Opera Canada

Provides an educated, upscale audience with valuable information on exciting artists, recordings, and events.

Articles from Vol. 44, No. 4, Winter

Agathe Martel
The Bellini Gala at Le Festival de Lanaudiere 2003 featured such a cornucopia of talent that it would take a special singer to stand out. Agathe Martel was such a one. When she performed excerpts from I Puritani and Norma, I sat bolt upright in my...
Almeida, Theatre
The world premiere of Sirius on Earth, a chamber opera by Canadian composer Paul Frehner and librettist Angela Murphy, was given at the Almeida Theatre in London on July 17. It was the first fruit of the Genesis Opera Project, in which more than 200...
Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks
Father Owen Lee University of Toronto Press, 110 pp. THE IDEAS OF RICHARD WAGNER Alan David Aberbach University Press of America, 452 pp. Here are two new books for Wagner lovers from respected Canadian commentators. Father Owen Lee...
Azulao
Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano, James Parker, piano, Cello Ensemble. CBC Records MVCD 1164. **** Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian strives for, and usually attains, perfection in everything she takes on, and this new portrait from CBC Records is...
Calling the Cues: Understanding the Behind-the-Scenes Art of the Stage Manager
Fans of conspiracy theories often look at news events and imagine shadowy figures behind the scenes that are actually in control of the action and call the shots. What may be imaginary in the real world is the reality in the world of the theatre. There...
Canadian Opera Company
Memories of the Canadian Opera Company's successful Lotfi Mansouri production of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes had 23 years to fade by the time the curtain rose on its successor, a more stylized Tim Albery production (marking the English director's...
Deidamia
Handel Kermes, Labelle, Panzarella, Bonitatibus, Zanasi, Abete. Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis, conductor. Virgin Veritas 7243 5 45550 2 2 (3 CDs). **** This is apparently only the second recording of Handel's last Italian opera, a work...
Editor's Notebook
What does it take to make opera a vital and integral part of our communities? What future does opera have if we don't make it a vital and integral part of our communities? These are big questions that might be asked of any performing-arts institution,...
Forging the Ring: Setting the Scene for the First Canadian Production of Wagner's der Ring Des Nibelungen
Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen begins with a low rumbling E-flat chord played for four bars by eight double basses, which are then joined by three bassoons for another 12 bars. Next, a French horn sounds the Nature leitmotif the first of the many...
Glimmerglass Opera
Young American stage director Chas Rader-Shieber has an uncanny ability to render static, over-long Handel operas palatable for modern consumption, and his Glimmerglass Opera production of Orlando was utterly charming. Despite the fact that the Glimmerglass...
Guelph Jazz Festival
To celebrate the Guelph Jazz Festival's 10th anniversary, artistic director Ajay Heble took the bold step of commissioning a full-length jazz opera from musician D. D. Jackson and librettist George Elliott Clarke, acclaimed for his libretto for Beatrice...
Ideale
Songs of Paolo Tosti Ben Heppner. Members of the London Symphony Orchestra DGG471 557-2. ***** For his last CD, Ben Heppner traversed some of the big tenor showpieces from French opera, but here he is on rather different territory with a program...
John Relyea
There are worse ways of testing the vocal waters with unfamiliar repertoire than a guest appearance with the New York Philharmonic, as John Relyea discovered at the Bravo Vail! Festival in Colorado this past summer. Having portrayed neither King Phillip...
Kabarett
Jean Stilwell, mezzo-soprano, Robert Kortgaard, piano, and others. CBC Records MVCD 1162. **** If you're up for a little nostalgia from the Weimar Republic era, this release, designed, perhaps, to be heard over a backdrop of clinking cocktail glasses,...
Los Angeles Opera
In the final scene of Deborah Drattell's Nicholas and Alexandra, the much-bally-hooed work commissioned by the Los Angeles Opera, the embattled Romanov royals huddle nobly and picturesquely on the semi-dark stage. They, along with an unseen chorus,...
Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra, Updated to the American Civil War Period
Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra, updated to the American Civil War period, swims in incestuous passion and murder, and Seattle Opera's production was quite effective. While I found this to be entertaining theatrically, 1 can't say I...
Metropolitan Opera
Not so many years back, despite its name, Il Barbiere di Siviglia was a prima donna's opera. Whether she called herself Peters or Sills or Simionato or Berganza, she ruled the roost; even the occasional star baritone and still more occasional star...
Moordale Concerts
Performing at the University of Toronto's Walter Hall, Moordale Concerts launched its season with a delightful concert version of a rare Haydn opera featuring, for the most part, rising young alent. The charming, light-hearted La Fedelta Premiata is...
Natural Selection: Tales of John Fanning's Evolution as an Opera Villain
It's quite a stretch to go from delivering milk in the east end of Hamilton, Ont., to garnering rave reviews on opera stages around the world. Yet that is just what John Fanning has accomplished. A glance at his schedule leaves no doubt that tie is...
Opera De Montreal
The popularity of highlights from Le Nozze di Figaro disguises the fact that Mozart's best-known comedy is a lengthy farce that almost defies synopsis. Even if Opera de Montreal's season-opening production did not clarify all details of the plot, the...
Opera in Concert
Toronto-based Opera in Concert opened its 30th-anniversary season with two Canadian one-acters from the late 1950s, Harry Somers' The Pool (1956) and John Beckwith's Night Blooming Cereus (1959). It was an innovative and adventurous move even for a...
Opera Ontario
Opera Ontario's season-opening production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia trod a fine line between opera buffo and slapstick vaudeville. It was clear from director Alison Greene's opening gambit, when the audience was clearly given to understand it was...
Romeo et Juliette
Gounod Alagna, Gheorghiu, Kriz, Hendrych, Zahradnicek, Harvaznek. Members of the Czech National Opera, Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Anton Guadagno, conductor. Arthaus DVD 100707. ** This is sad excuse for opera on film. In a vain...
Santa Fe Opera
Following an artistically uneven 2002 season, Santa Fe Opera rebounded with a strong lineup of operas, topped off with an orchestral concert starring superstar soprano Natalie Dessay. Picking a winner wasn't easy, but La Belle Helene narrowly edged...
Seattle Opera
For Seattle Opera, 2003 was a huge year: the company's 40th anniversary and Speight Jenkins' 20th as general director, for starters. On top of that, Seattle's new opera house, the US$127-million Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, opened on August 2 with Parsifal,...
Starting an Opera Company
I'd like to start an opera company. Not a world-class opera company, but a nice little opera company that would be part of my town's culture, provide a place for students and young artists to develop and be able to pay the leads to perform roles, which...
Thais
The Chorus with Lyne Fortin in the title role of the Opera de Montreal production IS Massenet's Thais a neglected masterpiece or a high-camp relic? The answer supplied in November by a new Opera de Montreal production was: a bit of both. Bernard...
The World's Very Best Opera for Kids ... in English
Schade, Stilwell, Monk, Dahl, Lichti, LeBlanc, Kutan et al. Budapest Concert Orchestra MAV, Tamas Gal, conductor. The Children's Group 2 84341. * Rhymes Reveries Rimes Tracy Dahl, soprano, Shannon Hiebert, piano, Erica Goodman, harp. CBC Records...
Tristan Und Isolde
Ben Heppner (Tristan) in the Metropolitan Opera production IT has been four years since the Metropolitan Opera's striking 1999 production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (designed by Jurgen Rose) has been seen in New York. Since then, Canadian tenor...
University of British Columbia Opera Division
The Ghost in the Turret received its world premiere on October 24 at the Chan Centre, presented by the University of British Columbia Opera Division. The work, composed by George Ryan with a libretto by Phyllis Grant Lavelle, was written as an introductory...
Wexford Festival Opera
It's part of the crazy magic of the Wexford Festival Opera that while it's Irish through and through, its orchestra comes from Belarus, its chorus from the Czech ' Republic, its artistic director from Italy and everyone else from just about everywhere...
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