Browsing: Opera

Quebec conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin leads the Rotterdam Philharmonic at Roy Thomson HallPhoto: Marco BorggreveToronto classical music lovers rejoice – your cups truly runneth over this week! The opera and the symphony are both in full swing, plus there are a number of special events, including several eminent international artists in town for recitals and workshops. For me, the highest profile visitor this week is Quebec wunderkind Yannick Nezet-Seguin who is making a stop at Roy Thomson Hall, this time with his own band, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, as part of their North American Tour. The single performance takes place on…

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Georgian mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili as CarmenPhoto: Teatro della Scala, MilanoThe big news for Toronto opera fans this week is the arrival of Georgian mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili to sing the last four performances of Carmen at the Canadian Opera Company (Feb. 17, 20, 23, 27). Only 25 years old, Rachvelishvili was plucked out of the La Scala young artists program by conductor Daniel Barenboim to sing the title role of Carmen that opened the La Scala season last December 7. Despite the incredible pressure, Rachvelishvili received favourable notices and a well deserved ovation from a highly critical opening night audience. While…

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Photos (t.) Rainer Mockert(b.) Brooks RileyIt may come as a surprise to many that the august art form of grand opera is a “growth industry” these days. In Toronto for example, the Canadian Opera Company reports that attendance last season was an extremely impressive 99.4% capacity. There is also a concomitant increase of operas captured live for showing in movie houses or at home on DVD. The Met in HD showing of Carmen in January set an attendance record worldwide. While classical music sales constitute an ever-shrinking segment of overall record sales, and studio recordings of operas have all but…

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Friday, March 6, 2009 This Week in Toronto (Mar. 7 – 13) Nicole Cabell’s Debut Disc on Decca. Cabell sings a recital at Roy Thomson Hall on Sunday March 8. (Photo: Decca Records) With the weather finally warming up this weekend, it’s time to come out of hibernation and sample some of the music around town. This Saturday at the Cineplex movie houses, we have a continuation of the Met in HD season with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This production is significant in the history of the Met Opera in more ways than one. It ushered in the Peter Gelb era…

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The road to the Metropolitan Opera stage can take many twists and turns, as in the case of Canadian tenor Richard Margison. At 47, Margison has now become the Metropolitan Opera’s tenor of choice for the lirico-spinto repertoire. The key to his success has been careful progress backed by fierce determination, fine motivation for any young musician. Adopted when he was one week old into a musical family (a request of his birth mother), Margison credits Canada’s choral tradition for his early involvement in music. His father was a violist with the Victoria Symphony and his mother is a piano teacher.…

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The Singing World’s Golden Couple# ##by Norman Lebrecht / February 16, 2000 THE Alagnas are splitting up, one hears. Word of their separation has been spreading like greenfly on the musical grapevine. My date to see the celebrated lovebirds gets changed at the last minute to separate interviews, two months apart. Angela Gheorghiu sits alone before Christmas on a sofa in Chelsea, Roberto Alagna confronts me in February across a Mayfair coffee table. A less prudent ornithologist might be tempted to give credence to the rumours of a rift. Totally false, of course. For the record, Angela Gheorghiu, 34, and…

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Why artists have a duty not to ostracise Austria by Norman Lebrecht / February 10, 2000 TO boycott or not to boycott? That is the burning question. Whether to ostracise Jörg Haider’s Austria until it returns a government we can approve of is one of those conflicts of conscience and self-interest that bring out the best and worst in cultural leadership. Gérard Mortier has led the exodus, resigning this week a year early as artistic director of the Salzburg Festival and precipitating instant withdrawals from a leading sponsor and conductor. More painful is the loss of Betty Freeman, who helped…

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Domingo goes solo There could be a new lease of life for the aging tenor, says Norman Lebrecht ON Sunday afternoon, Placido Domingo did something different. In front of a packed Carnegie Hall, with Daniel Barenboim at the piano, Domingo sang a solo recital for only the third time in his life. The first was last spring in Berlin, the second last week in Chicago. Is this a trend, or just making amends? When Domingo started singing 40 years ago in Mexico City there were two-and-a-half career options for a good-looking tenor. He could sing opera; he could do recital…

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Can he see off the gremlins? Disaster has dogged the new Royal Opera House. But closure is not an option, says boss Michael Kaiser. Norman Lebrecht reports LET’S face it: nothing works. The London Eye is glazed over, the Jubilee Line to the Dome keeps stalling and the Royal Opera House can hardly raise a curtain without having to make an apology. So far, the great British public have displayed high forbearance and the spirit of the Blitz. Many are aware that any new theatre crawls with ghosts and gremlins. It took a dozen years to get all systems working…

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Originally scheduled for February 8th and postponed due to illness, Galina Gorchakova finally showed up to make her long-awaited Toronto debut this evening in Roy Thomson Hall, before an enthusiastic audience. Wearing a black velvet gown with bouffant sleeves, tight bodice and a flowery lace skirt on top, and with her black hair pulled tightly back in a bun, her alabaster skin adorned with extravagant but tasteful jewellery, the only word one can use to describe her appearance is “stunning”. There is a slightly old-fashioned air to her “look”, as if she had just been transported to a musical salon…

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