Stage Door News
Toronto: Opera Atelier announces its 2019/20 season
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Opera Atelier is thrilled to announce a dramatic 2019/20 season with two wildly varying masterworks in two distinctly different venues: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni from October 31–November 9, 2019, in the Ed Mirvish Theatre, and George Frideric Handel’s The Resurrection from April 11–19, 2020, at Koerner Hall. Both productions include the full corps of Artists of Atelier Ballet with choreography by Founding Co-Artistic Director Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, and the renowned Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra led by Elisa Citterio under the baton of Opera Atelier Music Director David Fallis.
Opera Atelier’s award-winning production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni features American bass-baritone Douglas Williams who will make his role debut as the Don, alongside a stellar cast of Opera Atelier’s favourite singers — who act much like a repertory theatre company. Opera Atelier is delighted to welcome back current Artist in Residence, Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth, as Don Ottavio. The production includes Meghan Lindsay as Donna Anna, Stephen Hegedus as Leporello, Carla Huhtanen in her role debut as Donna Elvira, Mireille Asselin as Zerlina, Olivier Laquerre as Masetto, and Gustav Andreassen as Commendatore. The production also features Martha Mann’s award-winning costume designs, Gerard Gauci’s extravagant sets, and lighting design by Michelle Ramsay. The season continues the company’s important relationship with Mirvish Productions by taking place in the beautiful Ed Mirvish Theatre.
“Our audience has made it clear they are longing for us to return to the Mozart production, which had its premiere in 2011,” says Opera Atelier Founding Co-Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski. “Mozart himself referred to Don Giovanni as an opera buffa and it is in this spirit that we present our commedia dell’arte inspired production.”
Lajeunesse Zingg adds: “Douglas displayed such an astonishing facility both for comedy in Opera Atelier’s The Marriageof Figaro in 2017 and sexually charged danger in Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses in 2018 — we knew we had to revisit this production for him.”
Mozart’s outrageous comedy tells the tale of an incorrigible young playboy who blazes a path to his own destruction in a single day. Based on the story of Don Juan, Don Giovanni follows a skirt-chasing youth who is loved by women almost as universally as he loves them. His luck begins to turn at the start of the story, and the audiences soon see that even he cannot escape the consequences of his actions. Featuring an astonishingly inventive score, bloody duels, and mistaken identities, Don Giovanni stands as one of Mozart’s greatest comic masterpieces.
The season continues with Handel’s first operatic masterpiece, The Resurrection, which opens in the superb acoustics of Koerner Hall just in time for the Easter season. Opera Atelier first staged this work for the Handel Festival in Halle, Germany, in 1995; the 2020 remount will fulfill the company’s dream to create a fully staged production in Toronto. The all-Canadian cast features Huhtanen as Gabriel, Lindsay as Mary Magdalene, Isaiah Bell as Saint John, Hegedus as Satan, and Allyson McHardy as Cleophas. The production includes sets by Gauci and lighting design by Ramsay.
The action begins with the angel Gabriel appearing at the gates of hell following Christ’s death. Handel and his librettist manage to turn this classic Easter story into an operatic pot boiler, including the classic baroque messenger scene in which Mary Magdalene races onto the stage to describe in thrilling detail her encounter with the risen Christ in the garden.
Handel’s The Resurrection premiered in Rome in 1708. Due to the Lenten season, all theatres were closed but Handel brilliantly circumvented these restrictions by producing the work in the Palazzo Ruspoli. His original production was an opera in everything but name, and included a lavish setting of clouds, painted baroque backdrops, and palm trees. Given that the work was never meant to be played in a proscenium theatre, Opera Atelier has selected Koerner Hall as the closest facsimile to the grandeur of a Roman baroque ballroom
Photo: Tyler Gledhill as an angel in The Resurrection. © 2019 Bruce Zinger.