Opera Canada

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Articles from Vol. 58, No. 1, Spring

Alexander Prior
The Edmonton Symphony has been the go-to orchestra for all Edmonton Opera productions for decades, but in the 14 years that I've been covering the opera, the conductors in the pit have been guests. That changed with the production of Elektra that closed...
A Man of Small Parts: In Which the Author Recalls the Ups and Downs of Singing Three Key Roles in Puccini's Tosca
In the theatre, it's called a walk-on. In movies, it's a bit part, or cameo. In opera, the minor role of the person who delivers your mail, or stops you at the customs gate, or announces dinner is called a comprimario. The word comes from an Italian...
Baroque and Beyond: Tenor Colin Ainsworth Has Carved out a Fascinating Career Spanning Jean-Baptiste Lully to Rufus Wainwright
COLIN AINSWORTH is in awe of the Royal Opera of Versailles. The Canadian tenor recently performed at the main theatre at the famed palace and says it was a special experience. "You're in the opera house for which these works were created," he says,...
Bel Canto Journey: Soprano Joyce El-Khoury Is Pursuing a Busy International Career That Has Encountered Familiar Operatic Favourites as Well as Some Rare Birds along the Way
CATCHING UP WITH Joyce El-Khoury is no easy task. For a 2013 profile for Opera Canada, we met at a coffee shop in Toronto's Pearson Airport. Philadelphia-based at the time, she was passing through to catch a connecting flight to Australia. For this...
Calgary
Calgary Opera's new production of Puccini's Turandot in April was a feast for the eyes and ears, pleasing the large audience that filled the Jubilee Auditorium for the composer's final opera. The production was originally created for Florida Grand...
Chris Dunham
As a teenager growing up in Niagara Falls, Ont., baritone Christopher Dunham worked at a little pizzeria, spending his tip money going to kitschy local museums to see wax figure celebrities. Today, he spends his spare time cooking gourmet meals rather...
Comparisons May Be Odious, but It Was Hard Not to See Back-to-Back Performances of the Canadian Opera Company's Apr./ May Revival of Tosca without Mentally Mixing-and-Matching the Three Double-Cast Principals
Comparisons may be odious, but it was hard not to see back-to-back performances of the Canadian Opera Company's Apr./ May revival of Tosca without mentally mixing-and-matching the three double-cast principals. The co-production with Norwegian Opera,...
Der Ring Des Nibelungen
DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN WAGNER Orfeo: C 928613Y There are many good reasons to invest in this live, 1961 Bayreuth Festival performance of Wagner's epic Ring cycle, but for Canadian Wagnerians or anybody interested in the grand tradition of...
Edmonton
Edmonton Opera finished its three-production season in March on a bold, artistically aggressive note for audience and performers alike. Never produced --in Alberta, Richard Strauss's Elektra is a hair-raising work calling for stamina and dramatic depth...
Findings Reinaldo: Before Night Falls Offers Baritone Elliot Madore a Chance to Trace the Whole Tragic Arc of His Character's Life
His 20s have been a fast ride for Elliot Madore. Seven and a half years ago, a tender 22 and still a student at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, the Toronto native was a prize-winning finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions....
France: Paris
Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker is no newcomer to opera: she and her company, Rosas, were in residence at La Monnaie in Brussels from 1992 until 2007, where she made her debut as an opera director with Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle in...
Glenn Gould School Opera
Piccinni's La Cecchina is an opera buffa in two acts from 1760. It's a straightforward master-servant comedy, firmly rooted in the conventions of commedia dell'arte. The Marchese di Conchiglia is in love with his gardener, the beautiful foundling Cecchina....
Halcyon
HALCYON JOCELYN MORLOCK Centrediscs: CMCCD 23817 Jocelyn Morlock is a Juno-nominated Vancouver-based composer, currently the composer-in-residence of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Halcyon, named after one of the instrumental pieces included,...
Kirsten MacKinnon
Important competitions can boost careers, as witness the experience of Canadians who have won the annual Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, starting with Teresa Stratas in 1959. The latest is 26-year old Kirsten MacKinnon, the 17th Canadian...
Lydia Perovic Finds Young Artists Buckling Down to Serious Business in a Picture-Postcard Environment Where You'd Think Hard Work Would Be the Last Thing on Their Minds
Banff and its environs can be beautiful to the point of distraction. I learned this on day one of a visit to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity just before Canada Day this year: it only took a quick walk through the woods into town, toward the...
Mass in C
MASS IN C MOZART Cams: 83.284 Mozart composed this mass to mark the birth of his first child, Raimund Leopold, and not in fulfillment of a commission (a rarity for him, considering it is such a major work). But as with his later Requiem, it...
Miami
If you were to guess, as I did, that Jorge Martin's opera, Before Night Falls, was inspired by the movie of the same name, you'd be mistaken: though the two share a source and a title in Cuban dissident writer Reinaldo Arenas's memoir, posthumously...
New York
In March, the Metropolitan Opera ended its 11-year Fidelio abstinence with a solid, if unrevelatory, revival of Jurgen Flimm's staging of 2000. I liked the production back then, with reservations; this time round, the reservations remained, but the...
Notebook
"On the business of opera, there were sessions on how to get the younger generation into an opera house, on how to involve ethnic or other distinct communities in the urban centres that support major companies, and, of course, on how to beat the cash...
Otello
OTELLO VERDI C Major: 740008 This is an oddly disappointing release. Director Vincent Boussard minimalist staging is dark and gloomy throughout, with a dank backdrop, virtually no props and some light streaming through a perpetually open door...
Philadelphia
Figaro and Susanna got married in Washington DC to launch my 2016/17 opera season, and they got hitched again, very differently, at Opera Philadelphia to help close it. Washington's Le nozze di Figaro was, a few touches aside, solidly conventional,...
Quebec City
Opera de Quebec's May staging of Rossini's II barbiere di Siviglia was the company's first presentation of the opera in 15 years and came in the wake of the whirlwind of excitement created by director Morris Panych's original staging for Pacific Opera...
Songbird
SONGBIRD LAYLA CLAIRE/MARIE-EVE SCARFONE Analekta: ACD2 2154 Lyric soprano Layla Claire, who hails from Penticton, B.C., was a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindeman Young Artist program and made her debut on that storied stage as Tebaldo...
Spain: Madrid
When designer Michael Levine and stage producer Deborah Warner began working on what was to be an extraordinary new production of Billy Budd at Madrid's Teatro Real, they concentrated on the stage space and creating atmosphere, rather than representing...
Tapestry Opera
Tapestry Opera has over the years built a portfolio of opera noir thrillers, including Nic Gotham's Nigredo Hotel (1992), Omar Daniel's The Shadow (2009) and now Aaron Gervais's Oksana G., a disturbing tale of sex trafficking, extreme abuse and murder...
Temps Nouveau
TEMPS NOUVEAU MICHELE LOSIER/OLIVIER GODIN ATMA Classique: ACD22720 The French melodie, or nineteenth century French art song, is often compared to its German counterpart, the lied, and sometimes comes up second best. But although there are...
Terms of Engagement: As New Technologies Redefine the Way We Communicate, Opera Companies Are Tuning Their Marketing Programs into the Fast-Paced World of Social Media
Technological change and innovations have affected opera companies in many ways over the last decade, but perhaps communications and marketing programmes have had to adapt most radically and rapidly. Like their counterparts across the cultural milieu,...
The Final Take: Music Tenor David Pomeroy Can't Live Without
David Pomeroy has built an enviable career in the heroic repertoire. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Faust in the "Met in the Parks" series, followed by the title role of Les contes d'Hoffmann in the house with James Levine. For the Canadian...
Toronto
In his notes for the long-awaited Apr./ May Canadian Opera Company revival of Harry Somers' opera, director Peter Hinton begins with an appropriate reminder that Louis Riel was the first opera written by a Canadian to be presented by the COC. Although...
Toronto Operetta Theatre
Oscar Straus's The Chocolate Soldier is based on Shaw's Arms and the Man, though the operetta is less acerbic than the original. It comes over, rather, as a somewhat farcical love story with a few gentle pot shots at the military and militarism. There...
United Kingdom: Glyndebourne
Imagine a world where people in their 20s and 30s turned up in droves for contemporary opera and cheered with massive enthusiasm when the curtain fell. Extraordinarily, that is exactly what happened when Glyndebourne Festival mounted Hamlet, the new...
University of Toronto Opera
Charles Jennens, librettist for the Messiah, described Imeneo as "the worst of Handel's compositions." He had a point. The plot is a love-versus-duty dilemma, with abduction by pirates and a love triangle--both plot devices that should be confined...
Vancouver
Dead Man Walking burst onto the world stage in its 2000 San Francisco Opera premiere and has never looked back. Although the opera has taken 17 years to reach Vancouver, as a cornerstone of the first Vancouver Opera Festival, it was worth the wait....
Vancouver Opera Festival Had to Repurpose Sets from Its Staging of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking for Verdi's Otello to Make the Fast Turnaround between Shows, but the Result Proved Unfortunate
Vancouver Opera Festival had to repurpose sets from its staging of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking for Verdi's Otello to make the fast turnaround between shows, but the result proved unfortunate. There's much in the Verdi that is dark and ominous, of...
Victoria
Les Feluettes has everything any opera lover could want: sex, violence, pathos, and some truly terrific music. With a poetic libretto by Quebec's Michel Marc Bouchard, who wrote the play on which the opera is based, and music by Australian composer...
Winnipeg
Manitoba Opera closed its 44th season with the company debut of Massenet's Werther, a lushly scored portrait of an artist as a young man that also showcased a particularly strong cast of principals--all, notably, making role debuts. Based on Goethe's...
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