Browsing: Art Song

If I look back on what they now call “the roaring Twenties”, it is like looking at a rich tapestry of almost blinding color. So much happened in those years which were marked by abundant prosperity in America and a cultural liveliness which was breathtaking. Music of our time all of a sudden became a matter of interest, and everybody felt like jumping on the bandwagon. So wrote Canadian mezzo-soprano Eva Gauthier, an artist ideally suited to a ­period that invariably attracted the ­sophisticated, the exotic, the adventurous and the new. She had already sung Satie’s music-hall tunes, was familiar…

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Born at Lac-Saint-Jean in northern Quebec, mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne has forged an acclaimed international opera career. This month she returns to her ­operatic “home”, Opéra de Montréal, for her first Quebec performances of a favourite role — the lead in Rossini’s Cinderella opera, La Cenerentola. Interviewed on the eve of the production’s first rehearsal, Boulianne is ­palpably buoyed by anticipation. “It’s very exciting,” she says. “It’s a role I’ve loved, and finally I get to do it at home. I think of it as a big gift.” The excitement also carries certain responsibilities. In February, Boulianne received an Opus Prize,…

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We cannot speak of our mezzo-sopranos and contraltos without starting with Maureen Forrester, considered to be one of the 20th century’s greatest contraltos. Born in 1930 in Montreal and deceased in 2010 in Toronto, she starred on the world’s most famous stages. She was well known to the Canadian public, since there was once a time when our national radio and television paid attention to our classical artists. As the story goes, she first met Bruno Walter in 1956, launching between the lyrical artist and the conductor one of the century’s most famous relationships. Maureen Forrester’s voice was a rare…

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British-born Canadian mezzo Susan Platts has been delighting audiences around the world with her expertise in art song; her first solo album of songs by Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann and ­Johannes Brahms earned her ­critical acclaim. Known for her Mahler interpretations, she’s been featured on recordings singing both the full and concert versions of Das Lied von der Erde and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. She’s sung Mahler with symphonies from San Diego to Baltimore, Toronto to Santa Barbara, and Philharmonics from Boston to New Mexico, to Calgary and Krakow as well as Orchestre Métropolitain, Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, and Germany’s…

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Part I Although no longer at their apogee, in the 1960s the two great sopranos of the time, Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi, were still burning up the stage, and I had the great good fortune to see them. Thanks to their recordings, I had heard them when they were at the height of their careers. These memorable records, beloved by fans, divided the latter into two rival camps. At the time, I counted among my friends Georges Nicholson (for Callas) and Michel Beaulac (for Tebaldi). Each stoutly defended his idol’s merits, Nicholson being proud of Callas’ strong sense of…

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Tosca and La Cenerentola The Opéra de Montréal launches its season with the tragic story of the diva Floria Tosca, by Puccini, from September 16 to 23. Melody Moore, the American soprano who played Madame Butterfly in 2015, portrays the soprano who lets herself become manipulated by Baron Scarpia, the chief of police, played by Canadian baritone Gregory Dahl. Chilean tenor Giancarlo Monsalve will debut in his interpretation of the role of the painter Cavaradossi, Tosca’s lover. Canadian baritone Patrick Malette, former member of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, will take on the role of the fugitive, Angelotti.…

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With an impressive roster of seasoned performers and many more in training, opera is a major component of classical music in Canada. Our homegrown talent is gaining recognition abroad, and many of our singers appear regularly in the world’s great opera houses. Here’s a look at some of their diaries for 2017–2018. Soprano Layla Claire, whose Donna Elvira was warmly received by audiences at Opéra de Montréal last November, recently made a debut solo album with ATMA Classique, entitled Songbird. High point of the year for this British Columbian will be her title role in Alcina at the Bolshoi Theatre…

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Would you be willing to spend a sweltering summer evening listening to a youth orchestra in a venue with no air-conditioning? The hundreds who did avail themselves of such an opportunity on August 4 at the resplendent Chapelle Notre Dame de Bon Secours in old Montreal were delighted with the experience. The 2017 edition of l’Orchestre de la Francophonie marshalled its forces for a final time to perform a diverse programme- the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, Le Boeuf sur le toit by Darius Milhaud, and Mahler’s 4th Symphony. Since its inception in 2001, this orchestra has provided enrichment for accomplished young…

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Astana, Kazakhstan, July 24th 2017 – The names of the 14 finalists of Placido Domingo’s Operalia became known today. The competition is held within the framework of the EXPO-2017 program under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan. According to the results of the semi-finals, 14 contestants passed to the finals: the soloist of the Astana Opera, laureate of numerous international competitions, magnificent soprano Maria Mudryak (Kazakhstan), Boris Prýgl (bass-baritone, Czech Republic), Davide Giusti (tenor, Italy), Sooyeon Lee, So Young Park (sopranos), Leon Kim (baritone, Republic of Korea), Adela Zaharia (soprano, Romania), Vlada…

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I spent a morning with the great baritone in his Berlin home a couple of years before he died. Fischer-Dieskau was in morose mood. His wife Julia was out teaching, he told me twice, seeming to resent her absence. ‘I did too much,’ he confessed, regretting his dominance in Lieder, a field in which he covered not just German song but English, Russian and French. Still, sometimes too much is not enough. The present release is a 1989 duet recital he gave with his wife and the pianist Robert Höll at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, expecting that it would be…

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