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"The Canadian Opera Company kicked off its 2012-13 season with a stunning, virtually note-perfect production."
"An opera with four superstars: that’s the ideal, an ideal met gloriously by the COC. Russian mezzo Elena Manistina is a powerful, frightening, yet lyrical Azucena...Her counterpart, South African soprano Elza van der Heever, playing Leonora, appearing here just months before her Met debut, is a Verdi singer with a difference. She wins over her audience not with megawatt power but with a lyrical clarity and agility to her voice that is immensely dramatic and touching."
"On the male side, tenor Ramón Vargas, playing the title character, Manrico, is one of the great voices on the operatic stage today, and didn’t disappoint...and although it’s impossible with a cast of this calibre to single out a favourite, Canadian Russell Braun’s Conte di Luna was a bit of perfection."
"You may have seen this opera before. And you may see it again. But you probably won’t ever see it performed as well."
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"A must-see for opera fanatics"
"In staging Il Trovatore, Roubaud deals with the challenges of the tale...with appealing wisdom and dispatch."
"Each of the four principals mines the emotional jewels with which Verdi adorned his score and polishes them until they blaze with pain and passion.
And in the process, of course, they ensure that this production of Il Trovatore will be remembered as yet another jewel in the ever-more impressive crown of the Canadian Opera."
"Even in the world’s most storied opera houses it is so rare to get such a flawless combination of cast, conductor and production that, for this reason alone, it is worth a dash to the Canadian Opera Company’s box office for this season’s opening production."
"...a glorious soak in excellent singing and gorgeous orchestral work in a traditional production of Giuseppe Verdi’s 1853 opera, Il Trovatore"
"Conductor Marco Guidarini...is a true master of pacing and getting an unaffected clarity and bounce out of the rich music.
The Canadian Opera Company orchestra itself was up to its customary
high standard, following its leader with uncanny accuracy and grace...The cast was no less excellent"
"When it is presented as well as on Saturday, this opera leaves absolutely nothing to be desired."
"The four leading roles were all performed with distinction, the conducting was superb and, as always, the chorus sounded splendid."
"Elza van den Heever. Remember that name. The South African soprano makes her COC debut here and will be making her Metropolitan Opera debut at the end of the year...[she] hit all of the emotional touchstones the part requires: vulnerability, ecstatic love and heart-rending despair.
"The polished luster of [Braun's] baritone is always worth savouring, especially in an aria such as 'Il balen del suo sorriso,' which was breathtaking in its carefully muted power."
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Ramón Vargas as Manrico and Elza van den Heever as Leonora in in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Il Trovatore, 2012. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2012