Browsing: La Scena Online

Conductor Agnes Grossmann (Photo courtesy of TSMF)Summer has traditionally been a quiet time musically in Toronto, with the opera, symphony and ballet all in hiatus. The little bit that were available – like the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Ontario Place and the Canadian Opera Company’s Altamira Harbourfront Concerts, have long been consigned to history. Music-starved Torontonians, myself included, have had to venture out of town for our musical fix, to places like Elora, Parry Sound, Campbellford, Sharon, Niagara for example. While many of us continue to do that, those who would rather stay in town can still experience great music…

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LA ROULOTTE AU PAYS DU MAGICIEN D’OZ THÉÂTRE LA ROULOTTEDU 30 JUIN AU 24 AOÛT Saviez-vous que le Théâtre La Roulotte a été fondé en 1953 par Paul Buissonneau, à la demande de la Ville de Montréal, dans l’objectif d’initier les jeunes aux joies du théâtre à la belle saison et dans les parcs de la ville? Devenue une tradition respectée, la Roulotte offre de plus aux finissants de l’École nationale de théâtre – comédiens, décorateurs ou professionnels de la production – l’occasion de se mesurer une première fois au milieu professionnel. Il faut surtout savoir que le Théâtre La…

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This Wednesday is the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Gustav Mahler, who was born in Kaliste, Bohemia on July 7, 1860. His late-Romantic musical idiom was a link between the Romantic Era and the modernism to come later. His music was under-appreciated during his lifetime, but it underwent a revival starting mid 20th century. Today his symphonies and his songs are considered a cornerstone of the standard repertoire. To remember this important anniversary, orchestras around the world are programming Mahler, and special celebrations are taking place this week in Austria and Hungary. Our own TSO is unfortunately…

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By Frank Cadenhead Wagner as compelling dramatist? Who knew? The wordy, inflated and repetitive tales we are so accustomed to were nowhere to be seen in the new and revelatory production by Richard Jones of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürenburg with Cardiff’s Welsh National Opera. This Meistersinger boasted an enjoyable cast that would be envied in Vienna, New York, Berlin, London or Paris, led by the grand Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel as Hans Sachs. Terfel only seems to grow as an artist. After his definitive Don Giovanni at the Verbier Festival last July, his Hans Sachs could be a model…

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by Paul E. RobinsonSummer FestivalsRound Top Festival Institute, 2010Never underestimate the dreams of a concert pianist – especially those of an adopted son of Texas! Van Cliburn, you say? Yes, he had an impossible dream and realized it when he won the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958, but there is another, lesser-known, Texas pianist who dreamed big and succeeded; James Dick, who was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, attended the University of Texas, and has lived in Texas ever since, built his own concert hall and music festival, in one of the least likely places – Round Top,…

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This Sunday, July 4, is Stephen Foster’s birthday. He was born on July 4, 1826 in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, and died in poverty at only 37 in New York on January 13, 1864. Considered the Father of American Song, Foster had a melodic inspiration second to none. One has to have a heart of stone not to be moved by his songs the likes of Beautiful Dreamer, My Old Kentucky Home, Old Folks At Home, and many more. To remember the birthday of this great song writer, I have chosen Old Folks At Home, sung by another great American, soprano Rosa…

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Die Walkure Act 3 Final Scene with Mark Delavan (Wotan) and Nina Stemme (Brunnhilde) Photo: Cory WeaverBy Joseph K. SoSan Francisco Opera is reputed to be the second largest opera company in the U.S. in terms of the number of productions, budget, and attendance figures. When it comes to casting, it is decidedly world class, with some of the best singers today on its roster. I’ve just had the pleasure of catching SFO’s summer season, with its interesting offerings of Die Walkure, Faust, and La fanciulla del West. SFO’s Walkure, the second installment of its upcoming Ring Cycle next June,…

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On June 16, 2010, Canada lost one of its greatest singers, contralto Maureen Forrester, after a long battle with dementia. She was just weeks short of her 80th birthday. In her prime, the Forrester voice was a force of nature, a sound of opulence and depth of expression. Here is Forrester singing ‘Erbarme dich’ from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Its overwhelming melancholia, combined with the superb voice of Forrester, touch the soul. *** Le 16 juin 2010, le Canada a perdu l’une de ses grandes cantatrices, la contralto Maureen Forrester, décédée après une longue lutte contre la démence. Elle aurait eu…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehA man two seats away shouted “Bravo Beethoven” into the auditorium. A moment earlier, another man nearby jumped up with his hands in the air, the way Swiss soccer fans did when their team beat Spain in the FIFA World Cup earlier this week.Victory. Such was the joy generated by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, the Choral performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with soloists and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.In their final program of the season, music director Peter Oundjian and the TSO are throwing a three-night bash of the mighty Beethoven Ninth, which contains one of the…

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June 15th is the birthday of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, who was born in 1843. He is Norway’s most famous composer, and best known for his Piano Concerto in A Minor, Peer Gynt Suite and his piano miniatures. For us vocal fans, he sadly didn’t compose any opera, but he did write some marvelous songs. To celebrate his birthday, I’ve picked his Solveig’s Song from Peer Gynt, sung by Norwegian soprano Marita Solberg. The orchestration is so transparent and evocative that every time I hear to this, I have the imagery of the Norwegian fjords! Solberg sings this as beautifully…

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