SALIERI’s FALSTAFF, a CANADIAN PREMIERE
Mozart’s rival was among the first to set a Shakespeare play to music
Toronto, February 6, 2016… Toronto’s opera fans are used to surprises from VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert and the 2015-2016 season continues to amaze. “Once again” remarked General Director Guillermo Silva-Marin, “our patrons are enjoying a unique lineup of works for the lyric stage unlike that on any other stage in Canada and with FALSTAFF, OIC gets a head start on the 400th William Shakespeare Commemorative year.”
On Sunday, February 7, 2016, Larry Beckwith helms the Canadian Premiere of Salieri’s FALSTAFF, leading the Aradia Ensemble, cast and VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert Chorus. Known mainly as Mozart’s rival, Salieri was one of the most popular opera composers of his day and FALSTAFF is recognized as one of the very first operas based on a work by William Shakespeare. Salieri’s operas were internationally acclaimed during his lifetime and he was the renowned head of the Italian opera house in Vienna; later in his life, he taught Beethoven, Liszt and Schubert among others.
FALSTAFF was one of Salieri’s last operas and premiered at the Kärtnertortheater in Vienna on 3 January 1799. Based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, the work focuses on Falstaff and the jokes played on him by Windsor’s wives. The witty text – by Carlo Prospero Defranceschi – inspired some of Salieri’s lightest and most sparkling music, supported by highly effective orchestration.
The all Canadian cast includes Allison Angelo as Mistress Ford, Michèle Bogdanowicz as Mistress Slender, Colin Ainsworth as Master Ford, Justin Welsh as Master Slender, Sydney Baedke making her OIC debut as Betty, and baritone Dion Mazerolle stars as Sir John Falstaff. In demand this season, Mazerolle debuts with Montreal’s Ensemble Caprice in Bach’s Easter Oratorio, and stars in the world premiere this May of The Trials of Patricia Isasa with Chants Libres, Montreal’s acclaimed contemporary music ensemble. Robert Cooper joins as director of the renowned VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert Chorus in the first performance of this work in North America.
The VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert season closes on April 1 and 3, 2016 with two performances of the World Premiere of ISIS AND OSIRIS created by Peter-Anthony Togni with librettist Sharon Singer. Robert Cooper will conduct the cast, orchestra and chorus.
VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert is supported by the Jackman Foundation, J. P. Bickell Foundation, Nancy’s Very Own Foundation, Strategic Charitable Giving Foundation, and Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. Single tickets are available from the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts’ Box Office, 27 Front St. East, by phone 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754 or online at www.stlc.com. The theatre is wheelchair accessible and close to public transit and municipal parking. All Sunday performances are at 2:30 pm at the St. Lawrence Centre.