Opera Canada

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

Articles from Vol. 51, No. 2, Summer

2010 Opera Canada Awards
It hardly seems 10 years since we held the inaugural Opera Canada Awards, but here we are launching the program into its second decade. This year's Rubies are set for Oct. 14 at One King West Hotel in Toronto. As regular readers will know, the Rubies...
Anne Manson
A rose is a rose is a rose, it's been said, but not at New York's Lincoln Center, where a veritable garden of Roses--Rose Building, Rose Hall, Rose Rehearsal Room, Rose Suite--can create thorny confusion. That's what prefaced my meeting with conductor...
Chicago
Berlioz didn't intend his 1845 "opera de concert," La Damnation de Faust, for the theatre but that hasn't stopped myriad directors since 1893 from trying to adapt it for the stage. The most recent took place late in Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2009/10...
Colin Balzer
Canadian lyric tenor Colin Balzer was between performances of Mozart's Idomeneo in January, at the 2010 Mozart Woche Festival in Salzburg, when I enjoyed an espresso with him in a local cafe to catch up with his career. Balzer was featured as the High...
Der Ring Des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen Richard Wagner Palau de les Arts, Valencia, 2007-09 Unitel Classics I saw this astonishing production of Wagner's Ring cycle by La Fura dels Baus last year, and was much looking forward to its release on DVD. Marketed...
Edmonton
Edmonton Opera ended its 47th season with its first production of Verdi's Otello in 30 years. The production had most of what the relatively conservative audience appreciates, and the quality cast of Canadian principals received a heartfelt standing...
Falstaff
VERDI Opus Arte: OA BD7053 D This release documents the critically acclaimed 2009 Glyndebourne Festival production of Verdi's final opera. Updated to 1946 by director Richard Jones, it features novel--although uneven--sets and costumes by the enigmatic...
Francesca Caccini: O Viva Rosa
SHANNON MERCER Analekta: AN 2 9966 Shannon Mercer, one of Canada's most versatile young artists, refuses to be pigeonholed. The gifted soprano can be heard as readily in contemporary Canadian works by James Rolfe or Ana Sokolovic as she can in...
Germany: Cologne
Oper Koln's revival of Robert Carsen's 1995 staging of Verdi's Macbeth came as a welcome antidote to the bout of senseless Macbeths Europe has endured this season. In one production in Dusseldorf actors threw real faeces around the stage, while another...
Giiwedin
Many highly interesting productions have come out of Native Earth Performing Arts. The organization is usually associated with theatre, but its latest venture was the very ambitious Giiwedin, A First Nations Opera (Apr 8-24), composed by Catherine...
Graham Cozzubbo
"I'm a Don Quixote, running at windmills, trying to insert myself into as many things as possible." So says Graham Cozzubbo, who, at 43, has been billed as a director of theatre, opera and contemporary music over his 18-year career. Cozzubbo grew...
Great Operatic Arias
GERALD FINLEY CHANDOS: CHAN 3167 Canada has long been heralded for the calibre of its singers, and Montreal-born, Ottawa-raised baritone Gerald Finley is surely among the most gifted and celebrated. Finley, who turned 50 this past January, is...
Hamilton
Opera Hamilton closed its successful 30th anniversary season with an audience favorite, Puccini's La boheme. The piece has figured prominently in the company's history, having been staged five times, including a 1979 pilot production at Festitalia,...
Katherine Whyte
Every young singer has a role model they look to for inspiration. For soprano Katherine Whyte, it has been none other than Ben Heppner. "I want to be like Ben Heppner when I get old," she muses over the phone from New York. Of course, the 30-year-old...
Kevin Mallon
Kevin Mallon honed his musical chops as a violinist with the Halle and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, then developed a fondness for the early-music world as concertmaster of both Le Concert Spirituel and Les Arts Florissants in Paris, as a member of...
Letter from New York: Patrick Dillon Takes Stock of New York City Opera, Finally under New Management
The tale's become a part of the city's operatic lore: how, in September 2005, Paul Kellogg, General Director of New York City Opera, announced his retirement at the end of the 2006/07 season; how the ensuing search for his successor produced, in February...
Letter from Tel Aviv: William Littler Discovers a Blooming Opera Culture in Israel-In and out of Doors
For a land dating back to Biblical times, Israel boasts a surprisingly short operatic history. Maybe that is why the Israeli Opera seems to be making up these days for lost time. Tradition assigns opera's modern origins in the Holy Land to 1923, when...
Little Women
Calgary Opera's production of Mark Adamo's 1998 Little Women (Jan./Feb.) was a Canadian premiere. The work falls naturally within the lineage of other, somewhat conservative, musical theatre-tinged operas by composers such as Carlisle Floyd (Susannah...
Madrid
Robert Carsen productions in Madrid, Barcelona and Oviedo over the past five years have received great acclaim, but a kitsch Salome at the Teatro Real last spring divided opinion. It took place in the basement of a Las Vegas casino, walls covered in...
Moby-Dick
If you will pardon the pun, Dallas Opera produced a whale of an opera as well as an opera about a whale in its May, world premiere production of Moby-Dick, Jake Heggie's daring musical assault on the Leviathan that is Herman Melville's classic 19th-century...
New York
Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos remains an acquired taste among Strauss's repertory operas. Those who love it (and I am one of them) can't understand the qualms of those who don't, who even among themselves can't agree on just what puts them off....
Nixon in China
John Adams' Nixon in China had its Canadian premiere as the splashy centerpiece of Vancouver Opera's 50th-anniversary season. Production and performance values were appropriately stratospheric, with Michael Cavanagh's insightful direction manifest...
Opera at Home
Reviews of CDs and DVDs The London-born Samuel Arnold, who held a DMus from Oxford and was equally skilled as an editor, composer and organist (at Westminster Abbey, no less, where he was buried), made a regular practice of creating reworked editions...
Passion
Since its premiere at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in 2008, Pascal Dusapin's Passion has racked up three major productions, all of them starring Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan. I saw the final performance in its incarnation at the Grand Theatre...
Philadelphia
Opera Company of Philadelphia presented the East Coast premiere of Tan Dun's 2002 Tea (Feb. 19), first seen in North America at Santa Fe in 2007 and utilizing the same effective, darkly atmospheric production by Anion Miyamoto. Tan himself conducted...
Returning to A Return: Alberto Manguel Reflects on the Process of Transforming One of His Novels into an Opera Libretto
Some time in the spring of 2009 (stupidly, I didn't mark the exact date in my journal), composer Oscar Strasnoy called me and asked if I'd like to work with him on an opera, commissioned by the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence for the summer of 2010. ...
Simon Boccanegra
Can a performance sound all wrong and still offer a stirring account of an opera? Dozens of wrong-language recordings answer a strong affirmative, and so, too, in a different way, did the Metropolitan Opera's revival of Simon Boccanegra, the much-touted...
Sometime a Great Notion: In Her Recent History of the National Arts Centre, Sarah Jennings Recalls the Glory Days of the Summer Opera Festival in Ottawa. Will We Ever See Its like Again?
Once upon a time ... in Canada ... there were great summers of opera ... in Ottawa ... on the banks of the Rideau Canal ... at the National Arts Centre. In fact, the NAC's opera productions, 35 in total between 1971 and 1983, made its name on the international...
Spain: Barcelona
Canadian conductor Yves Abel and Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez are a tandem in La fille du Regiment, having marched this light-hearted Donizetti across stages from Vienna to Bilbao. Sold out for months, no surprises were anticipated for the final...
St. Paul
Minnesota Opera's new production of Richard Strauss's Salome, featuring Russian soprano Mlada Khudoley in the title role, opened Apr. 10, with conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak using the reduced orchestration Strauss later provided. Staged and choreographed...
Summer Studies: What's on Gerald Finley's Music Stand at Glyndebourne?
While this summer's Jonathan Kent production of Mozart's Don Giovanni is the Glyndebourne Festival's first new staging of the opera in a decade, the title role is hardly a new one for baritone Gerald Finley. He figures he's already sung the Don more...
Tapestry New Opera Works
It was a grand way to celebrate a 30th anniversary. Tapestry New Opera Works reached back into its repertoire of 15-minute operas from the Opera to Go program to present five favorites in the huge Fementing Cellar of Toronto's Distillery History District...
Tenor Arias
MARC HERVIEUX Atma: ACD 22618 If you haven't heard of Canadian tenor Marc Hervieux, you undoubtedly don't live in Montreal, where he is almost a household name. Appearing with Quebecois pop icons like Ginette Reno has delivered his name to a...
The Elixir of Love
Kelley O'Rourke's English text for The Elixir of Love goes beyond a simple translation. It recasts Felice Romani's 1832 libretto to fit Jonathan Miller's concept for (what was) Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore. The production, made for NewYork City Opera...
Toronto Operetta Theatre
Leo, the Royal Cadet was first performed at Martin's Opera House in Kingston, Ont., in July 1889. It would be nice to note that this was the start of a lengthy run that established the work by Oscar Telgmann and young lyricist George Cameron as a benchmark...
Turning Tortures into Triumphs: In a New Biographical Study, Author James Neufeld Recounts Soprano Lois Marshall's Operatic Encounters with Conductor Sir Thomas Beecham
IN 1956, Lois Marshall got the break that eventually introduced her to European audiences and propelled her career onto the worldwide stage. Sir Thomas Beecham was one of the most flamboyant and popular British conductors of the 20th century, famous...
University of Toronto Opera Division
Bernstein's Candide (seen Feb. 4) was both a University of Toronto Opera Division premiere and the first time the university's opera, instrumental and choral divisions worked together in what was billed as "A Faculty of Music Celebration." The production...
Vancouver
A riveting percussion introduction focused the audience immediately on a voice-over of Harry Somers at the outset of the University of British Columbia Opera Ensemble's Western premiere of his Louis Riel in February. Nancy Hermiston, Head of the...
Verdi Arias
SONDRA RADVANOVSKY Debs: DE 3404 Sondra Radvanovsky is the genuine article, a true Verdi soprano. And here is a splendid new CD to prove it. With a powerful, soaring voice blessed with considerable agility, a respectable trill and solid high...
Victoria
The audience must wait a couple of hours for the big payoff in Capriccio, Richard Strauss's last opera, completed when he was 77, but it's worth it. In the final 20 minutes, the definitive answer to the question of which art is superior--poetry or...
Winnipeg
Manitoba Opera closed its 2009/10 season with crowd-pleasing Carmen in April, directed by Winnipegger Rob Herriot, who returned to his Prairie roots after 20 years afield. With the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra elegantly led by MO Principal Conductor...

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