Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bathroom Divas Season Finale Recap

Beware: don't read this post unless you wish to know who wins the Bathroom Divas first season...

Last week's episode followed the final three singers in boot camp (Sonja Gustafson, Sonja Anderson, and Elton Lammie) as they prepared for the final performance and vote-off to determine who will sing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

The beginning of this episode recapped the show thus far, with the previous vote-offs that eliminated Gail, Sergio, and Emili.

Next was a short look at the lives of the final three singers in their home towns prior to arriving in Toronto for Opera Boot Camp.

The cameras first followed Elton around Fort Erie, Ontario as he showed his country music roots, as well as a sizeable guitar collection. He also revealed that he is one of North America's most sought after Roy Orbison impersonators, as well as an avid hockey player.

Next we viewed Sonja Anderson in Whitehorse, Yukon as she embarked on her daily rounds as a (singing) Canada Post mail carrier. Living an hour outside of Whitehorse, she and her family live in a completely self-sufficient off-the-grid home complete with solar power.

Finally, we saw Sonja Gustafson in London, Ontario, where she works as a waitress at the Honest Lawyer, where she also sings jazz. Her mother is a voice teacher at the University of Western Ontario, where Sonja also studied.

Back at the final vote-off, we heard opinions from the guest judges (conductor Timothy Vernon and tenor Richard Margison) before the singers were called back on stage for the final results. The first singer informed that she would not be singing with the TSO was Sonja Anderson, followed by Sonja Gustafson, which left Elton Lammie as the one who would go on to sing with the symphony.

Next we followed Elton's progress as he continued coachings with Gary Relyea, Tom Diamond, and Mary Lou Fallis in preparation for the final concert.

Prior to the performance, he coached the aria with conductor Bramwell Tovey and rehearsed with the orchestra. Finally, after a final word from the judges, he walked on stage and confidently performed "E lucevan le stelle" from Puccini's Tosca with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to a sold-out Roy Thompson Hall on the occasion of the Last Night of the Proms.

Following the concert, he is congratulated by the other five singers from Opera Boot Camp.

Best of luck to Elton Lammie and all the singers who participated in Opera Boot Camp. It was a pleasure working with you all, and please keep in touch with all your activities, musical or otherwise. More in the next few days on what some of the singers have been up to since the show.

Finally, no word on a second season yet. I have heard that the first season has had excellent ratings so far, and let's hope that this rare televised view into the process of becoming an opera singer will become a regular occurence.

Bathroom Divas airs on Bravo!Canada

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