A DEFINING CLASSIC GOES OPERA
It takes outside-the-box thinking to reach the conclusion that August Strindberg’s 19th century drama Miss Julie was worthy of an artistic reshaping. But thanks to Canadian Stage and Soundstreams a contemporary English lyric adaptation is here.
And for a 70 minute, one act opera, it is simply a transformation that’s been long worth the wait.
Let’s not forget the original twisted little kitchen story of a young woman, Julie, and her valet, Jean, getting all hot and heavy in a Swedish estate while her father is away was about as bizarre as it could get. Especially when you consider that Jean’s finance, Christine, is either cooking or sleeping while the accidental lovers stay up late to talk.
Transforming this destructive romance piece into an opera is just plain trippy stuff. More than just an introduction to an alternative art form you may not have explored before, it’s an opportunity for a director like Mathew Jocelyn to drive the narrative to a visual place it has not gone before.
Take the insertion of nifty balloons, ceiling pipe, and rain soaked kitchen for example. It’s a perfect example of creative expansion overlooked in a traditional theatre staging.
Performers Lucia Cervoni, Clarence Frazer, and Sharleen Joynt manoeuvre well in this swift flowing, compressed story that at times has a comical pulse, if not almost cartoonish. But, of course, it’s their vocal contribution that’s stylizes Julie for the daring presentation that it is.
Review by Jordan Allystair
JULIE composed by Philippe Boesmans, libretto by Luc Bondy and Marie-Louise Bischofberger November 17-29, 2015 CANADIAN STAGE COMPANY, 27 Front Street East, Toronto TICKETS $24.00 – $99.00 www.canadianstage.com 416-3683110 CAST Lucia Cervoni, Clarence Frazer, Sharleen Joyt DIRECTORMatthew Jocelyn MUSICAL DIRECTION Leslie Dala