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April 200
3 - Nr. 4


The Editor
"Happy Easter"
"Boten des Frühlings"
Elizabeth Kuehn
Together We Sing
The Italian Girl...
Rachel Seilern
The President's Ball
Herwig Wandschneider
Siegfried & Roy
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Good Citizen Award
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Age of Chivalry
Powell: Friendship
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Gunther Grass Novels
Ute Lemper Tour
Help Baghdad Museum
Celebrating Lucas Cranach
Leipzig 2012 Olympics

An Italian girl triumphs
over her Papatachi


A fun time is to be had at the Canadian Opera Company’s colourful production of Rossini’s The Italian Girl in Algiers now playing at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts. Where else can one find voices imitating bells, a hammer, a rooster crowing, a booming cannon and a sneezing quintet? Not a moment passes when one isn’t enjoying the comedic acting of the performers as well as voices so easily lent to the running coloratura.

A scene from the Canadian Opera Company's production of "The Italian Girl in Algiers"  [Photo: Michael Cooper]

The story takes places in the sultan Mustafa’s palace in Algiers. He has become disenchanted with his wife Elvira and wants to pass her on to marry the Italian prisoner Lindoro, tenor Michael Colvin. Shannon Mercer’s Elvira is of course horrified at this proposal and does everything in her power to regain her position of good graces in her husband’s eyes. He, unfortunately, will have none of it. In the meantime, an Italian girl, Rossini’s mezzo-soprano heroine Isabella, Carmen Oprisanu, lands in Algiers. Director Edward Hastings has transformed Isabella into a 1940s flight pilot. This transformation works well with the more traditional costumes of the Moroccan personages. In a twist in plot, where Mustafà, Gustav Belacek, wishes to make Isabella his new #1 woman, Isabella shows him her "modern" girl-power and instructs Elvira to place herself first before bowing down to Mustafà in order to make him once again fall for her! In the meantime, Lindoro has found his former love, who just happens to be Isabella and the two divulge to the audience a plan to leave together after having made fun of Mustafà newly initiated to be Isabella’s Papatachi. The plan works famously and the two fly away in a large hot-air balloon back to Italy, not before having sung the praises of the glorious country. In his disgrace, Mustafà decides to take Elvira back as a wife.

The COC Orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor Julian Reynolds, brought out the ever-so important Rossini dynamics and coloratura runs with ease and dramatic clarity. The colourful costumes, combined with the ease, speed and drama of the voices and acting presences on stage, made for a delightful evening, full of poignant insight relevant to us even today care of Angello Anelli’s libretto. The Italian Girl in Algiers continues at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts until April 17, 2003.


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