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Director Ross Manson
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Highfalutin tawdriness

Drew Rowsome on a sexy new opera that takes place in a hotel

08.15.2012

“People are endlessly attractive. How do you deal with that?” asks A Synonym for Love director Ross Manson. “The object of desire is into open relationships, and the other two disagree.” A Synonym for Love is a classic baroque opera by Handel, but this production has been radically updated. “The original is a love triangle, two men in love with a woman. But it’s all set for high voices, sopranos and a countertenor, so one man is now a woman. We’re out of the closet,” Manson says.

The performance takes place in the Gladstone Hotel, with a 14-piece orchestra in the ballroom for the first act and then smaller ensembles that follow the singers, and the audience, as they depart for the intimate locations where the various second acts take place. “Opera singing is a superpower,” Manson says. “We have international-level voices in a stairwell or a bedroom — to hear that level of singing in a small space is a physical experience. We’re treating it as a play with all this glorious music and sexy singers. The thing I love about the Gladstone is its history. Imagine how many love triangles, at least one side of them, have played out there amidst the splendid tawdriness. And I’m sure continues — hotels are like that.” — Drew Rowsome


A Synonym for Love runs Sun, Aug 19 to Fri, Aug 31 at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W. volcano.ca

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