Stage Door News

Toronto: VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert announces its 2022/23 season

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

From its inception in 1974, VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert has been noted for rarities in performance. This tradition continues in the coming season with astonishing works by the very young Mozart, Luigi Cherubini, and Joseph Bologne. The season opens at the St. Lawrence Centre on Sunday, November 20 with Lucio Silla by the 17-year-old Salzburg prodigy already renowned for his keyboard wizardry. Suzy Smith – Music Director and Pianist – leads a cast including debuting tenor Owen McCausland in the title role, as well as Vania Chan, Amy Moodie and Holly Chaplin. Cherubini’s Médée follows on Sunday, February 19, 2023, featuring Julie Nesrallah and Scott Rumble with Narmina Afandiyeva as Music Director and Pianist. The season concludes on March 19, 2023, with the Toronto Premiere of L’Amant Anonyme composed by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, known as the Black Mozart. This special event will be led by Stephen Hargreaves, conducting his own realization of Bologne’s remarkably sophisticated score, featuring Colin Ainsworth, Joshua Clemenger, and Dion Mazerolle. Chorus Director Robert Cooper will lead the renowned VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert Chorus in each of these three operas.

“We are really thrilled to present such an audacious lineup of operas featuring a galaxy of Canada’s most talented young signers”, comments OIC’s Silva-Marin. “I know our artists and patrons will be delighted to get back in the theatre to enjoy our rarities in performance”.

Mozart, Cherubini and Bologne were true contemporaries and lived between 1745 and 1842. They each were renowned during their lifetimes, though Bologne’s fame did not endure, and it is only in the last decade that his music has been rediscovered and appreciated. Bologne was born in 1745 to a plantation owner in Guadeloupe, and Nanon, a slave and his wife’s personal maid. At age seven he came to Paris with his father and mother and quickly made a name for himself as a fencing master and society raconteur. His last field of success was as a musician and he was lauded among composers such as Gretry, Salieri, Gluck and of course, the slightly younger Mozart. L’Amant Anonyme is the only one of his operas to have survived and has only been heard on stage in the last few years. McGill professor Stephen Hargreaves edited the score that he conducts for OIC. Mozart, the young Austrian, achieved fame as a virtuoso pianist throughout Europe and by the age of 17 had already composed 6 operas. Lucio Silla was his seventh and showed a remarkable leap in musical maturity from Mitridate composed just months before. Italian by birth, Luigi Cherubini was born in 1760 and lived to the ripe old age of 82. Though classic in style, his extraordinary operas showed the way to new realism on the lyric stage foretelling a departure from classical opera.

Opera in Concert is supported by the Jackman Foundation, The William and Nona Heaslip Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council, and Classical 96.3 FM is the media sponsor. Subscription and single tickets are available from the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Box Office, 27 Front St. East, by phone – 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754. The theatre is wheelchair accessible and close to public transit and municipal parking. All performances are on Sunday afternoons at the St. Lawrence Centre at 2:30 pm.