Editorial (April-May 2022)

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

Welcome to the April/May 2022 issue of La Scena Musicale, which hopefully represents our return to normalcy after two years of the pandemic. Since our February/March issue, COVID restrictions have been relaxed and in most jurisdictions across Canada, concert halls are allowed to return to 100 per cent capacity (see our update on page 9). The big question is whether things are moving too quickly and if audiences are ready to return in numbers.

As we go to press, with a looming sixth wave, La Scena Musicale advocates that masks should still be worn indoors at all times. Please check our website for the latest news.

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CMIM 2022 Voice

The April/May issue celebrates the singing voice (26 pages) and is timed to coincide with the 2022 voice edition of the Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM) which runs from May 31 to June 9. Our 10-page coverage includes a five-page section of profiles to help you follow the 32 international candidates. As in the past, this year, using publicly available videos, La Scena’s voice experts (Justin Bernard, Vivianne Jeanson-Delorme, Adrian Rodriguez and myself) listened to all participants to give our prediction of the podium winners. We were unanimous with our first two choices for both the Aria and Art Song Divisions, and each panellist added their third choice.

Back in 2018 at the last CMIM dedicated to voice, our predictions were spot on, including selecting American John Brancy to win the Art Song Division; in this issue, we catch up with him about his path since victory. New contributor Gianmarco Segato speaks to CMIM judge Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka on what the jury looks for.

Our English cover features American tenor Matthew Polenzani, while the French cover story showcases American soprano Nadine Sierra. We also hear from Canadian sopranos Karina Gauvin and Florie Valiquette.

Just last month, conductor and educator Iwan Edwards spoke about the St. Lawrence’s 50th anniversary. His sudden death on March 4 was remembered on social media by the legions of choristers he mentored. Iwan supported La Scena over the years on our board and as a regular donor. See page 32 for my tribute to him as a conductor. As we went to press, I learned of the death of my high-school music teacher Violet Grant-States, whom I discovered was the first black woman admitted to a professional orchestra in Canada.

This issue also includes our annual camp guide. And as always, we offer reviews of interesting classical and jazz recordings. Our events calendar will keep you informed of the live and virtual events in Quebec and Ontario. To stay up to date, please visit our online calendar at mySCENA.org.


It’s hard not to be affected by the horrors of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has captivated the attention of the world for the last five weeks. Music has been a source of hope and resilience, from performances of the Ukrainian anthem to the viral video of seven-year-old Amelia Anisovych singing “Let it go!”  The music community has mobilized with benefit concerts.

However, when politics and culture mix, the issue becomes complex, and many organizations are grappling with the situation. The cancellation of Putin supporters Valery Gergiev and Anna Netrebko is justified. However, when Honens revoked the invitation of six Russian contestants, the backlash from the musical community caused them to reverse their decision. OSM’s cancellation of 20-year-old pianist Alexander Malofeev seemed an overreaction given that no sanctions are levied against Russian hockey players in the West. In a Letter to the Editor, Dr. Nadia Demko submitted her thoughts on Russian Appropriation of Ukrainian Culture. It’s too long for our print issue, but well worth a read on our website.

Mother’s Day Celebration

Fresh off the overwhelming success of our Singing Valentines in February (see article on page 46), we are continuing our personalized serenades with our second Mother’s Day Celebration. This includes a concert on May 6. Serenades offered by our expanded roster of 30 singers will be delivered on May 7 and 8. We will continue to share 50 per cent of donations with the musicians. Visit mySCENA.org

Subscription and Donation Drive

The pandemic is taking a toll on publishing. Most of our advertisers cancelled or postponed, while glossy paper prices have increased six times in the last 16 months, which explains the smaller page count of this issue. But even so, in 2022, we aim to offer even more content, and we will be introducing a new column, Highlights, on our website to curate interesting feature articles and interviews. We hope you will consider supporting our magazine through a donation and/or join our fundraising committee by contacting us at [email protected].

Because of the pandemic, we had to shift from street distribution to home delivery. Many of you are holding a free sample issue for the first time. We hope we have sparked your interest with our passionate team of writers and editors. To make sure you continue to receive the magazine at home, please become a subscriber or give a subscription to someone special. It makes an ideal gift for moms or an artist. Our subscription price will go up on June 1.

As always, La Scena Musicale maintains a vigorous presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The website offers new resources almost daily. Pandemic or no pandemic, the arts will thrive. As will La Scena Musicale.

Have a great musical and artistic spring!


6    Editorial
8    Industry News
10    2020 Opus Awards
10    Sorel-Tracy: a double anniversary
12    Lotte Brott
14    La Nef
14    Jean Lesage
15    Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
16    Mozart Requiem Conducted by Bernard Labadie
17    FTA 2022: Recognizing Change
18    Festival Classica 2022
20    Kristian Alexander: Kindred Spirits Orchestra
22    New Music Concert
24    Matthew Polenzani
28    Nadine Sierra
30    Vigiles by Voces Boreales
30    Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
32    Iwan Edwards (1937 – 2022)
33    Le Chœur des enfants de Montréal
34    Karina Gauvin
35    Florie Valiquette
36    CMIM 2022: A Human Adventure
37    CMIM 2022: Adrianne Pieczonka
38    CMIM 2022: Our Predictions
40    CMIM 2022: Profiles
45    John Brancy: Life After CMIM
46    Singing Valentines
47    Mother’s Day Celebration
48    Murderous Mothers
50    Camp Guide
52    Did you know…?
45    New Releases
56    CD Reviews
59    Why Record a Demo?
60    Jazz
62    National Calendar

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


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