Opera Canada

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Articles from Vol. 57, No. 2, Summer

Against the Grain Theatre
Against the Grain Theatre's single performance of Britten's The Rape of Lucrelia as part of Toronto Summer Music (Jul. 22) originated in a Banff Centre project directed by Paul Curran. Here, it was presented in semi-staged format directed by Anna Theodosakis....
Atom Egoyan
Director Atom Egoyan had a rare block of free time on his schedule this fall. September got off to the usual madcap start with the two-week round of meetings, movie showings and schmoozing at the Toronto International Film Festival, in part fulfilling...
A Year in the Life of Opera McGill
This October, McGill University celebrates the 60th anniversary of its opera program. To mark the milestone, filmmaker Anne Rostalas followed three voice students for a year to capture the joy and stress of training for a singing career. In this print...
Balancing Act: Conductor Yves Abel Is as Much at Home on the Concert Stage as He Is in the Opera Pit
Toronto-born maestro Yves Abel was almost as enthusiastic about his first visit to Seville last May as he was about Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, which he had come to conduct. "It's so amazing, the city of 100 operas with all those references to II...
Brott Music Festival
Brott Music Festival is slowly but surely cementing opera back into the cultural fabric of Hamilton and the Golden Horseshoe area. After auditioning 225 singers, 10 were chosen for the festival's BrottOpera component, the ensemble presenting an intriguingly...
Calgary Opera
A new production of Mozart's Die Zauberflote concluded Calgary Opera's 2015/16 season. Instead of focusing on the symbolic elements in the opera, this was a story-teller's version with the result that it was as light on its feet as a playful child....
Cloud Light
CLOUD LIGHT SONGS OF NORBERT PALEJ Centrediscs: CMCCD 22315 Four prominent Canadian singers come together on this disc featuring three song collections and one short scene for vocal quartet by Norbert Palej, Associate Professor of Composition...
Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie
When choreographer James Kudelka stepped down as Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada in 2005, he found a new home at the Citadel, the home of dance company Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie. The former Salvation Army building, with its...
Dark Star Requiem
DARK STAR REQUIEM STANILAND Centrediscs: CMCCD 22716 Dark Star Requiem is an opera-oratorio by Andrew Stanisland to a libretto by Jill Battson. The subject matter is HIV/AIDS, and while the piece does not have a conventional "story," there...
Dinorah
DINORAH MEYERBEER CPO: 555 014-2 Meyerbeer's 1859 pastoral comic opera Dinorah (also known as Le pardon dc Plocrmet) has enjoyed only a very small number of recordings over the years, and has disappeared from the opera house, where it was...
Early Music Alberta
Notions of age and rarity often go hand in hand, and Edmonton-based Early Music Alberta offered both in John Blow's 50-minute Venus and Adonis as part of its sixth, three-day Early Music Festival (seen May 6). Written in the early 1680s and often...
Edmonton Opera
Edmonton Opera ended its season with Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, an opera it had never produced in its 53-year history and featuring a singer its audience had not heard before. Judging from the audience response to the piece's dramatic and musical qualities...
Ernesto Ramirez
Mexican-American tenor Ernesto Ramirez followed a rather circuitous trajectory to a career in opera, starting out as an orchestra musician. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, he comes from a very musical family. His father studied piano and had his own folk...
Festival d'Aix-En-Provence
Claude Debussy's only opera, first performed in 1902, is often considered, staic and anti-theatrical. At this summer's Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (seen Jul. 2), English director Katie Mitchell proved the contrary: Pelleas et Melisande is a psychological...
Flipside Opera
Winnipeg's latest opera company. Flipside Opera, closed its inaugural season with three contemporary chamber opera nuggets inspired by everyday life in Bathtubs, Bus Stops and Bridge. The 90-minute production (including intermission) staged by Jacqueline...
France Bellemare
When France Bellemare's name was announced as the third place winner at the Montreal International Musical Competition in June 2015, her immediate response was, "Are you kidding me? "The young soprano was well aware of the calibre of the singers she...
Gregoire Legendre
"I believe in the importance of music and of a musical culture. Music remains, for me, one of the foremost realizations of humanity. Music is not only a universal language, but a language of peace. It is an instrument of rapprochement and not of division....
Highlands Opera Studio
It is no small feat to produce a universally revered grand opera, but Highlands Opera Studio successfully showcased Gounod's Faust to appreciative audiences in August. Director Valerie Kuinka staged her version in 1914, a particularly apt setting given...
It May Seem Slightly Perverse of Me to Begin This Review of Wagner's Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg by Praising the Conducting, Given Where I Was Seated
It may seem slightly perverse of me to begin this review of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg by praising the conducting, given where I was seated. On the far left of the Glyndebourne stalls, I was a few feet away from the tuba and a long way...
Keith Lam
One of baritone Keith Lam's earliest memories is of walking past a piano store in his native Hong Kong and hearing the music floating out of the store. "I knew I wanted to do whatever was inside," he recalls of what in retrospect seems like a calling....
Les Contes D'Hoffmann
LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN OFFENBACH Unitel: 135508 Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann is an opera that seems to thrive on innovation and confusion, since it has had its share of wild productions over the years, reaching extremes amid the 21 "-century...
Letter from Amsterdam: Lydia Perovic Enjoys the Welcoming Atmosphere and Innovative Programming That Make the Relatively Low-Key Holland Festival Such an Early-Summer Treat
Torontonians who dare move around their hometown on a bicycle will find themselves disbelieving the very possibility of Amsterdam, a city specifically planned for two-wheeled transit and adventuring. No corner of the city is out of reach; the lanes...
Letter from Fort Worth: William Littler Enjoys the Contemporary Approach of a Company That Pioneered the Switch to a Festival Format
In downtown Dallas, there is a monument in Dealey Plaza near the old Texas Schoolbook Depository commemorating that sad November day in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot. In downtown Fort Worth, there is another monument, across...
Liederwolfe
Presented by the experimental opera collective Liederwolfe, Peepshow Opera (Apr.) was an experiment in presenting opera in the hope/expectation of reaching beyond the traditional opera audience. Harking back to earlier modes of performance, when patrons...
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Lyric Opera of Chicago ended the operatic portion of its 2015/16 season with a new-to-this-city production of Gounod's Romeo el Juliette (followed by The King and I). And an admirable show it was. The conducting of Emanuel Villaume could not have been...
MasterVoices
The oddball Broadwayization of New York's former Collegiate Chorale--now calling itself, modestly, MasterVoices-continues apace: having concocted last fall a brash, Broadway-heavy semistaging of The Pirates of Penzance, in late April it reached back...
North Shore Light Opera Society
In a 68-year history of producing musical theatre, North Shore Light Opera Society has mounted The Merry Widow four times, but in its latest iteration in May, there was a new twist. Directed by Edette Gagne, the production featured the Jeremy Sams...
Notebook
Even taking every opportunity to live facets of my life over again following paths that seem so much more reasonable with benefit of age and hindsight, the one bit of history I emphatically would not change-and, indeed, would happily relive--was mine...
Opera De Paris
The reprise at Opera de Paris of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (seen Mar. 28), which premiered at the Salzburg Festival as part of the 2013 Wagner centenary, benefitted from a new cast and a highly original and finely nuanced interpretation by Swiss...
Opera De Quebec
Opera de Quebec's fourth staging of Puccini's La boheme last May was both emotional and refreshing. It was directed by the well-known Quebec actor/director Jacques Leblanc, recently appointed director of the Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Quebec...
Opera Lafayette
Washington DC-based Opera Lafayette landed at New York's Rose Theater in May with another production that, like Dido, seemed notably out of sync with a group's established tradition. The variance wasn't musical: Ryan Brown led his expert period band...
Opera on the Avalon
There is only one opera company in Atlantic Canada, and it's not in Halifax as one might assume. It's in St. John's, Newfoundland. Opera on the Avalon (St. John's is on the Avalon Peninsula), formed in 2009, bills itself as "Canada's newest opera company...
Oper Leipzig
Although I was in Leipzig this June hosting a tour to the annual International Bach Festival, I manage to squeeze in a couple of performances at Oper Leipzig, including one of Rossini's La Cenerentola featuring Ottawa mezzo Wallis Giunta, currently...
Pacific Opera Victoria
Francis Poulenc's 1958 La voix humaine tells the story of a woman speaking on the telephone for the last time with the lover who has jilted her. For 40 minutes, we hear one side of their conversation, which she begins by saying that she is fine, doing...
Rautavaara, Balada, Canto V, Four Songs from Rasputin
RAUTAVAARA, BALADA, CANTO V, FOUR SONGS FROM RASPUTIN Ondine: ODE 1274-2 This CD contains four recent works by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. With his death at 86 in July, they are among his last and are representative of a final...
Salzburg Festival
Salzburg sweltered as action on the Hofstallgasse in front of the festival houses reached fever pitch on the evening of Aug. 4. With Salzburg's finest out in full force and beret-wearing officers assigned to security detail, TV cameras whirred, paparazzi's...
Santa Fe Opera Festival
Nestled in the magical landscape of northern New Mexico, the Santa Fe Opera Festival has always been Canadian-friendly, with many giving memorable performances in the past. There were four singing leading roles this summer, plus one stage director...
Saskatoon Opera
Saskatoon Opera's most recent production turned out to be, with titular apologies to Rossini and his librettist, II barbiere sexy di Siviglia. Often, "sexy" is reserved for the romantic tenor lead, Count Almaviva, but this Figaro brought a somewhat...
Sondra Radvanovsky
March 23, 2016, marked a most happy milestone for Sondra Radvanovsky. Mar. 24 marked another, the more lavishly touted by a PR kilometre or two. That evening, the Metropolitan Opera presented its first production of Donizetti's Roberto Devereux,...
Theatre Des Champs-Elysees
Pierre Audi's highly stylized Tristan and Isolde at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees (seen May 24) tends more towards dramatic oratorio than fully staged opera. But the Lebanese directors approach has always been more visual and symbolic than theatrical....
Theatre Music II
THEATRE MUSIC II PURCELL Naxos: 8.573280 Kevin Mallon and his Toronto-based Aradia Ensemble continue to unearth little-known music from the Baroque era with this most enjoyable second volume of theatre music by Henry Purcell. The texture of...
The Far West
THE FAR WEST WADSWORTH Bridge: 9466 American composer Zachary Wadsworth's The Far West is a setting for tenor, chorus and strings of texts by poet/priest Tim Duglos, who died of AIDS in 1990. These are very personal and curiously optimistic...
The Final Take: Music Rachel Andrist Can't Live Without
Pianist Rachel Andrist is still front-and-centre as a performer--she and soprano Jane Leibel collaborated just last May at the University of Regina (alma mater for both Saskatchewan-born artists)--but her work on stage is just the proverbial tip of...
The Little Opera Company
The Little Opera Company broke with 20 years of tradition by presenting its first musical theatre production, though Kismet arguably straddles both the world of opera and the Great White Way. Based on Edward Knoblock s 1911 play and adapting Alexander...
Thread of Winter
THREAD OF WINTER LESLIE FAGAN/LORIN SHALANKO iTunes/CDBaby/canadianartsong.com This CD is billed as the first in the Canadian Art Song Series, which must not be confused with the Canadian Art Song Project. The material it contains is said...
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