Sunday, November 6, 2011

Richmond Hill - In Love With Opera York!

It was palpable...

Last night, at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, operatic gastronomy was served.  The stage was set not only for a sensually delectable opera experience but also for an unabashed declaration of love from the patrons of Opera York whose numbers, swelling to near capacity, proved that this regional opera company with world-class talent is a vital part of a vibrant community.  

It was magic...

From the glittering lights in the foyer, to the sparkly-eyed smiles on the faces one encountered at every turn, from the waves of excited conversations that rose  and crested, then tumbled over one another in unintelligible splashes of effervescent anticipation, to the feathery breeze that teased as the throngs swished by to take their seats; one knew that a splendid sorcery was afoot.


Season 15 of Opera York began with Puccini's, Madama ButterflyOpera-philic maven (of just one year) that I am, I know that Puccini's, La Boheme heralded season 14.  For opera newbies and perennial partakers alike, Pucinni is the perfect choice; his operas are iconic, his characters and arias are familiar to everyone because of their appropriation by movies, books, TV and radio commercials.  Whether last night's vast turn-out was due to the particular opera selection or simply because Richmond Hill residents have, after 14 years of superior offerings, developed a lusty appetite for quality entertainment, I can't say.  I can say, though, that a strong representation by every age group was impressive, gratifying and a testament to the success of Opera York's signature phrase-as-mission-statement - Opera For Everyone.

Sabatino Vacca, the visionary artistic director of this production had a strong sense of the relevance of the social issues around which the story was crafted to parallels in today's society, calling it "an opera for our epoch." There was no want of emotional rendering in any of the performances: Romulo Delgado as  Pinkerton, displayed all the subtleties of conflicted cavalier, Deirdre Fulton as Cio-Cio San, was a luminous but eventually tragic victim of love.  Always a delight to the eye and the ear, opera also has that unique ability to renew your soul as it invariably propells you through the myriad emotions and trials of its characters then leaves you spent and drained after heaving from your own gut, any stagnant terror, or grief or pain you never had opportunity to vent.  Perhaps that's why we not only love opera but, indeed, need it...

Opera York's next production, Die Fledermaus, by Johann Strauss with artistic director Geoff Butler, is scheduled for February & March of 2012. 

what is opera - don't try to form an opinion from tv or youtube

Opera York, now in its 15th successful season has primed the people of this vibrant, receptive community to expect the best.

From the glitter of lights in the foyer, to the sparkle of smiling faces one encountered at every turn,

Expectation, excitement

It reaches down and cleanses the soul of stagnant emotions.