Fledgling opera company offers fully staged Tosca
Sabatino Vacca’s emergent Southern Ontario Lyric Opera company is taking another step forward.
Last September, they put on a semi-staged production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. On Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the BPAC, 440 Locust St., Burlington, they’ll be presenting their first-ever fully staged production, Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” under the stage direction of Gabe Graziano.
“This is probably my favourite opera,” said Vacca over the phone from his Cambridge home. “It’s a real treat to work on.”
Vacca, who’ll be in the BPAC pit conducting “Tosca,” is no stranger to this warhorse gushing with all-time great arias like “Recondita armonia,” “Vissi d’arte,” and “E lucevan le stelle” as it deals with political turmoil, treachery, murder, and love in 1800 Rome. Vacca conducted “Tosca” in 2012 for Opera Belcanto, and in 2009 and last fall for Opera York, a professional opera company of which he is artistic director.
Singing the role of the Roman chief of police Baron Scarpia for those OY productions was Nicolae Raiciu, a Romanian-born dramatic baritone residing in Canada since 1992. Vacca will have him reprise that role for SOLO’s “Tosca.”
Burlington-raised soprano Jessica Lane, who sang the role of diva Floria Tosca for OY last fall, will reprise the title role for SOLO.
Lane’s husband, Peter Bass, a baritone, will bow as the prisoner Angelotti and the gendarme Sciarrone, while tenor Romulo Delgado brings his Cavaradossi to SOLO from OY. Spoletto, a police agent of Scarpia’s, will be sung by John Darrigo, a member of SOLO’s 45-voice chorus (35 adults, 10 kids).
The set design is by the aforementioned Mr. Graziano. As for costumes, Vacca said there would be “nothing extravagant.”
“I hope they’re not coming to see a MET production,” cautioned Vacca to patrons. “It’s a step up from ‘Traviata’ in that the (34piece) orchestra is going to be in the pit.”
That step up also applies to SOLO’s chorus who’ll all be singing from memory this time.
Tickets: $45 to $55, senior $35, 19 and under $20. Call 905-681-6000.
Ms. Lane and Mr. Bass won’t be the only couple in action next weekend. In fact, two upcoming chamber concerts have a husband-and-wife connection. Saturday, March 4 at 3 p.m., cellist Rachel Mercer’s Five at the First Chamber Music Series presents violinist Bethany Bergman and her husband, trumpeter Mike Fedyshyn — both regulars with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra — in concert with pianist Angela Park and Mercer in First Unitarian, 170 Dundurn St. S. Their “Sound the Trumpet … and Violin” bill includes Heinrich Biber’s “Sonata IV” for trumpet, violin and continuo, Mozart’s “Duo” K. 423 for violin and cello, Canadian composer Milton Barnes’s “Last Act,” a theatre piece for trumpet and piano, American composer Eric Ewazen’s “Trio “for trumpet, violin and piano, as well as tangos by Astor Piazzolla. Tickets at door: $20, senior $15, student $5, under 12/unwaged free.
On Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m., Trio con Brio Copenhagen consisting of cellist Soo-Kyung Hong, her husband, pianist Jens Elvekjaer, and sister, violinist Soo-Jin Hong return to Hamilton after an almost seven-year absence for a program consisting of Schubert’s “Piano Trio” op. 99, Schumann’s “Piano Trio” op. 110, and Swedish composer Sven-David Sandstrom’s “Fire Stykker for Klavertrio” (“Four Pieces for Piano Trio”) in the Joey & Toby Tanenbaum Pavilion, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King St. W.
According to Elvekjaer, Sandstrom wrote the work as a gift to the trio after they’d performed his “Triple Concerto” in Stockholm for his 70th birthday celebrations. The TCBC premièred the “Four Pieces” in Copenhagen in 2015. They’ve since played it in Germany, and will perform it this season in England and North America.
“The music is sort of Neoclassicistic with hints of spicy harmonies and sudden romantic tones,” wrote Elvekjaer about the Sandstrom in an email to The Spectator.
Tickets are $30, senior $27, student $10. Call 905-525-7429.
Lastly, we’ll squeeze in Musicata’s chamber jazz concert in conjunction with Spectrum Music of Toronto at The Church of St. John the Evangelist, 320 Charlton Ave. W., on Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. Their “Tales from the Unconscious” bill will feature new works performed by Musicata under Roger Bergs, along with Juno Award winning saxophonist Mike Murley, jazz pianist Adrean Farrugia, formerly of Stoney Creek, and bassist Andrew Downing. A pre-concert talk with composers Jay Vasquez, Shannon Graham and others starts at 2:30 p.m. Tickets: $25, senior $20, children $5. Call 905-628-5238.
Leonard Turnevicius writes about classical music for The Hamilton Spectator. email@example.com
Sabatino Vacca will be in the pit conducting “Tosca” at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre March 4.