Browsing: Classical Music

by Andréanne Venne & Justin Bernard NOVA SCOTIA Maritime Concert Opera Founded in 2003 by Nina Scott-Stoddart, the Maritime Concert Opera Society aims to present works in concert (without staging, sets and costumes) and in original versions, to offer affordable tickets, to promote passion for opera, operetta and musicals as well as supporting culture and artists in Nova Scotia and the Maritimes. www.maritimeconcertopera.com QUÉBEC Maison d’Opéra et de Concerts Since 2014 Sherbrooke’s Maison d’Opéra et de Concerts has been offering high-calibre programming with talented artists with a thriving career in Quebec and abroad, often from the Eastern Townships, but rarely…

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Premiered a little under a century and a half ago, Jacques Offenbach’s operetta La fille du tambour-major was the last in a series of stage works that packed Parisian houses for 20 some years. Simon Fournier, artistic director of the Opéra bouffe du Québec, shared a few of his insights on this work, with which he chose to mark the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. “Staging Offenbach is no piece of cake,” Fournier states at the outset. “Tempos shift all the time. And being a man of theatre, his ­instructions and suggestions have to be ­accounted for in any…

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Since 1976 and its foundation by Alain Nonat, Théâtre Lyrichorégra 20 has been helping young Canadian opera artists pursue their careers. It took time, energy and a lot of travel to build trust between different directors of opera companies and actors. In 1994, a program specifically dedicated to the professional integration of young emerging Canadian singers was set up. This is the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques (JAL), whose goal is also to build bridges with partners from around the world. This is a great source of pride to Alain Nonat. The general and artistic director of Théâtre Lyrichorégra 20 was just…

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Russia and her neighbours remain a rich source of musicality in many categories. Opera fans can confidently add the name of Hibla Gerzmava to the international inventory of A-list sopranos based on what was heard Sunday evening in Koerner Hall. Not that this native of Abkhazia is an unknown quantity. In 1994 she became the first vocalist to win the grand prize of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, and made her Royal Opera House debut more than a decade ago. Next season Gerzmava takes the title role in a new Metropolitan Opera production of Aida. Yet her second Toronto appearance under…

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Tapestry Opera is turning 40 and is celebrating in part by trying out something rare for this inventive Toronto-based company: a revival. “Some people have chatted with me about bringing it back so soon,” Tapestry artistic director Michael Mori said of Rocking Horse Winner, an opera with words by Anna Chatterton and music by Gareth Williams that returns for six performances from April 23 to May 2. “But this is a special thing. It’s a strategic opportunity.” Based on the eponymous short story by D.H. Lawrence, Rocking Horse Winner got good reviews in 2016, plenty of social-media buzz and impressive formal endorsement in…

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He remembers that, in the staging of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle by Robert Lepage, when the women emerge from a bath covered in blood, teenage girls sitting close to the stage reacted very strongly. Oh, my God! “They were like in the cinema! Young people are more open-minded than their elders when it comes to contemporary opera productions,” says Grégoire Legendre, administrative and artistic director of the Opéra de Québec, who has announced his retirement. “A lot of people are very enthusiastic after a performance.” Most of the world’s opera houses face hardships owing to the aging and contraction of their…

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The vocal training of the Canadian baritone Gino Quilico, now 64, was unconventional by any standard. For one and a half years, starting at age 20, Gino studied almost daily with his late father Louis, Canada’s greatest baritone, working only on technique and not singing any repertoire. The lesson plan followed Louis’s Nine Laws immortalized in Jerome Hine’s bestseller Great Singers on Great Singing. Today, Gino is ready to share the wisdom he gleaned from an international career singing beside Pavarotti, Domingo, Alfred Kraus and Mirella Freni, and the lessons from his father in his own Six Rules. One might…

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by Susan Platts Jessye Norman: where can one possibly begin? Be it the soprano, mezzo or alto repertoire, the music of Strauss, Wagner, Berg, Berlioz or Cage, the list goes on and on. Not to mention the spirituals. She always had a commitment to the music and texts that was incomparable, embodying a palette of emotions that reached deep into the soul of the listener. My heart and soul are filled with an abundance of memories. It is deeply moving to have a platform to share them, as a tribute to this most amazing human being, who was a singer, performer and interpreter like no other.…

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Wallis Giunta is the real deal. The Irish-Canadian mezzo-soprano combines a flexible and precise coloratura with a captivating stage presence. Hers is a transcendental talent. An offbeat artist, she has been able to stay true to her idiosyncrasies by using them to grow and explore new frontiers. She is also something of an archetype for a new and difficult-to-categorize opera singer who has eclectic tastes and constantly seeks new ways to communicate with her audience. In October, the energetic redhead was making her debut with the Seattle Opera in the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola. She returns to Canada…

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It has been a while since we last heard soprano Pauline Vaillancourt in Montreal. In fact, it was back in 2000 when she shared the stage with actor Jean Maheux in L’Enfant des glaces, an “electr’opera” that she designed and staged (music by Zack Settel, libretto by Quevedo and de Nerval). It was the ninth production of Chants Libres, the lyric creation company of which the singer is artistic director. To get a chance to hear Vaillancourt sing, you would have to go to Europe since it is there that she has been working with the Italian composer Maurizio Squillante…

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