Magazine article Opera Canada

The Final Take: Music Ben Heppner Can't Live Without

Magazine article Opera Canada

The Final Take: Music Ben Heppner Can't Live Without

Article excerpt

BEN HEPPNER HAS A VERY BUSY CLOSE TO THE 2005-06 SEASON. WE caught up with him in New York in March preparing for Met performances of Fidelio (Mar./Apr.), Lohengrin (Apr.) and his debut in Parsifal (May). He's also scheduled to sing in the gala concert in honor of retiring Met General Manager Joe Volpe (May 20) before heading home to Toronto for back-to-back concerts: the gala to open the new opera house (June 14) and a Wagner and Sibelius concert with the Toronto Symphony (June 15). He's off to Paris for Fidelio again (June) and then to London for a run of Turandot (July). Heppner is also back in record stores in April with the release of his new Deutsche Grammophon CD of excerpts from Wagner's Ring. 2006-07 sees him back at the Met for Idomeneo (Sept.) and Andrea Chenier (Mar./Apr. 2007), in Montreal for concert performances of Tristan und Isolde (Feb. 15 and 18, 2007) with the Montreal Symphony conducted by Kent Nagano and in Paris for Lohengrin with Valery Gergiev conducting (May/Jun.).


Music is important to me while I'm travelling, when I have time to listen between rehearsals and performances. In fact, I tend to go to more opera when I'm away from home than when I'm home. When I'm working at the Met, for example, I try to take in dress rehearsals or performances of other productions, and, if they're playing, I certainly will go down to Amato Opera, which has been giving aspiring singers an outlet for almost 50 years. A lot of the music I've chosen here I came to know through LPs. I've made digital copies so I can take them along with me anywhere.

Ella and Louis


Time Out

Dave Brubeck Quartet

Legacy Recordings


I'm not particularly a jazz voice fan, more jazz piano and jazz trio. But the recordings of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong together are among my favorites--and my kids', too. I came across them very early on. Brubeck I love for his innovation, like the wonderful exploration of a different time signature in "Take Five" and the almost classical feeling in his playing. If I could have more jazz, I'd want Oscar Peterson's Night Train (Verve) and Down Home Blues by Gene Harris, with Jack McDuff on Hammond organ (Concord Jazz).

Verklarte Nacht


Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan Deutsche Grammophon

When I went to university in 1974, I got into an elite group of chamber singers. …

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