Providing performing opportunities for young singers and students, Halifax Summer Opera Workshop has largely presented professional-standard productions over the past five years. It has also made a significant repertoire contribution to Halifax. This year it staged Mark Adamo’s Little Women in a heartwarming production well directed by Edward Franko, beautifully sung by its cast and dynamically accompanied by Gordon Gerrard. The unappealing dresses of the four sisters might warrant the only criticism.
Julia Barber, Cara Adams, Mary-Claire Sanderson and Kristi Assaly, the sisters in the Aug. 13 performance, developed very distinct identities while equally contributing to the moving musical storytelling. Mitch Aldrich, Alyssa Labreque, Megan Quick, Jeffrey Goble and Stephen Barradell also contributed lively, energetic and interesting interpretations of the famous 1868 American novel set in New England. There as, however, one outstanding moment in the performance, when Dr Bhaer, performed by Justin Welsh, appeared in Act II to sing to Jo in German. Baritone Welsh has enormous talent and his brief presence on the stage brought the audience to its feet with applause.
- Daphna Levit
Opera Canada, Winter 2009