Magazine article Opera Canada

Editor's Notebook

Magazine article Opera Canada

Editor's Notebook

Article excerpt

I raised some questions here in our March issue about the the role of "modern" works in the current opera scene. The context was a review of an Opera America survey of the most-performed works in North America over the past five and 10 years. La Boheme, you may recall, led the roster by a long shot, and the most recently composed work on the list was Puccini's Madama Butterfly. As the 2003-04 opera season gets into full swing, it's evident that Puccini is still arguably the most popular opera composer, though, as far as Canadian companies go anyway, his most-performed opera this season (in Toronto, Edmonton and Quebec City) will take audiences from Japan to the China of Turandot.

If you look at the Canadian entries in our Opera Calendar, you'll see that there is a good sprinkling of modern opera, including Britten's Peter Grimes (Canadian Opera Company, presented alongside a Britten Festival that also includes Noye's Fludde and Curlew River), Somers' The Fool paired with Beckwith's Night Blooming Cereus (Opera in Concert, Toronto), Poulenc's La Voix Humaine (Opera Ontario), Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle paired with Schoenberg's Erwartung (L'Opera de Montreal), Weill's Die Dreigroschenoper (Vancouver Opera) and Hoiby's The Tempest (Pacific Opera Victoria). For the record, and not wishing to raise any opera-vs.-music-theatre debate here, there's also Sondheim's Sweeney Todd (Calgary Opera) and Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (Edmonton Opera). Without benefit of a horde of frequent-flyer points, few of us will have an opportunity to see all these productions, of course. But it's a sign of the vitality of opera and opera audiences that there is a mix of traditional and modern on offer by mainstream companies across the country.

The July-August issue of Opera America Newsline reported the results of another survey, "The 2003 American Express National Audience Research Project. …

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