Spring Opera was subtle, cinematic
Each spring, Laurier stages an opera, almost always selling every seat in the Theatre Auditorium. This year, the production was Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc. First performed in 1957, the opera is about an aristocratic woman who seeks refuge in a convent during the French Revolution but ultimately cannot escape the violence.
The choice of Poulenc’s opera was pragmatic, not just inspired. Currently, there are more female voices than male in Laurier’s opera program; Dialogue of the Carmelites, with a cast of rich women characters, gives wonderful performance opportunities. Thirty people formed a double-cast for the production which also involved 65 orchestral players. A number of alumni performers were also involved in the production, and lighting was designed by Robert Thompson, “one of
Cozzubbo, a nationally-recognized director of both theatre and opera, says that he is proud of all of the work that went into the production. “As singers begin their careers they should have some awareness of the collaborative aspect of their art. This production was good training for all as the participants didn’t just sing and act; students painted the set and built costumes.”
As for the music, Cozzubbo says Poulenc’s opera is subtle and challenging. “It is cinematic with scenes in tableau exploring the complexity of human relationships.” Audiences were effusive at each performance, responding as much to what they saw as to what they heard.
“The transformation of the theatre auditorium into something magical can be a challenge, but they did it,” says Professor Paul Pulford, music director of the opera, on the efforts of Thompson, Cozzubbo, and Basson.