Rossini & His
Muses, Le Grand Dîner
a Delicious Feast
What an absolutely
delightful evening of opera, presented in a most original manner
by the Atelier de l’Opera de Montreal together with the
National Theatre School -- the latter providing the sets, costumes
and lighting; all designed by three of their star students.
We were treated to lush elements. The two swift-moving acts
and the final 8-course meal on stage satiated us with six rich
voices, Rossini’s recipes, lyrics and gestures of love,
a festive dinner and ‘Figaro’ himself. Indeed, if
music be the food of love . . . play on -- or in this case,
Lambert, the director of the entire opera, cleverly brought
together Rossini’s love of great food and his music to
create a new opera -- one that showcased some of the opera company’s
truly gifted young members. My favourites for the evening were:
Frédérique Drolet, Karine Boucher, Emma Parkinson,
Tomislav Lavoie and pianist Tina Chang. Each one of the singers
(not all named here) performed with great acting in the various
roles they played; their voices were rich and perfectly pitched.
As the evening warmed up, their singing became more relaxed.
Drolet, a soprano, effortlessly hit the high notes; they seemed
to fly to the sky, and she is a scene stealer with her fetching
facial expressions and gestures. She played the daughter of
Rossini and the servant girl serving the food in the second
act when the eating party took place.
Emma Parkinson who played Cinderella, sang an aria from that
opera most beautifully. She has a promising career ahead of
her. The men as well did justice to this musical feast. Tomislav
Lavoie’s baritone voice was superb in his dual roles of
Rossini and the innkeeper who hosted the dinner (second act).
Jean-Michel Richer, also a baritone, played Figaro wonderfully.
What a gifted singer.
were treated to a grand variety of works from his operas from
“Otello” and “La Cenerentola“ to “L’Italiana
in Algeri“ and “Guillaume Tell.” It was a
glorious gala from Rossini’s repertoire.
has to commend Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière for her outstanding
stage direction. What I enjoyed was the gaiety, beautiful voices
in solo and in unison that festively brought wit and wisdom
to the dinner table in ways that made harmony, humour and impeccable
timing the main ingredients in this Rossini feast. Enjoying
this within the century-old majestic walls of the Monument National,
I really came to believe I was one of the guests invited to
‘ingest’ it all! -- burnt tournedos and all! As
you may have gathered, Rossini’s other passion was French
© Yves Renaud