Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Ambitious World Premiere At Vancouver Opera

Frédérique Vézina infuses the title role with an intriguing restlessness and confidently follows its varied emotional contours. She has the stamina needed for the sudden upswell of dramatic soprano writing in Lillian’s climactic act-two confession. Aaron St. Clair Nicholson’s mellifluous baritone blends bluster, tenderness, and devotion in his moving portrayal of Scotty, the link between the two stories. Among the other principals, tenor Colin Ainsworth stands out in his memorable cameo as the young Norwegian Kristian who is fired by Lillian’s adventurous example.

The most memorable performance comes from the venerable Judith Forst as the spirited but pained Irene. Hers is a tour de force of dramatic singing, finding nuance in the most offbeat phrase. As her son, Roger Honeywell is given far less musical characterization and is mostly a reactive character, but he invests the stirring quartet of disclosure in the final act with throbbing emotional honesty.

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