Magazine article Opera Canada

The Final Take: Music Dean Burry Can't Live Without

Magazine article Opera Canada

The Final Take: Music Dean Burry Can't Live Without

Article excerpt

Newfoundland-born composer Dean Burry is no stranger to Toronto-based Canadian Children's Opera Company, which commissioned two operas from him with The Hobbit (2004) and The Secret World of OG (2010). But Burry's appointment as CCOC's Artistic Director this summer brings a closer relationship and ongoing responsibilities ranging from programming, casting and directing to fundraising, publicity and special projects. Coincidentally, outgoing Executive Artistic Director Ann Cooper Gay had already programmed a revival of The Hobbit for next June (9-12), with Tulsa Youth Opera mounting it a week later in the U.S. It will be a busy year for Burry as he works the new appointment into his schedule. While this summer he left the after-school opera program he created for the Canadian Opera Company after 17 years, he continues to teach at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music and at the University of Toronto, he's hard at work finishing up his own Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at UofT and has all the attendant demands of fatherhood with two daughters, aged 6 and 9. This is all in addition to his composing career, which this season, just to cite some vocal music, sees a Portuguese-language staging of The Brothers Grimm (the 2001 COC commission that is Canada's most-performed opera) in Sao Paolo, Brazil (Oct.), a revival of The Bremen Town Musicians (COC, Nov.) and The Mummers' Masque (Toronto Masque Theatre, Dec.), a new setting of Alfred Noyes's "The Highwayman" (Talisker Players, Toronto, May), and two new stage works--The Sword in the Schoolyard (Viva! Youth Singers of Toronto, Jun.) and Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang (Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Jun.).

Britten

Peter Grimes

Decca: 0289 478

5273

As a Newfoundland-born composer, how could I not be drawn to Britten's gritty and colourful evocation of sea people? Peter Pears was wonderful, but Jon Vickers really took this role to a new level.

Rogers and Hart

Dawn Upshaw

Nonesuch: 7559-79406-2

True crossover artists are few and far between, but, as they say, "Ms. Upshaw could sing the phone book." Not to mention, these are the perfectly constructed songs.

Stravinsky

L'histoire du soldat

Erato: ECD 88198

A master of complex music yes, but Stravinsky never shied away from humour and silliness. …

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