potatoes tenor he is.
Conductor Marco Guidarini’s orchestra may be a trifle loud, but his reading of the score is sumptuous and dramatic. Director Ian Judge’s traditional production, imported from Covent Garden, cleanly informs the text.
Simon Boccanegra continues at the Four Seasons Centre until May 7.