Magazine article Opera Canada

Vol 1, No. 2 May/June

Magazine article Opera Canada

Vol 1, No. 2 May/June

Article excerpt

Now a stapled, 12-page magazine in a compact 7"-by-71/2" format that went through the mail for 1c, the second issue added much detail to the first's sketch of the current Canadian opera scene, Vickers was cited again, leading off the new and long-running "People are talking about ..." column with reports of his success at the Met ("critics called him ... 'the best since Melchior's early days' ") and news of upcoming engagements, the only Canadian date being at the Canadian National Exhibition in August. We learn also that George London was preparing for his historic appearance in the title role of Boris Godounoff (sic) at Moscow's Bolshoi, that soprano Lois Marshall was "glowing from ovations received throughout her lengthy tour in the U.S.S.R., Latvia and Australia," that Maureen Forrester was considering an invitation to sing Ortrud in Lohengrin for San Francisco, that former Met conductor Wilfrid Pelletier was undertaking an extensive tour of major European opera centres to study conditions and facilities for ideas on what might be done at the Quebec Conservatoire de Musique, where he was now Music Director, and that Leopold Simoneau and Pierrette Alarie would sing together in Die Zauberflote in August as part of the 25th anniversary presentation of the annual Montreal Festivals.

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This issue also flows more like a magazine with articles about a wider range of topics. The cover story was an unsigned backgrounder on the Chinese opera tradition to introduce the upcoming tour of the Peking Opera, and there was a piece by Kenneth Froslid ("Musician, critic, Chief of Toronto News Bureau, Time and Life") on the shakeup in Paris after Cultural Affairs Minister Andre Malraux imposed new management on the Opera and Opera-Comique. In another, feistier article, a young composer, John Beck-with, argued for more presentations of contemporary works in the vernacular. "I present this recipe," he wrote, "not out of iconoclasm (though that is what it must sound like, no doubt, in Canada) but out of a desire to see opera--the idea of opera, not its purely social excitement, but its idea--established as something relevant and nourishing to Canadians, and as an infinitely flexible medium for composers and writers."

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Beckwith notes reluctantly that he will attend the Met's upcoming spring visit to Toronto, the company's 9th season at Maple Leaf Gardens. ("I am prejudiced by the high prices, the uncomfortableness of the hockey-arena setting, and such anti-artistic features as the society-editors' coverage of the event. …

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