Thursday, April 7, 2016

Isis and Osiris: The Opera reviews


I have been interested in this opera since first hearing about it last year since it covers the same subject matter as my novel Queen of Heka. I even considered going to Toronto to see it. A trip to Iceland scheduled for the same time as the performance put an end to that little fantasy.

The ancient Egyptian goddess Isis is a juicy topic. The most enduring of the Egyptian gods, her worship endured for a mind-staggering 6000 years and her last temple officially closed in the 6th Century AD. Her story is one of love and tragedy. She married her brother Osiris after falling in love with him in their mother's womb. They are credited for civilizing a savage civilization and transforming it into the grandeur of ancient Egypt that we all know and love. The story might have come to a tragic end when their brother Set murdered Osiris, but Isis persevered and resurrected him twice before conceiving their son Horus and making him Lord of the Underworld. The story of Isis and Osiris offered ancient Egyptians the promise of immortality. Every Pharaoh claimed Isis as his mother and was known as the living Horus during his life and became Osiris upon his death. There is some evidence that Christianity borrowed much from this story, and its iconography of Virgin and Child is strikingly similar to representations of Isis and Horus. So love, treachery, murder, resurrection, and the promise of eternal life. Perfect material for an opera.

The opera opened on April 1 to mostly good reviews, which you can read here. Well done, you! Congratulations to Sharon Singer for making her dream come true. I hope to see more about Isis and Osiris in the future.

So, now for the reviews.

Isis and Osiris Opera review

A marvelous success!

Few endeavours are riskier than creating a new opera. So many things can go wrong. We can only be grateful that librettist Sharon Singer persevered with her idea (actually more of an idée-fixe) of dramatizing ancient Egyptian mythology and that she eventually linked up with a composer, Peter-Anthony Togni, whose music is more than just apt or sympathetic but seems equally inspired

World premiere of Canadian opera a testament to expertise

Mounting a brand-new opera production may be the most daunting and difficult task in the entire world of contemporary performing arts. The vast floods of money, time, dedication, sweat, and toil it takes to make this fusion of the arts come together on a stage in front of an audience is astonishing. When it’s a new Canadian opera, double that.

Isis and Osiris – Gods of Egypt

I caught the second and final performance of Isis and Osiris – Gods of Egypt presented by Voicebox:Opera in Concert yesterday.  It’s a new piece with a libretto by Sharon Singer and music by Peter-Anthony Togni.  It tells the story of mythical ancient Egypt under the rule of sibling consorts Isis and Osiris and there struggle with their brother Seth who embodies violence and chaos.  In the process Seth disposes of Osiris in fourteen pieces but Isis manages to gather up all save the phallus.  A golden replacement is made, Osiris is revived and the cosmic order restored.  It’s quite a promising premise but it never really comes off.

Isis and Osiris, Gods of Egypt

I saw the second of two performances in the world premiere run of Isis and Osiris, Gods of Egypt, a new opera composed by Peter Togni from a libretto by Sharon Singer, presented by Opera in Concert – Voicebox. There are so many possible ways of approaching a write-up in response to a new work, I hope you’ll forgive me if I insult your intelligence for a moment in summarizing some of the possibilities.

Opera going Toronto Isis and Osiris Review

Concluding its 2015/16 season, Voicebox: Opera in Concert ventures deep into the depths of faith and politics, a dangerous world on edge where gods are born mortal and love is spiritual. Debuted to an eager crowd at the St. Lawrence Centre’s Jane Mallett Theatre, Isis and Osiris: Gods of Egypt, music by Halifax-based composer Peter-Anthony Togni, libretto by poet and spoken word performer Sharon Singer, boldly announced its arrival on the Canadian arts scene, a mature, intelligent opera rich in story-telling. Still a touch rough around the edges, much in need of editing, the work, over three years in development, yields a goodly share of theatrical rewards.

In Review: Isis and Osiris

I spent a snowy, blustery, Sunday afternoon in the comfort of the St. Lawrence Centre's Jane Mallett Theatre to witness the culmination of over four years of preparation for the world premiere of Peter-Anthony Togni and Sharon Singer's Isis and Osiris: Gods of Egypt. Presented by the new incarnation of one of Toronto's oldest opera companies, VOICEBOX: Opera In Concert, Isis and Osiris was from start to finish a delicious, musical feast.

‘Isis and Osiris’ Opera World Premiere

We think of ancient Egypt and images of the pyramids, the sphinx, and giant temples rush to mind. Columns still resting as if only having been put up yesteryear tell us of the grandeur of a past civilization. Opera, in this context, is perhaps a musical art form that best is suited to bring ancient Egypt alive. We are all familiar with Radames and the larger-than-life march in Verdi’s Aïda and can also recall the trials Tamino had to endure in Mozart’s Zauberflöte. This is why it’s a special occasion to be able to witness the world premiere of a new Canadian opera set in ancient Egypt: Isis and Osiris: Gods of Egypt.