Magazine article Opera Canada

Tracking Canadians at Home and Abroad

Magazine article Opera Canada

Tracking Canadians at Home and Abroad

Article excerpt


Tenors Ben Heppner and Richard Margison were appointed Officers of the Order of Canada this spring, while Ezra Schabas, professor emeritus of music, University of Toronto, was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

Richard Bradshaw, general director of the Canadian Opera Company, was named Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in a special ceremony at the residence of the Consul General of France in Toronto. This tribute honors those who have distinguished careers in the arts or literature, and who have contributed to French culture in France and around the world.

Soprano Tamara Hummel, former Metropolitan Auditions winner and COC Ensemble Studio member, has been selected to attend the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago this summer on a full scholarship, studying the song repertoire with such distinguished artists as Sir Thomas Allen, Christoph Eschenbach, Martin Katz and Benita Valente.

Vancouver's Modern Baroque Opera is the winner of the third annual Alcan Performing Arts Award, a $50,000 production fund that is the largest award of its kind in Canada. The new opera, entitled 120 Songs for Sade, will premiere at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre in March 2002. The creative team for the opera includes composer Peter Hannan, who will co-write the libretto with Peter Hinton, who in turn will co-direct with MBO artistic director Kate Hutchinson. The work is made up of 120 short pieces based on scenes from the life and works of the Marquis de Sade, and is scored for eight to 12 singers performing multiple roles. Singers slated for the cast include Colin Balzer, Jennie Such, Gregory Dahl, Phoebe MacRae and Matthew White. The Alcan Performing Arts Award is open to performing-arts companies in British Columbia, and rotates annually among the disciplines of dance, theatre and music/opera.

Opera Lyra Ottawa has launched the Vivian Asfar Memorial Award for Vocal Excellence, to be presented yearly to a singer age 30 or under who has had a supporting or understudy role in an Opera Lyra production, or to a member of the company's Young Artists Program. This year's award, a cash prize of $1,250, is intended to help the recipient launch a career in opera by assisting with final studies, master classes, high-profile auditions or special vocal programs. The prize money is provided through the Vivian Asfar Memorial Fund for Opera Studies. Application details are available from Opera Lyra Ottawa at 613-233-9200, or online at

Also at Opera Lyra, Bell Canada was presented with an OPERA America Bravo Award for corporate support of the Ottawa company. The award is presented annually to five U.S. and one Canadian corporation that have demonstrated exceptional support of opera companies in their geographic area.

A new recording of Handel's Apollo e Dafne and Silete venti on the Dorian label won the Juno Award for best classical recording. It features soprano Karina Gauvin and baritone Russell Braun, with Les Violons du Roy conducted by Bernard Labadie.

Baritone Sergei Stilmachenko has been accepted for the Centre de Formation Lyrique de l'Opera National de Paris for 2001-2002. Currently, he is a member of the Atelier des Jeunes Voix du Rhin of the Opera National du Rhin in Strasbourg.

Three Canadians figured prominently when the George London Foundation named its 2001 winners on March 29, following the finals in New York. Among the six top winners (US$7,500 each) were bass Robert Pomakov (George London Award) and soprano Measha Bruggergosman (George London/ Kirsten Flagstad Memorial Award). Soprano Michele Capalbo was awarded the Encouragement Grant, worth US$1,000, a Canadian prize in honor of Lucy Purdy Posik.


When Isabel Bayrakdarian appeared in Lyric Opera of Chicago's Il Barbiere di Siviglia on Jan. 29, she became the first soprano in the history of the 46-year-old company to sing Rosina. …

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