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Measha Brueggergosman-Lee with Eric Da Silva and Tyler Gledhill. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

No one can overestimate the talents of Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg because you may praise them highly only to see your estimation needing to be amplified. And that’s one way of opening my review of their current production of All Is Love in Toronto.
They do provide a gorgeous array of arias about love, mostly from the Baroque era with splendiferous daces by the Artists of the Atelier Ballet. There are 19 pieces of arias and ballet segments that are done in about 75 minutes so exquisitely, that you simply want more.
Henry Purcell, Handel and Rameau provide four compositions each and several composers from the Baroque era and up to the twentieth century complete the program. There are two pieces by Claude Debussy (the opening scene of Pelleas et Melisande and the haunting “Nuit d’étoiles”) as well as compositions by Charpentier, Reynaldo Hahn, Edwin Huizinga (who also performs his work for solo violin) and Matthew Locke,
The gorgeously-voiced Measha Brueggergosman-Lee starts off the program with the All is Love, an aria described as a mix of Henry Purcell and Reynaldo Hahn, created specifically for Brueggergosman-Lee by Christpher Bagan (who is also the piano soloist). It is a perfect vehicle for her luscious voice with beautiful arching phrases in praise of sweet and mellow love. She also sings “Nuit d’étoiles”, a poignant reminiscence by their fountain and of her deceased lover whose blue eyes are the stars and the rose is his breath. A superb rendition of beauty in melancholy.
There are eight singers including Measha and they deserve a standing ovation which, together with the Artists of Atelier Ballet, they got.
Tenor Colin Ainsworth is a veteran singer with Opera Atelier and around the world. He sang “Plus j'observe ces lieux” from Rameau’s Armide and “Where’er you walk” from Handel’s Semele. In the latter aria Jupiter serenades his love Semele and assures her that wherever she sits the trees will crowd to provide her with shade. Beautifully done.
Baritone Jesse Blumberg as Jupiter robustly and authoritatively assures the mortal Semele to “Lay your doubts and fears aside.” He also sings “L'heure Exquise” by Reynaldo Hahn and the title describes both the aria and Blumberg’s rendition of it.
Soprano Meghan Lindsay and Bass-baritone Douglas Williams perform the touching opening scene of Pelleas and Melisande. Prince Golaud meets the distraught Melisande by a well in the forest. She is lost and he tries to help her, touchingly done by Lindsay and Williams. Lindsay and Cynthia Akemi Smithers sing the alluring “Two daughters of this aged stream” from Purcell’s King Arthur. The “daughters” try to lure Arthur to share pleasures with them but, like Odysseus and the Sirens, he resists them.
Mezzo-soprano Danielle MacMillan sings “Music for a While” from Purcell’s Oedipus
The melancholy aria assures the unfortunate king that music will beguile all his cares as MacMillan beguiled us. She also sings “Mi Lusinga il dolce affetto from Handel’s Alcina. Ruggiero sings that his beloved delights him but is there treachery as well? A moving and sad aria done by MacMillan.
Some of the arias have dancers participate and the Artists of the Atelier Ballet perform between the vocal pieces. The choreography, as always and unfailingly beautiful is by Zingg.
The Tafelmusik orchestra, a sine qua non for Opera Atelier is conducted by David Fallis. And all adds up to a wonderful, magical evening.
All is Love was performed from April 11 to 14, 2024 at Koerner Hall in the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto.

April 26, 2024
Cultural - Κριτική Καλών Τεχνών

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