A Night at the Opera with Tosca

Photos by Andre Gagne

Opera returned to Ottawa in a big way with one of the stage's most famed divas reigning supreme. The Pellegrini Opera company, lead by acclaimed Music Director Michel Brousseau and Artistic Director Vincent Thomas, delivered a moving performance of Puccini's masterpiece Tosca with the piece's central figure slipping into her sweet, scandalous and seductive best. Certainly a joy for those filling the seats of Dominion-Chalmers Church last Saturday who hung on every note.

Highlights included two of the best-known arias of any opera: the stunning Act Two show stopper "Vissi d'arte", where Tosca sings of a life lived for art and love, as well as Cavaradossi's reflections on the same subjects in Act Three's "E lucevan le stelle". There were some misty eyes in the house including those of this writers.

Polish soprano Maria Knapik didn't just perform the role, she became Tosca emerging from the audience in a silky walk that almost made her appear to be floating towards the character's tragic destiny. 

"Opera is real life intensified through music," Knapik told Ottawa Life before proceeding to deliver that intensity in her performance in a piece that mixes murder, betrayal, love and jealousy to paint one beautiful and intriguing canvass of delights. 

Tenor Steeve Michaud was the perfectly compliment to Knapik's Tosca, portraying the lover and artist Cavaradossi with a flair and flamboyance that captivated every moment he was on the stage (and a few instances even when he was not.

"He is perfectly suited for the role in every way, and as tenor voices go, his voices is completely satisfying in every way," said Thomas in a statement released before the production. "Colour, tone, technique, expression – I truly could listen to him sing all day."

The audience, who gave the performance two standing ovations, would agree.