As part of their widely adapted music series, the Harbourfront Centre presents Ray Brazeau’s “timeless musical masterpiece,” Opera Luminata. With popular selections from such pieces as Phantom of the Opera, Carmen and La Traviata, audiences are presented with a classical collaboration of absolute operatic enjoyment. In addition to the tremendous vocal ensemble, the production features an array of pyrotechnic effects to amplify many of the outstanding selections from the piece.
The entire ensemble is astounding. Soloists Shoshana Friedman, Jennifer Elisabetta Centrone, Pablo Benitez, and Marco Petracchi deliver pure performances of tremendous vocal talent. The specific emotions conveyed from Benitez and Friedman invite audiences into the truly emphatic world that the opera celebrates and withholds. Centrone’s beautiful performance of Bizet’s “Habanera” from Carmen is a stand-alone reason to attend. Overall, the production highlights a selection of both canonical opera and theatrical pieces. Each selection harmoniously blends, while complementing the essence of both music and performance.
Although wonderfully performed, the vocals were often upstaged by the accompanied track. A live orchestra, regardless of the size, would have effectively assisted in bringing the true experience to the stage. Artistic Director, Michael Maclennan’s staging was often too simple, thereby underestimating the performers despite their outstanding engagement with the audience and with one another.
Similar to the accompanied musical track is that of the pyrotechnics. Whereas the gorgeous effects are meant to glorify the spectacle of opera, the ensemble provides regardless of the shimmering bangs and triumphs of large effects. The cues were often delayed and did not assist in emphasizing the music at times.
While opera requires detailed attention to all elements, specific emphasis must be considered in relation to the design. The men’s costume ensemble highlighted operatic valour in particular; however, the women’s dresses were far too mundane and wrinkled. Whereas Friedman and Centrone’s attire was addressed, the remaining women’s ensemble appeared forgotten and rejected. Graham Maxwell’s scenic design also featured minimal attention to the underestimated curtains and fly tropes. Tommy Smith’s lighting design stood out amidst the supposed scenic cardboard construction, providing colour and tone to beautifully compliment the musical pieces brought to life.
Opera Luminata runs to November 15th and is presented as part of the Harbourfront Centre’s music series. For tickets, visit the following link http://ow.ly/Eehyp, or call the box office at 416-973-4000.