Operatic academy takes to Western stage

Young singers from around the world have been working for the past three weeks with international conductors, coaches, choreographers and directors at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western. Now, they are ready to share their talents by staging 25 scenes from operas at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 25 and 26 in the Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College. Admission is free.

The Canadian Operatic Arts Academy (COAA) covers the breadth of repertoire, from familiar favourites such as Carmen, Rigoletto, Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly and Der Rosenkavlier to familiar folks such as Falstaff, Cinderella and Julius Caesar to lesser-knowns such as a pretend gardener (La finta gianrdiniera by Mozart), the tale of a water sprite (Rusalka) and the scary story of Dead Man Walking. Tragedies, comedies, plenty of mistaken identities, plotting and subterfuge, madness, murder and mayhem – and of course, this being opera, lots of sex.

The composers’ names represent a who’s who in opera: the Italians Verdi, Bellini, Donizetti, Puccini and Rossini; the Germans Handel, Mozart and Strauss; Czeckoslovakian Dvorak; the English Britten; and Americans Douglas Moore and Jake Heggie.

The students auditioned to attend and come from South America, Europe, the United States and across Canada. Western’s Sophie Roland is COAA director. Simone Luti, who divides his time between his native Tuscany and Milan, will conduct the singers. Luti works as musical coach at the Teatro della Scala and Academy of the Teatro della Scala. He has been conductor and coach at COAA since 2009.

Each evening, the program is a different selection of scenes.