REVIEW: PAGLIACCI / GIANNI SCHICCHI
OPERA CANADA | 3 MARCH 2018 | DAWN MARTENS
Southern Ontario Lyric Opera’s double bill of I pagliacci and Gianni Schicchi (seen Mar. 3) made an excellent pairing - both operas include a monster hit aria, both take place in Italian cityscapes, and both revolve around themes of love and criminal activity. Under the baton of Artistic Director Sabatino Vacca, the 26-piece orchestra embraced the melodrama of Lenocavallo’s I pagliacci while also drawing out the lighter shades of the score.
"Baritone Bradley Christensen (Silvio) was both vocally rich and a good actor, particularly convincing during the Nedda/Silvio duet which DeCiantis and Christensen sang with the lush musical ebb and flow that Leoncavallo’s score demands."
REVIEW: SINGING STARS: THE NEXT GENERATION
OPERA CANADA | 8 NOVEMBER 2017 | Joseph So
At Zoomer Hall (the performing space of 96.3 New Classical FM) on Nov. 6, I had the pleasure of attending a concert involving ten young artists, under the auspices of IRCPA, short for International Resource Centre for Performing Artists. For the avid opera fan, there’s nothing quite as nice as hearing the voice of a fine opera singer at the beginning of a career – except when you get to hear ten of them in one sitting!
"New Zealand-Canadian baritone Bradley Christensen contributed Onegin’s aria from act one of Eugene Onegin. His imposing height, handsome stage presence and attractive lyric baritone make him potentially a fine Onegin vocally and dramatically, and he sang it well."
SCRUTINY: RCM's la cecchina not exactly a cakewalk
Musical Toronto | 16 March 2017 | Joseph So
Productions of La cecchina can be occasionally found in opera houses, particularly in Italy, although more frequently in the conservatories. The work is surprisingly long, lasting nearly three hours with an intermission — a lot of singing for the eight principals! While the vocal writing is grateful, it’s not a cakewalk, with plenty of challenging moments.
"Most impressive was bass-baritone Bradley Christensen as Tagliaferro and doubling as the Writer."
OPera Rampblings | 16 March 2017 | John gilks
Niccolò Piccinni’s La Cecchina or La buona figliuola is an opera buffa in two acts written for the Teatro delle Dame in Rome where it premiered in 1760. The libretto is by Carlo Goldini and, while said to have been inspired by Richardson’s Pamela, is actually a fairly straightforward masters and servants story of a similar nature to Pergolesi’s La serva padrona or even Mozart’s La finta giardinera; all, of course, firmly rooted in the conventions of the commedia dell’arte.
"Tagliaferro went to Rebanks Fellow Bradley Christensen who played him as an elderly but swaggering cripple. He has a very solid, reliable baritone voice and made the most of the part’s comic potential, especially in the cod martial scene with the Marchese."
ACROSS THE CHANNEL
OPERA RAMBLINGS | 11 January 2017 | John gilks
"The final number was Bradley performing Barber’s haunting setting of Matthew Arnold’s sombre Dover Beach. For this he was joined by Emily Kruspe and Barry Shiffman (violins), Keith Hamm (viola) and Rachel Desoer (cello). This was classy. High class string playing coupled with great attention to text. There’s so much in the words and music in this piece. It needs a restrained, text first, approach and it got it. Not perhaps the most cheerful note on which to head back into the snow but a fine conclusion to a well thought out programme."
HAYDN OPERA A RARE TREAT FOR OTTAWA EARS
OTTAWA CITIZEN | 28 MAY 2016 | NATASHA GAUTHIER
Haydn is known as the father of the symphony and the string quartet, but the 15 operas he wrote are orphans. Although they made for pleasant courtly entertainment back in the day, Haydn’s theatrical works are seldom performed anymore. A shame, since they contain such enchanting music.
...Friday night’s concert at Dominion Chalmers United Church featured the Thirteen Strings chamber orchestra supplemented by players from the NAC Orchestra, along with a quartet of vocal soloists...The young quartet of vocalists brought spirit and charm to their roles...
"As the sidekick Enrico, baritone Bradley Christensen displayed the most well-rounded instrument...focused, rich, and sympathetically communicative."
OTTAWA CHORAL SOCIETY AND SEVENTEEN VOYCES PRESENT BEN-HUR
WRITTEN BY: PARV ESHGHI ON MARCH 7, 2016
"I am still reeling from Saturday night's concert, a live soundtrack accompanying the 1925 silent film masterpiece Ben-Hur, which featured the inimitable Kevin Reeves directing the Ottawa Choral Society, Seventeen Voyces, the children's choir of St. Matthew's Church, with soloists Susan Brown, Daniel Taylor and Bradley Christensen, and organist extraordinaire, Matthew Larkin.
... The choirs, soloists and percussionists were so compelling, conveying dramatic intensity, an impressive attention to detail and an array of colours with great skill."
POSTCARD FROM MOROCCO
OPERA RAMBLINGS | 13 MARCH 2015 | John gilks
Dominick Argento’s 1971 work Postcard from Morocco is unusual. It’s opera meets Ionesco meets acid rock. It’s a weird and wonderful kaleidoscope of scenes and music “about” a group of characters who seem to have nothing in common except that they have showed up at a railway station in Morocco c. 1914.
...Musically it’s truly weird. It can be lyrical, it can be atonal, it includes weirdly distorted Wagner quotations and jazz. And there’s a drum solo of the floridly pretentious and over long type favoured on prog rock albums in my youth. One really does wonder what pharmaceutical assistance was involved in the composition. All of this was brilliantly realized by Dala and his band.
"Bradley Christensen sang Man with a Cornet Case and was truly sinister as A Puppet Maker."