LSM Newswire

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Opera In Concert Presents Schubert's Die Freund von Salamanka



Toronto, 15 March 2012… For the finale to Opera in Concert’s 2011 – 2012 season, the company turns to the works of Franz Schubert, the legendary genius of the Romantic movement in music. His Singspiel, DIE FREUNDE VON SALAMANKA will receive its Canadian Premiere at theSt. Lawrence Centre on April 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm. “Our season – Les Huguenots and Oberto so far – have been a revelation to opera lovers in Toronto,” said OIC General Director Silva-Marin, “and I fully expect that Schubert’s entirely unknown opera in the Singspiel format will be equally appealing.”

As Conductor, Opera in Concert welcomes back to the stage Kevin Mallon, leading the Toronto Chamber Orchestra and a stellar cast. Mallon, recently appointed Music Director of Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings has led a number of OIC performances and is Music Director of all three complete OIC recordings: Castor et Pollux, Rinaldo and Griselda. Soprano Shannon Mercer stars in the Schubert work as Countess Olivia. The three friends from Salamanca are tenors James McLean and Michael Ciufo while baritone Matthew Cassils completes the trio of Spanish adventurer students.Maureen Batt, Christina Campsall, Stefan Fehr and Marco Petracchi complete a roster of leading actors in the company of the Opera in Concert Chorus in this much anticipated Canadian Premiere.

Franz Schubert is arguably the greatest of the early German Romantics and his art songs are still regarded as the gold standard in that form. His compositions for the stage have had a more checkered history, though each one is filled with individual melodies of great beauty. In two acts, DIE FREUNDE VON SALAMANKA is a traditional Singspiel, a musical play with spoken dialogue, and is noted for the dramatic coherence of its finales and the range of styles in the ensembles. Spain is the scene and Don Alonso loves Countess Olivia, a noble lady also pursued by Count Tormes. Though the course of true love never runs smoothly, by the final curtain, Alonso, aided by his Salamancan friends, has won the hand of Olivia and the work concludes with not one but three happy pairs. Opera in Concert will use the re-imagined dialogue by Clive Brown, PhD of Leeds, England. The Singspiel was composed in 1815; however, the first known performance was in 1928 in Halle.

Don’t miss the pre-concert chat – THE BACKGROUNDER – with host Iain Scott 45 minutes before each show, a chance to learn about the opera, the composer and the musical culture of the times.

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