Magazine article Opera Canada

Notebook

Magazine article Opera Canada

Notebook

Article excerpt

One of the privileges of editing this magazine is that over the course of any given quarter between issues, I go to a lot of operas, concerts and recitals. One of the curses of limited space is that we can only cover opera for the most part, and so a lot of wonderful vocal events pass by with hardly a mention. I can't redress that entirely in this space, of course, but I thought I might start a kind of quarterly retrospective of some vocal highlights during my travels.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I'll begin with the June 4 opening night of the inaugural Capital One BlackCreek Summer Music Festival.The three-month festival, which covers the gamut of music genres, is a noteworthy addition to the Toronto music scene because classical vocal events are generally spotty in the summer months. Opening night brought Placido Domingo to the stage with soprano (and Toronto resident) Sondra Radvanovsky, with a fine pickup orchestra and chorus. This was a stadium concert in the Rexall Tennis Centre at York University. Being somewhat inconvenient to get to except by car, it was not quite ready to handle the approximately 8,000 who made the trek. It started half an hour late because of traffic-snarls, and once you got inside, banks of speakers and lines of microphones were in place to "enhance" the sound.

Never mind. It turned into one of the most enjoyably entertaining concerts I've heard all season. At 70, Domingo remains in amazinglv fine vocal fettle, launching into extended scenes from Verdi as readily as Italian song and "Some Enchanted Evening." And Radvanovsky emerging as one of today's finest dramatic sopranos, was in no supporting role, neither alongside Domingo nor in her solos. The chemistry between them was real, and their joy in making music to communicate with the crowd was readily apparent. It was an odd program that started with Verdi, then, via Broadway, Bernstein, and more, ended with Domingo conducting the Hallelujah Chorus to coordinated fireworks in the background. …

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