It is not often I get a chance to conduct an opera where none of the participants have previously performed the opera. I do mean nobody: the singers, orchestra, pianist, stage director, conductor, and stage management! This sounds like a recipe for disaster! I have to admit, I was somewhat leery as a few years ago I was in a similar situation with a different opera company. In that previous case, however, there was one significant difference, that being a lack of team spirit which robbed the experience of any joy whatsoever. This unfortunate situation was mostly due to one particularly arrogant singer who was unwilling to consider any ideas different from their own.
Fortunately, regarding Werther which we performed last week with Manitoba Opera, the situation was entirely different. Here we had assembled a team that sought to work together and respected ideas expressed by others. The result was astounding. Comments we heard from the audience were very positive indeed and perhaps could best be described by one word…spellbinding.
This experience served to reinforce my belief that individuals can make or break a project. In the former experience, one person sabotaged both the process and the result. In the latter experience, we all worked together in a respectful and open-minded manner which created a pleasant journey of discovery resulting in a huge triumph for all.
I know which approach I prefer! Bravo to everyone involved in this wonderful production of Werther at Manitoba Opera.
Werther “…underscored by Massenet’s stunningly gorgeous music brought to life by maestro Tyrone Paterson leading the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.” …Winnipeg Free Press – May 1, 2017
Werther – “Les belles pages musicales de Massenet sont interprétées avec beaucoup de sensibilité par l’Orchestre symphonique de Winnipeg sous la direction de Tyrone Paterson.”…Pierre Meunier, Musique Classique a Winnipeg…May 1, 2017
Sitzprobe of Werther with Lauren Segal as Charlotte and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra