Magazine article Opera Canada

(Prominence of Canadian Artists on the International Opera Scene)

Magazine article Opera Canada

(Prominence of Canadian Artists on the International Opera Scene)

Article excerpt

A friend called the magazine's offices late in the year to talk about the prominence of Canadian artists on international opera stages. She had just been in New York, and in a couple of days had seen almost half a dozen operas at the Metropolitan and New York City operas. She was struck by how many Canadians were performing over such a short period of time. At the New York City Opera, there was Kathleen Brett in The Love of Three Oranges and David Daniels in Rinaldo, while, across the Lincoln Center square, Ben Heppner was singing in the Met's new production of Fidelio, Richard Margison was in a revival of Turandot and John Relyea was appearing in a star-studded cast of Don Giovanni.

These days, my friend joked, it seems you can't go anywhere without finding a Canadian in the cast--and she has a point. If you follow our performance listings or each issue's Opera in the News, you'll know Canadian names are prominent in numerous North American and European opera centres. Indeed, it's not merely a matter of our established singers making a big impression abroad. Over the past few issues, we've recorded Canadian wins in major competitions such as the George London awards in New York, the Placido Domingo Operalia competition in Los Angeles and the Queen Elizabeth International Music Competition in Belgium. No matter which end of a singer's career you look at, Canadians do seem to be achieving international success at a remarkable rate right now.

It's probably not very fruitful to speculate on whether we are enjoying some kind of Golden Age of Canadian singing. In opera histories, "Golden Age" crops up indiscriminately to label, for example, everything from the era of the 19th-century bel canto stars to the period from about 1890 to 1920 in Italian singing or the inter-war period in Wagner singing. What counts as golden tends to reflect the tastes of maybe well-informed but certainly opinionated commentators as much as anything. …

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