Browsing: Opera

Keith Cerny comes to Calgary with what he describes as a “hybrid” background in classical music and business technology. The accomplished pianist arrived mid-January to start work as the newly appointed general director of Calgary Opera. “The reception has been great,” says Cerny, who left the same position with the Dallas Opera, a company with a larger budget and a bigger mainstage season. “[Calgary] has a lot to offer. It has an extensive track record,” he insists. Two other key factors in deciding to move were a “clear-thinking board” and “one of only three National Emerging Artists Programs.” Although plans…

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The Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil (OSDL) is celebrating spring with Carl Orff’s renowned Carmina Burana. The concert will bring together OSDL musicians, the St. Lambert Choral Society, Les Petits Chanteurs de Laval and soloists Raphaëlle Paquette (soprano), Antoine Bélanger (tenor) and Marc Boucher (baritone). They will be led by OSDL artistic director Marc David, who describes Carmina Burana as “one of those grandiose works of the symphonic repertoire dealing with a universal theme, where listeners, singers, musicians and conductors are satisfied.” This seminal work was composed in 1935 and premiered in 1937 in Frankfurt. The text comprises 24 medieval poems…

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As part of a series paying tribute to José Evangelista’s musical legacy, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) in June presents two major works, La Porte and Manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse. Since its launch last September, this tribute series has allowed the public to discover again, through approximately 40 concerts, one of the most accomplished Canadian composers of his generation. Capping a year tracing a career of more than four decades, the monodrama La Porte and the opera Manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse will offer music lovers the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in an uncommon musical universe that…

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As part of its 30th anniversary, the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal will delve into its second staged opera production. Hockey noir is a chamber opera built on film noir, where dark atmospheres, conspiracies, investigations and seduction prevail. The action takes place in 1950s Montreal, in the heart of hockey playoffs that see the Montreal Quabs facing the Toronto Pine Needles. ECM+ artistic director Véronique Lacroix has asked Cecil Castellucci to write the libretto and André Ristic to compose the music. This creative duo produced the comic book opera Les aventures de Madame Merveille in 2010. “Madame Merveille was memorable,” Lacroix…

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Jean-Jacques Nattiez, author of four works on the master of Bayreuth, has just published The Hidden Stories of Richard Wagner: Poetic Art, Dream and Sexuality (Presses de l’Université de Montréal). Nattiez has volunteered to create a synthesis of his key ideas on the artwork at the centre of his life, without technical digressions and scholarly references. Here are excerpts from his book. Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is a central figure in the history of music and lyrical theatre by virtue of the 10 operas today considered part of the repertoire but also owing to texts which, in their French translation, fill…

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Soprano Nadine Benjamin could never have predicted a career as an opera singer. She was born in Brixton, an underprivileged London district where her single mother raised her along with a brother and sister. Her first musical experiences were in church, singing along with her siblings. “We were all endowed with good voices,” Benjamin recalls. Her mother was a part-time reggae musician and her father a DJ. At age 16, Benjamin dropped regular school and joined the Youth Training Scheme, an on-the-job training program for people aged 16 or 17. She was placed in a job in the corporate finance…

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Tapestry Opera continues its tradition of bringing new work to the stage this spring with a full production of The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring. Based on The Overcoat, a successful play of 1998 which in turn was based on the classic tale by Nikolai Gogol, this opera features a score by James Rolfe and a libretto by Morris Panych. The opera is a product of Tapestry’s LibLab, a program that pairs leading up-and-coming composers with the most exciting librettists working in Canada today. Panych and Rolfe were paired up in 2014; the playwright came up with the idea of reworking…

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The first time I heard Sondra Radvanovsky was in 2010 in Montreal’s Salle Wilfrid Pelletier. She was a guest artist alongside the headliner of the concert, the late baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, one of my opera idols, whose performance fulfilled all my expectations. To say that she stole the show would be an understatement. Frankly, I didn’t know much about this American soprano, who has since acquired Canadian citizenship. At first, I was in awe, but at the same time confused. Her voice seemed inconceivable: a large instrument that easily filled the hall and at the same time possessed a penetrating…

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With 11 titles set to be broadcast to more than 500 UK cinemas and to another 1,000 in 40 countries across the globe, the Royal Opera House’s Live Cinema Season 2018/19 will showcase a wide variety of ballet and opera, including three new works, all relayed live from Covent Garden. The 2018/19 Season will feature the great classic of The Royal Ballet’s repertory The Nutcracker and world-renowned opera stars including Michael Fabiano, Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko and Eva-Maria Westbroek among other treats. Tickets for 2018/19 go on sale on Tuesday 4 April 2018 in the UK and on Tuesday 12 June 2018 for international territories. These…

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Tapestry Opera continues its tradition of bringing new work to the stage this spring with a full production of The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring. Based on The Overcoat, a successful play of 1998 which in turn was based on the classic tale by Nikolai Gogol, this opera features a score by James Rolfe and a libretto by Morris Panych. The opera is a product of Tapestry’s LibLab, a program that pairs leading up-and-coming composers with the most exciting librettists working in Canada today. Panych and Rolfe were paired up in 2014; the playwright came up with the idea of reworking…

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