Opera Canada

Maritime Concert Opera’s performance of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow in Lunenburg (Nov. 22) coincided with the first big snowstorm of winter.  As is often the case, neither snow plows nor shovels were adequately prepared for the dramatic onset of winter and the determined few who made it to the theatre were not entirely sure they could get back home.  But they certainly filled the theatre with their enthusiasm for the performance.

Although he did not have the full house he deserved, one singer new to MCO was memorable.  Baritone Justin Welsh, in the role of Count Danilo, was extremely attractive, dramatically understated and confident.  The widow certainly chose well, as her object of desire excelled in both manner and voice.  Janna Pardy in the title role is a frequent performer on the Lunenburg stage, and did not disappoint.  Tenor Keith Klassen as Camille and soprano Sarah Barrett-Ives as Valencienne gave lively, exciting performances as a passionate adulterous couple.

Nina Scott-Stoddart pulled the story together as it unfolded on stage with a lively narration.  Tara Scott sparked effortlessly at the piano.  The combined participation of local singers, a community chorus and opera professionals “from away” has, in the five-year history of this company, proved a receipe for success and local loyalty.

-Daphna Levit
Opera Canada
Spring 2009

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