Browsing: Vocal

Commissioned by the COC in 2013, Hadrian is composed by acclaimed Canadian-American singer, songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright, with a libretto by award-winning Canadian actor, director and playwright Daniel MacIvor, and staged by Canadian Peter Hinton. The story follows the final days of the gravely ill Roman Emperor Hadrian, consumed by grief and desperate for the truth of the mysterious drowning death of his lover Antinous. On his deathbed, he is visited by two sybils, the late Emperor Trajan and his wife Plotina. Plotina offers him two visions of the past, his first and last nights with Antinous, in exchange…

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The Canadian Opera Company opened its 2018-19 season with a new production of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, originally premiered by the Metropolitan Opera. It has been 10 years since COC last staged Eugene Onegin, and the strength of this production lies in the cast and production team with a strong Canadian presence. The opera which is based on the classic Russian novel-in-verse by Alexander Pushkin tells the story of Onegin, a cynical and jaded urbanite, who rejects the love of the young Tatyana. After killing his friend Lensky, the fiancé of Tatyana’s sister Olga, in a duel that stemmed…

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It was announced today that Matthew Aucoin – “one of the most sought-after young voices in classical music” (Wall Street Journal) – has been named a 2018 MacArthur Fellow. Selected for his extraordinary originality and dedication in his creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction, the composer, conductor, writer, and pianist is one of 25 recipients of this year’s “genius grant.” On learning of the award, Aucoin commented: “When I look at past MacArthur fellows, I’m struck not just by their brilliance but, in so many cases, by their humaneness and wisdom. Claudia Rankine, Peter Sellars, Claire Chase –…

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Three composers are involved in this first co-production between Analekta and the Azrieli Music Prizes: Brian Current and Wlad Marhulets, winners of the 2016 Azrieli Commissioning Competition and Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music, respectively, and the American Lukas Foss. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Steven Mercurio, the choir by Miriam Nmcová. Soloists are soprano Sharon Azrieli, clarinetist David Krakauer and tenor Richard Troxell. In The Seven Heavenly Halls, Current offers his musical vision of the Zohar, the fundamental text of the Kabbalah. Tension in the orchestra, a tumult of voices, mystical flights of fancy and dense textures…

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The Opéra de Montréal has been reaching out to a broader audience over the last few years by staging activities for diehard fans and newcomers alike. The purpose, of course, is to get people better acquainted with this “total” art form, as Wagner once called it, and thus build a wider community of devotees. Among the activities and community initiatives devised by the company to develop awareness are Parlons opéra, préOpera, presentations in schools for the blind and hearing-impaired, and initiatives designed to promote mental health. The good news is that things are working out. Just last year, 14,494 youths…

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True to tradition and confident of success, the Orchestre philharmonique du Nouveau Monde will perform Mozart’s Requiem twice on Nov. 10 under the baton of its own Michel Brousseau. Presented by Mundia Productions, the concerts in Notre Dame Basilica bring together five musical organizations: the Orchestre philharmonique du Nouveau Monde, its choir, the Chanteurs de Sainte-Thérèse, le Chœur Tremblant and the Ottawa Classical Choir. Brousseau has a passion for the Requiem, having conducted it many times. Mozart died while working on it, aged 35. As Brousseau explains, “It’s an unfinished work and we still don’t know for sure what was…

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It happens almost everyday. Someone discovers opera for the first time through a live performance, and it becomes life changing. But it’s not everyday that this passion produces insight into the mysterious and iconic life of La Divina Maria Callas. French filmmaker Tom Volf, whose eclectic background included work as a model and photographer, was a medical student in New York in 2013 when he attended by chance a performance of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda at the Metropolitan Opera. “Joyce DiDonato was singing the lead role, and the combination of music, theatrical and cinematic elements was transformative,” he recalls. “I fell…

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Second prize-winner in 2017 of the Recital Competition of French Art Song at the Classica Festival, soprano Magali Simard-Galdès this year won first prize for her performance of the art songs of Cécile Chaminade, accompanied by Michel-Alexandre Broekaert, who won the pianist’s prize. The Rimouski-born singer and champion of Chaminade is very proud of this feat, winning over the jury in the face of works by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré and Poulenc. Chaminade (1857-1944) was a concert pianist and prolific composer much loved in her time. Simard-Galdès likes her simple and limpid poetry, which lets the musical phrases speak for themselves.…

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Last November was hectic for Markham, ON native Andrea Núñez. The 28-year-old soprano went from competing in the Opera de Montréal’s inaugural young artist competition, Talent 2017, to jumping the very next day into the weeklong Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques. “I was running on coffee,” said Núñez, whose father is Peruvian and mother Chinese. On the stage of Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Talent 2017, Núñez sang a polished “Caro Nome” from Verdi’s Rigoletto. Although I found her interpretation a bit straight, her legato and floating high notes were astounding and set her apart from the rest of the field. So it’s surprising…

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Opera Canada says of mezzo-soprano Simona Genga after winning the Canadian Opera Company’s 2017 Centre Stage Gala and Ensemble Studio Competition that she was reminiscent of a young Stephanie Blythe with “a vocal plushness, amplitude and range mature beyond her years.” “I was first introduced to music when I was still a baby,” Genga says. “… [My mother] used to play Baby Mozart CDs for me which I also loved listening to when I was a kid! “I grew up loving to entertain people, whether by making up stories, plays, songs or poems. After being encouraged to try various activities…

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