The COSI Connection took its inaugural flight at Heliconian Hall, Toronto, on May 14th, with The Wings of the Dove. The COSI Connection is an exciting convergence of the former Concert Opera Group, which began in September 2006, and alumni from Canada’s Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI), which launched its inaugural program in June, 2007. The COSI Connection powerfully builds a Canadian bridge to the “Extraordinary Opera Training” that Canadian singers, pianists and stage managers undergo within COSI’s international forum in Sulmona, Italy. It then activates these newly focussed language,artistry, performing skills, and deeper career proficiencies throughout Canada.
The Wings of the Dove (2012), with a libretto by British actor Jeffrey Lewis from a portion of Henry James’ same-titled novel, and an opera score by Andrew Ager, comes 52 years after Douglas Moore’s version of the opera, five years after the film directed by Iain Softley, and 110 years after James first penned the work. Two capacity audiences enjoyed the first performances from the perfectly-suited Edwardian setting the Heliconian Hall provided. As Costume Designer, Lisa Magill captured the essence perfectly, and Michael Patrick Albano’s stage direction stirred the clash of self-serving silences behind the overt lyricism. Andrew Ager’s score yielded two sumptuous arias, Millie Theales’ “I am a dove” and Morton Densher’s“We’ll be the best of friends,” along with compelling accompanied recitative and arietta inflections for most of the opera. You can read John Teraud’s Musical Toronto review here.