Magazine article Opera Canada

Schubert among Friends

Magazine article Opera Canada

Schubert among Friends

Article excerpt

SCHUBERT AMONG FRIENDS

Gillian Keith/Michael Schade/Colin Ainsworth/Gerald Finley/Stephen Ralls/Bruce Ubukata

Marquis 774718 81365 7

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This disc celebrates a number of anniversaries, the most important of which is the 25th of the Aldeburgh Connection, the Toronto-based recital series founded by Stephen Ralls, head of the Opera Division at the University of Toronto, and recitalist, accompanist and vocal coach Bruce Ubukata. 2007 also marks the centenary of the birth of Greta Kraus, the Vienna-born harpsichordist and coach whose seminal influence on Canada's vocal scene is remembered in the Aldeburgh Connection's annual Schubertiad. Finally, in his program notes, Ralls recalls that he first met Ubukata in 1977, while both were working at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England, so the disc also marks a 30-year milestone in their own professional and personal relationship.

The disc is structured as a Schubertiad, the kind of party the composer himself knew when friends got together in drawing rooms to make music together (mostly his). The vocal pieces assembled here--some familiar, many not--all explore the theme of "connection," though the subject matter varies widely. …

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