Opera Canada

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Articles from Vol. 59, No. 2, Winter

Agrippina
AGRIPPINA HANDEL Naxos: 2.110579080 Handel's first operatic masterpiece, Agrippina, was composed in 1709 in Italy, when he was still in his early 20s. It concerns episodes in the life of Agrippina, wife of the Roman emperor Claudio and was...
A Quiet Place
A QUIET PLACE BERNSTEIN Decca 4833895 2018 marks the centennial of the birth of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) and one of the year's tributes is a new recording of his last work for the stage, the opera A Quiet Place, with a strong young cast...
Arc Glass/handel
ARC GLASS/HANDEL ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO Decca Gold 4817190 This is American countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo's debut solo album for the Decca Gold label where he's under contract, and it's a winner. In a brilliant program that juxtaposes...
Arts Criticism-What's the Point? Jenna Simeonov Asks ... Is There Room for 'Biased' Observers in the Classical Media?
There's a question that has lingered, passive and benign, around the topic of arts criticism. And for me in particular, in recent months it has grown into an insistent, tangible problem craving a real solution. What is the function of criticism...
Canadian Opera Company
The iconic, quintessentially Russian story, Eugene Onegin, opened Canadian Opera Company's 18/19 season on Sept. 30th. Originally premiered at Metropolitan Opera in 1997, Robert Carsen's production is a bold, wickedly hopeless, lucid dream. It is also...
Cincinnati Operas
Following sold-out performances at Opera de Montreal in 2017, Lucien Bilodeaus Another Brick in the Wall, the operatic transformation of Pink Floyd's The Wall, had its U.S. premiere as part of Cincinnati Operas 98th season (seen Jul. 31st). It proved...
City Opera Vancouver
It's barely an hour long--but City Opera Vancouver's Nigredo Hotel (seen Sept. 20th) packs quite a wallop. It's not that far, really, from traditional opera in form and story arc despite composer Nic Gotham's funky, dissonant, jazz-rooted score and...
Edmonton Opera
Edmonton Opera opened its 55th season on Oct. 20th with a solid production of Verdi's La traviata. The set, an all-purpose, large living space featuring a curved staircase and floor-to-ceiling lattice windows, was built at EO's north-end opera centre,...
Elektra
ELEKTRA R. STRAUSS Sony: 88985392322 The 31-disc set, Birgit Nilsson: The Great Live Recordings, released this fall to commemorate the centenary of the great Swedish dramatic soprano's birth, includes two accounts of Richard Strauss's Elektra,...
English National Opera
What is going on? It's a question one constantly asked during Adena Jacobs's production of Salome for English National Opera (seen Oct. 6th). For the first twenty minutes or so, the answer had to be, not much. On a barely lit stage the characters,...
Festival D'opera De Quebec
The 8th annual Festival d'opera de Quebec (Jul. 24-Aug. 6) featured a rich and boldly diverse program, headlined by Mozart's The Magic Flute directed by Robert Lepage (see our review at operacanada.ca), along with Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande and...
German Director Andreas Kriegenburg Is Adept at Special Effects; after His Gotterdammerung in 2012, He Set the Facade of the Bayerische Staatsoper Aflame with Video Projections as the Audience Was on the Way Back to Their Cars
German director Andreas Kriegenburg is adept at special effects; after his Gotterdammerung in 2012, he set the facade of the Bayerische Staatsoper aflame with video projections as the audience was on the way back to their cars. For the overture of...
Halifax Summer Opera Festival
In Aug. 2018, Halifax Summer Opera Festival presented three operas, each performed four times by two casts: Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea and Mozart's Don Giovanni. Peter Pears' libretto for Britten's...
Jeremy Dutcher
Listening to Jeremy Dutcher's Polaris Prize-winning album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, what's most striking is how symbolic the first song is of his overall approach to the music. "Mehcinut" begins much like any number of art songs do, with piano...
Letter from Bayreuth: Gianmarco Segato Gets His First Taste of the Annual Wagner Festival's Potent Mix of Music and History
For anyone making their first pilgrimage to the Bayreuth Festival--the annual north Bavarian homage to the mature operas of Richard Wagner--be prepared to be overwhelmed. Never mind the multiple, long afternoons and evenings at the Festspielhaus, parsing...
Letter from Salzburg: The Elite Austrian Festival Shifts Focus from Star Singers to Regie Auteurs Reports Denise Wendel-Poray
When I met Canadian baritone Russell Braun in Salzburg for an early morning coffee in August, he said that one of the biggest challenges of rehearsing the star role in Hans Werner Henze's The Bassarids at this year's Festival was surviving the heat....
Marta Herman
There are clusters of Canadian musician-expats in just about all of Germany's major cities today. The young Toronto-born mezzo-soprano Marta Herman moved away right after university and immediately forged a stable career in the German fest system....
Metropolitan Opera
What did Metropolitan Opera's 1321st performance of La Boheme (seen Sept. 25th) have to offer that its 1320th, last March, didn't--not to mention its 823rd, back in December 1981, when Franco Zeffirelli's classic staging made its debut? It's not the...
"My Yearning, My Obsession": Robert Carsen Probes the Deep Nostalgia and Stark Contemporaneity of Korngold's Die Tote Stadt for Komische Oper Berlin
Canadian director Robert Carsen is acclaimed for his international productions as well as stagings on home turf. His 1997 Metropolitan Opera production of Eugene Onegin opened the 18/19 Canadian Opera Company season. This autumn he turned his attention...
Notebook
As might have been expected, last issue's cover story dealing with the absence of Canadian opera productions in the burgeoning world of online and cinema live-streaming attracted a fair amount of comment. It was the first time Opera Canada shared one...
Opera Atelier
Opera Atelier opened its season with a triple bill of Baroque-to-Rococo one-act operas alongside a new contemporary dance work on Oct. 25th at Toronto's Elgin Theatre. The program began with Charpentier's Acteon (1684), a one-act pastoral tragedie...
Opera Comique
The new production of Gluck's Orphee et Eurydice that opened the fall season at Opera Comique on Oct. 12th (seen Oct. 20th) is a baffling mix of strengths and weaknesses that nevertheless balance toward a successful production. To start with the...
Opera De Quebec
For the first time in 35 years, Opera de Quebec presented Massenet's Werther (seen Oct. 20th) in a version as sobre and intense as the drama inspired by Goethe's titular novel. Bruno Ravella's concept emphasized the contradictions between the youth...
Opera National De Paris
In the preface to his 1670 play Berenice Jean Racine summed up the action quoting the Roman historian Suentonis: "Titus, who passionately loved Berenice and who was widely thought to have promised to marry her, sent her from Rome, in spite of himself...
OPERA NAVIGATES A ROCKY ROAD AT Banff: The Quintessentially Canadian Training Institute Struggles to Accommodate Opera into Its Current Artistic Vision
For 85 years, the Banff Centre has established itself as a mountaintop beacon, attracting top artistic talent and pedagogues and then beaming their accomplishments in music, theatre, literature, film, visual art and other forms of expression across...
Opera Philadelphia
Innovation is almost always a gamble, but luck was firmly on Opera Philadelphia's side when, under the hip, visionary leader ship of Canadian transplant David Devan, it offered its first, season-launching fall festival in Sept. 2017: the aptly named...
Opera's Changing Worlds: A New Symposium Examines How Opera Is Adapting to a Rapidly Changing Landscape
Persistent gender parity gaps, young artist training options and career planning challenges were the three main themes covered at the Opera's Changing Worlds summit, which took place the weekend of September 21-23, 2018 at McGill University in Montreal....
Otello
OTELLO VERDI Sony: 88985491959 This Royal Opera production of Verdi's penultimate stage masterpiece, directed by Keith Warner and first staged in Jun. 2017, conies out on top in many respects. In Jonas Kaufmann, it has an Otello whose voice...
Rossini Opera Festival
It's been two hundred years since Rossini's Ricciardo e Zoraide premiered at Naples' Teatro San Carlo with Giovanni David and Isabella Colbran in the title roles. However, the years--not to mention a critic or two--have not been kind to the opera....
SALZBURG REUNION: Baritone Russell Braun Speaks with Denise Wendel-Poray about His 20 Years at the Salzburg Festival
On Aug. 18th, I had the pleasure of meeting with Canadian baritone Russell Braun in the old-fashioned Niemetz Cafe on Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz in Salzburg. It was just two days after he'd sung the gruelling role of Pentheus in Krzysztof Warlikowski's...
SOUND SPACE VISION: The U.K.-Based Acoustic Experts Behind Canada's Most Celebrated Classical Venues Take on an English Stableyard, a Chinese Opera House and ... Toronto's Fabled Massey Hall
THE OPENING OF A BRAND-NEW NEW opera house anywhere in the world is bound to bring equal measures of trepidation and anticipation. Will the acoustics meet with the approval of critics and the public alike? And will the whole experience--the sightlines,...
Staatsoper Berlin
On Oct. 13th, a well-dressed Saturday evening crowd in Berlin greeted the revival of Jurgen Flimm's popular seaside production of Le nozze di Figaro with much applause and appreciation. First staged at Staatsoper Berlin in Nov. 2015, the production...
The COC Premiered Singer-Songwriter Rufus Wainwright and Librettist Daniel MacIvor's Much-Hyped Hadrian in an Undeniably Lavish Production (Seen Oct. 17th) That Accentuated the Opera's Central Purpose and Passion: To Impart a Sincere, Cathartic Celebration of Gay Male Desire to Contemporary Opera
The COC premiered singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor's much-hyped Hadrian in an undeniably lavish production (seen Oct. 17th) that accentuated the opera's central purpose and passion: to impart a sincere, cathartic celebration...
The Frankfurt Connection: Jenna Simeonov Looks at the Remarkable Number of Canadian Singers Currently Enjoying Thriving Careers at 'Opera House of the Year,' Oper Frankfurt
Aspiring opera singers in Canada are quick to learn the grim truth: it's nearly impossible to eke out a living at home. We have fall-sized, 'year-round' opera companies in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, and...
Tracy Cantin
Meeting soprano Tracy Cantin, one is struck by her personal warmth and ready smile, her peals of melodious laughter never far away. When we chatted in May, she had every reason to be happy. It was just days after her triumph in Anna Bolena at Canadian...
Vancouver Opera
It has been nearly three decades since The Merry Widow waltzed her way across the Vancouver Opera stage. That elegant, persuasive production, from the Spring of 1990, still rings in the collective memory of operatic old-timers such as me, so it was...
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