Opera Canada

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

Articles from Vol. 53, No. 1, Spring

A Matter of Relevance: Composer Dean Burry on What Happens When Opera Meets Municipal Politics
Days before I sat down to write this column, Toronto mayor Rob Ford dubbed a legitimate decision by Toronto City Council on future transit development as completely "irrelevant" For over a year now, Torontonians have been living in bizarre political...
Bayerische Staatsoper
Munich is a city I've always associated with Warner and Richard Strauss^--so what was I doing there hearing Offenbach and Bizet? Blame it on the ever-accelerating globalization of opera: the singers and productions beard in one city aren't unlikely...
Belonging to the Music: Patrick Dillon Finds Some Unexpected Twists in the Career Path of Soprano Dominique Labelle
"Davy Jones was my first crush, when I was five," Dominique Labelle confessed via e-mail. It wasn't a surprise. The previous weekend, in person, she'd revealed to me her childhood devotion to TheMonkecs. "I had a big fight with my aunt, who was...
Billy Budd
Britten Opus Arte: OA1051 D This highly lauded production of Benjamin Britten's emotionally charged opera was made at the 2010 Glyndcbournc Festival. The new production, which garnered universal praise from British and foreign press, was the...
Calgary Opera
Calgary Opera enjoyed another notable success Jan. 28 with a splashy, visually stunning performance of Moby Dick, a new opera by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. A setting of Herman Melville's tale of a ship captain's obsession with...
Canadian Opera Company
That "shabby little shocker" as musicologist Joseph Kerman famously dismissed Puccini's Tosca, rose once again to spite his face as the opening production of the Canadian Opera Company's winter season at Toronto's Four Seasons Centre, looking very...
Capriccio
Richard Strauss Decca: 014 3454 The libretto for Richard Strauss's 15th and final opera was co-written by the composer and conductor Clemens Krauss. Inspired by a short libretto by the 18ch-century poet, Giambattista Casti, called Prima la musica...
Cavalleria Rusticana/i Pagliacci
Mascagni/Leoneavallo Sony: 88697910089 Early last year, Sony embarked on a major collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera, releasing an impressive catalogue of live performances from the Met's extensive archives of Saturday matinee radio broadcasts,...
Dialogues Des Carmelites
Poulenc BEL AIR: BAC061 This bleak, modern-dress production from the Bayerisehe Staatsoper in Munich is a maddening muddle. Designed and directed with unabashedly juvenile aplomb by Moscow-born Dmitri Teherniakov, the results do nothing to enlighten...
Don Garrard
Bass Don Garrard, born in Vancouver on Jul. 31, 1929, died at 82 in Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 21, 2011. A student of Lotte Leh-mann and of George Lambert and Nicholas Goldschmidt at Toronto's Royal Conservatory Opera School, he trade...
Edmonton Opera
Edmonton Opera gave new meaning to the notion of costume drama with its production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado in early February. There weren't many traditional Japanese trappings--no pagodas or geisha-style kimonos. Indeed, there was no scenery,...
Ensemble Parallele
The Great Gatsby by John Harbison had a splashy premiere at the Metropolitan Opera, followed immediately by the Lyric Opera of Chicago and a revival at the Met in 2002. And then, silence. In February, San Francisco's Ensemble Parallels, superbly conducted...
Hamburgische Staatsoper
Have you ever wondered about the Flying Dutchman's little-boy past? About just how Captain Vanderdecken wound up endlessly sailing the Seven Seas? Marco Arturo Marelli's 1996 production for the Hamburgische Staatsoper answers that question neatly:...
Isabel Bayrakdarian
Think of it as high-tech classical karaoke or a journey back to die future in the realm of art song, hut Isabel Bayrakdarian's latest recording project is an astonishing feat of computerized programming. She'd had Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's...
John Burge
A decade ago, Brian Finley, Artistic Director of Westben Concerts in the Barn in Cambellford, Ont., approached composer John Burge with the idea of writing a new opera for the summer festival. The two had known each other since they were teenagers...
Joyce El-Khoury
In the competitive world of building an opera career, a beautiful voice, solid training, abundant musicality; physical attractiveness, ingratiating stage persona are all key, but it never hurts to have Lady Luck on your side, too. Just ask Joyce El-Khoury....
Juilliard School
Peter Maxwell Davies's new -to-the-continent opera, Kommilitonen!, is that rare modern work that fully lives up to both its composer's goals and its audience's expectations. That s no mean feat, considering Maxwell Daviess high repute and his stated...
La Giocomem
Ponchielli Arthaus Musik: 107 291 La Gioconda, which sets a libretto by Arrigo Boito adapted from a story by Victor Hugo, is Amilcare Ponchielli's only opera in the standard repertory; although it s known largely today for its dazzling Act III ballet,...
La Scala
In a month that saw the resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the institution of austerity measures, last November's ritual season opener at La Scala, where some seats carried a $3,000 price tag, was seen by many as overt provocation....
Letter from Houston: Colin Eatock Takes Stock after a Change of Management at One of the Biggest U.S. Companies
It's a sultry October night deep in the heart of Texas and a glittering audience has come to Houston's Wortham Center for the opening of Houston Grand Operas 2011/12 season. The opera is Il barbiere di Siviglia, but before the curtain goes up, HGO...
Letter from Kansas City: William Littler Visits a New Opera House with Some Canadian Connections in Its Story
Opera houses--real ones as opposed to multi-purpose facilities--appear on the North American landscape with a frequency only slightly in excess ot the election of non-Conservative governments in Alberta. The latest to defy the architectural odds can...
Lieder
Mahler Boulianne, Rivest Ensemble Orford ATM A: 2665 Quebec-born mezzo Julie Boulianne's forte is generally French and Italian repertoire--she made her Metropolitan Opera debut last year in operas by Gluck and Gounod--but here she turns to...
Little Opera Company
You'd be hard pressed to come up with a better holiday show than Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, And it will now be difficult to imagine this one-act chamber opera without the Little Opera Company's choice of Anton Dahl-Sokalski...
L'Opera De Lorraine
L'Opera de Lorraine is surely one of the most beautiful places in Europe to hear opera, and its intimate interior suited L'italiana in Algeri very well Feb. 19. Musical standards have long been high here, and Paolo Olmi, Music Director Emeritus, conducted...
L'Opera De Montreal
L'Opera de Montreal mounted Verdi's Il trovatore around the composer's Jan. 27 birthday and it was a worthy tribute. An outstandingly sung production, it was quire the vehicle for Korean tenor Dongwon Shin and Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura. Although...
Manitoba Opera
Opera has never been an art form to hold anything back, but even within the genre, Salome is a tough, depraved act to follow. Manitoba Opera's daring choice of Richard Strausss gritty one-act opera as its season-opener last November proved as disturbing...
Metropolitan Opera
The Forest Bird was nice--the best realization of this tricky effect I've seen in four decades of. siegfried-going. And Fabio Luisi, james Levine s clear heir apparent as the Metropolitan Operas Music Director, once again took over for the ever-ailing...
Missa Da Requiem & Miserere
J. G. Bach Ruiten, Sandhoff, Balzer, Bauer, Rademann Harmonia Mundi: 902098 Johann Christian Bach. youngest son of the great Johann Sebastian and known as "The London Bach," was a friend and mentor to the young Mozart, influencing Mozart's concerto...
Notebook
This issue has a cross-Canada survey of summer training programs--for singers mainly, though also in some cases with associated courses for collaborative pianists and stage directors. We've limited it to domestic programs, recognizing, of course, that...
Opera in Concert
It was riskily enterprising for Opera in Concert to program Meyerbeer's five-act grand opera, Les Hnouenotsym the confines ofToronto's Jane Mallett Theatre (Nov..27), where there is little room to recreate the operatic spectacle that made this now...
Pacific Opera Victoria's
On seeing Pacific Opera Victoria's Der fliegende Hollander from the balcony (a dead spot? an off night?) on Oct. 14,1 would have described it as cleverly staged but emotionally distant. After seeing the closing performance on Oct. 16,1 have to change...
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
WEILL Bel Air: BAC067 In his somewhat acrimonious and highly publicized 2008 departure from New-York City Opera, Gerard Mortier abandoned the stormy skies over Lincoln Centre for the sunnier climes around Madrid's Te-atro Real, where he's been...
Royal Opera, Covent
The recent trend with Don Giovanni productions has been towards ever darker, ever more shocking conceptions. So it is refreshing to have Francesca Zambello's racy and romping Royal Opera, Covent Garden staging (Feb.) for comparison. First seen in 2002,...
Seattle Opera
The frisson between gruesome stage action and gorgeous singing generated an unsettling atmosphere in Seattle Opera's Attila, which opened Jan. 14 in Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. But then, I'm not sure director Bernard Uzan intended it to be otherwise....
Simone Osborne: The BC Soprano Reflects on a Season of Three Big Role Debuts
The first aria Simone Osborne sang, while a student at the University of British Columbia, was "O mio babbino Giro" from Gianni Schicchi so she finds it "pretty surreal" that she was assigned to sins the entire role of Lauretta in Puccini s only comic...
Singing in the Summer: Vocal Students and Young Artists Have the Benefit of a Long-Established Teaching and Coaching Infrastructure in Canada, and Summer Training Programs Have Become a Key Element of This. Here's a Coast-to-Coast Survey of This Summer's Programs and Tips on When and Where to Catch Tomorrow's Stars Today
The music world has changed drastically and rapidly over the last decade, let alone the last generation. Today, the opera world seems to he defined by the popularity of opera on cinema screens or in DV) format, with new technology overshadowing and...
Steven Philcox & Lawrence Wiliford
Of many fine events in the series of free vocal concerts Nina Dragunic programmed this season for the Canadian Opera Company's Four Seasons Centre, the most significant in terms of legacy was surely A Celebration of Canadian Art Song on Mar. 6. Tenor...
Streams of Pleasure
Gauvin, Lemieux, Curtis, Complesso Barocco Naive: V 5261 The always-impressive Quebec contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux continues to turn out a series of top-notch recordings for France's Naive label. On this Juno-nominat-ed disc, she is in the...
Teatro Campoamor
The role of Norma is ill about the exquisite melody imbued with serenity, elegance and ardent emotion. It is not enough to simply sing correctly Sondra Radvanosky was sensational in her debut as the Druid princess last December at the Teatro Campoamor...
Theater an der Wien
"This will not be Die Fledermaus," announced Theater an der Wien General Director Roland Geyer in his curtain speech to an audience bubbling over with amusement on New Year's Eve. After all, Fledawam is a staple in Vienna on Dec. 31 and was already...
Toronto Masque Theatre
Since Artistic Director Larry Beckwith founded Toronto Masque Theatre in 2003, it has grown both in craft and adventure. This season opened last November with a revival of Crazy to Kill, the 1989 collaboration for the Guelph Spring Festival between...
UBC Opera Ensemble
UBC Opera Ensemble s staging of The Crucible last November featured some of the best ensemble work I have seen by the company. The little performed opera by American composer Robert Ward is based on Arthur Millers better-known play about the witch...
War Requiem
Britten Wiens, Robson, Hagegard, Masur Helicon Classics: 02-9645 I've always avoided the word "definitive" when it comes co recordings, but if ever there was one that might fit the bill, its the legendary 1963 Decca recording of the War Requiem...
Wexford Festival
On paper, it was just the sort of lineup the Wexford Festival does best: three rarities, suitably contrasted--one French, one Slavic, one Italian. In its actual unfolding, it was a just-below-prime Wexford season, with (to my mind) one clear hit and...
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