8 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 3 - November 2004

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On OPERA by Christopher

On OPERA by Christopher Haile 2000, Toronto was given a taste primarily of its aural component as part of the Music Toronto Series at the Jane Mallett Theatre. The work complete with its full theatrical component was not unveiled until summer this year. Constantinople is, of course, the former name for the city now called Istanbul and was itself the new name for the old city of Byzantium. In Hatzis's work "Constantinople" becomes a symbol for cultural convergence and diversity, a place, according to the pro­ South Korea, where it was chosen last year as the grand finale of a year-long celebration of 40 years of Canadian-Korean diplomatic relations. It was so popular it broke the record at the Seoul Arts Centre for most single tickets sold in a single day for its final performance. Making his debut in the title role for the Toronto run is Italian-American baritone Michael Chioldi, whose many awards include winner in 1995 of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. Other performers are tenor Colin Ainsworth (Don Ottavio), soprano Peggy Kriha-Dye (Donna Elvira). bass Olivier Laquerre (Leporello), soprano Nathalie Paulin (Zerlina), soprano Jackalyn Short (Donna Anna), baritone Curtis Sullivan (Commendatore and Masseto) and Artists of Atelier Ballet. Renowned British conductor Andrew Parrott conducts the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Atelier 's Don Giovanni: Jeannette Zin gg gramme notes, "where Many frequent opera-goers will Moscow, circa 1937, was the site and Curtis Sullivan/ Photo: Michael East and West, Islam Hudson (Elgin Theatre, Nov ember 2004) and have seen Puccini's one-act Gianni Schicchi many times. It is the gene Onegin. The Bolshoi Opera's of the first full recording of Eu­ Christianity, . monop h ony an d polt's 1wt often in Toronto that jive op- lyphony, improvisation and pre­ single comic opera in Puccini's performance spanned 40 78rpm 1918 trilogy of one-acters known disks and involved two alternating eras open in the same week, buJ that's compositional control, coexist as II Trittico. Toronto last saw Schicchi in 1996 in a COC production this first Onegin became available conductors. In the postwar'LP era, exactly what happens during the sec- peacefully, creatively challenging ond week of November this year. and complementing each other that paired it with I Pagliacci. In on the Soviet Melodiya label. The Beginning November 10 is Con- without stepping on each other's the work Schicchi impersonates a quality of Melodiya's transfer was stantinople presented by Tapestry toes". dead man in order to change his the sonic equivalent of a Lada. New Opera Works, the Toronto As befits a subject with more will to Schicchi's own benefit. Then the Dumbledore of opera premiere of a music. theatre work than 2600 years of multicultural hisby Christos Hatzis that received toi-y the nine-movement work com­ The University of Toonto Opera Division has had the clever idea led the 1937 Onegin on behalf of Testoration, Ward Marston, tackrave reviews at its world premiere bines a wide range of styles-from of linking this opera with another the Naxos Historical label. We at Banff this summer. On Novem- a Byzantine and Serbian Easter also on the theme of death, Gustav ber 11 there are two openings. The chants to Balkan dances, Cretan Holst's Savitri from 1908. Based University of Toronto Opera Di- folk song, tangos, jazz and pop. on a story from the Hindu epic vision presents a double bill of Puc- Lighting, choreography and projeccini 's Gianni Schicchi and Gustav tions of both cinematic and com­ "Mahabarata". the story tells of Savitri, who meets Death on his Qgical Holst's rarely seen one-act opera puter-generated images by Jacques way to claim Savitri's husband. Savitri. The other opening on No- Collin, long associated with Robvember 12 is Opera Atelier's pro- ert Lepage, create the theatrical Savitri, however, has a stratagem cJfourneyftom to save him. duction of Mozart's Don Giovan- component following a script deni, not seen in Toronto since 1996. veloped by Hatzis and well-known catBzart We are used to the notion-of "chamber opera" these days, but Then on November 13 Royal Op- Canadian playwright John Murrell. to in its day the work was. considered ,...,. Cl • ).E) era Canada makes its first foray You can get a glimpse of what lV!LUSlC al S revolutionary since it is scored for into Russian repertoire with Tchaik- "Constantinople" will look like by an orchestra of only twelve. ovsky's Eugene 011egin opening at visiting the beautifully designed An outlandish Performances run November 11- the Living Arts Centre in Missis- website at Ninety Minute 14 at the MacMillan Theatre (416- sauga for five performances before -chatzis/Constantinople.htm. The 978-3744). Operatic Cabaret Review moving to the Toronto Centre for performance will feature the r---------..., the Arts for four more. Since these Gryphon Trio and singers Maryem at the 1TRYPTYCH1 productions span the 18th to the Toller and Patricia O'Callaghan. Canada's Passionate Advocate of the Vocal Arts Heliconian Theatre Hall 21 st century. with a bit of planning Performances runs November 10- I I 35 Hazelton Ave a person could turn the week into a 13 at the Premiere Dance Theatre 1AVDITIONS - NOV. 13th I miniature opera festival. (416-973-4000). 1 Winter Opera Workshop I October 30, Nov. 26, 27 Dec.10, 17 31 Moving from the 21st century to I Adamo's "Little Women" I The most unusual of the four openings is Constantinople. lt is de­ . the 18th, Opera Atelier will be presenting its acclaimed commedia More Info Call: Call 416-927-9800 I I scribed as "a multimedia music theatre work for mezzo-soprano, Mid­ I 416 485 8911 / I I dell 'arte-influenced version of Barbara Goodbody For Reservations and Info Mozart's.Don Giovanni from November 11-21 at the Elgin Theatre : Program runs Jan. 3 • March 8, 2005 : I dle Eastern singer (alto), violin, Presented by violoncello, piano and electronic (416-872-5555). The production audiovisual media". In October Edward F ..:lm :=!t:: Whiting c.!".::u.9.e:r.:11..,-1 .. .!;. has returned from a tour to Seoul, I I ._ _________ ... 36 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM NOVEMBER 1 • DECEMBER 7 2604 OPERA at Horne by Phil Elzrensaft The Poet and the Don: Restorations Steal the Show In this age of 4, 5, 6 and now 7- channel amplifiers, it is comforting that the sheer musicality of great mono recordings, abetted by "'iise computer-driven legerdemain, can sometimes trump all those towers of sound. Just such trump cards are at our disposal while preparing for this month's performances of Eugene Onegin by Royal Opera Canada, and Don Giovanni by Opera Atelier. These restored mono treasures deserve a place of honor alongside modern recordings and DVDs.

now have more than a hint of the pioneering Onegin's outstanding musicality. The audiovisual complement to the 1937 Bolshoi Onegin is a straightforward choice. Petr Weigl's masterful on-location filming of Onegin is one of the all-time lush representations of opera on the silver screen. He employed attractive young Czech actors to lip-sync tracks by the not-so-svelte singers on Georg Solti's landmark Onegin recording for Decca. Lip-synching is, more often than not, out of synch. Not here. Weigl also had the chutzpah, as I wrote in a previous column, to excise one-fifth of Tchaikovsky's score in order to get things down to typical feature length. In principle, disaster. In the hands of such a fine director whose love for opera is palpable, the cuts work far better than one might expect. On to Don Giovanni. Contrary to the impression given by an ever-growing Naxos Historical opera catalogue, there are busy restoration wizards besides Marston. One such wizardess, Maggi Payne, is alive and well at Music and Arts' Berkeley, California, studio . This creative, nonprofit label's purview ranges from new music through class act historical restoration . Payne, a composer and performer of electronic music, is the one who works their restoration magic. This time around, Payne offers a masterful Don Giovanni conducted by Wilhelm Furtwiingler at the 1953 Salzburg Festival. I accidentally encountered this performance when purchasing Furtwiingler's famous 1950 La Scala Siegfried on the defunct Virtuoso label. Upon opening the case, I discovered the 1953 Don Giovanni CDs instead, initially fumed, then listened, and held on to the Don. I'm even happier with the improved sound of Music and Arts' mid-priced set. Furtwiingler also filmed his Salzburg Don in 1954, using mostly the same cast, with notable exceptions. Above all, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as Donna Elvira was replaced by Lisa Della Casa. The performance is almost up to that of 1953. Deutsche Gratnmophon has done a fine job re-editing both the visuals and sound for DVD. At first, the stage direction and mannerisms seem stiff and stilted. This reaction alerts us to just how much operatic performance norms for standard repertoire have changed since World War II. should also imbue modesty. Fifty years from now, viewers will likely have parallel reactions to our stage manners. Perhaps even more pronounced: they'll wonder why people performed Mozart in black leather motorcycle jackets. It Then again, maybe they'll do Mozart in space suits. CONTINUES NEXT PAGE OPERA l·S Courses & Tours 2004-2005. with Iain Scott David Pomeroy in concert Thurs. Nov. 25th 8:00 pm Tickets: Markham Theatre for Performing Arts With Mezzo Soprano Marion Newman as Carmen, Tenor David Pomeroy as Don Jose and Baritone Andrew Tees as Escamilla plus Mirella Tafaj, Denise Williams, Laura Pilarski, Keith Klassen and Michael Meraw. Under the artistic direction of Penelope Cookson and musical direction of Sabatino Vacca with the Opera York Chorus and Orchestra. To order tickets call Markham Theatre at 905-305-7 469 For more information call Opera York at: 905-763-7853 email to or visit Thank you to our sponsors:The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canadian Heritage, York Region Newspaper Group, RBC Financial Group, Miller Thomson, Echo Germanica, lo Specchio, Yamaha Music Gallery Opera in Concert: conrinues in its qt1est to promote repeat performances of our very own works for the lyric stage. A CANADIAN DOUBLE BILL R!om f>lay &ummonma· e'!!! Wilson One-act chamber operas in English that will fascinate and thrill us with their lyricism and poetry. November, 2004 January, 2005 January 15·16 February, 2005 April,2005 June, 2005 Ten Top Tenors Upcoming Operas Weekend Seminar on "Siegfried" The Art of Bel Canto Virgil & Verdi 7 Opera Tour of Northern Italy Alex Pauk, Conductor with members of The Esprit Orchestra Marcel van Neer, Rachel Cleland Ainsworth, Lynne McMurtry, Thomas Fleming Sun. December 5 at 2:30 pm JANE MALLETT THEATRE 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754

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