8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 2 - October 2005

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2005 COURSES What You Must Know About Italian Opera The "top 1 O" Operas A fall weekend seminar Discovering the lesser known Mozart Mozart - The greatest of all opera composers? 2006 COURSES What to listen for in German and French Opera A winter weekend seminar "Gotterdammerung" In Quest of Operatic Dons The Five Key Themes of Wagner's Ring 2006 TOURS 2005-2006 Opera Courses and Opera Tours with Iain Scott 4 weeks 10 weeks weekend Barcelona - Madrid - Seville - Lisbon Berlin - Dresden - Prague - Vienna Vienna - Ludwig's Castles - Munich - Esterhaza - Vienna 5 1 h Annual Verdi's Italy Chautauqua and Gllmmerglass Opera Hammon I Kitchener-Waterloo Opera CHARLES GOUNOD Romeo et Juliette OCTOBER 15, 20 & 22, HAMILTON OCTOBER 28 & 30, KITCHENER WATERLOO Director Kelly Robinson Conductor David Speers Laura Whalen Juliette John Bellemer Romeo Alexander Dobson Mercutio Oct 18- Nov 8 Sept12-Nov21 Nov 12-13 With Rick Phillips of "Sound Advice" 4 weeks Nov 22 - Dec 13 4 weeks Jan 10 - 31 weekend Jan 21-22 4 weeks Feb 14 - Mar 7 week July16-21 At Classical Pursuits March 14 • 28 Aprll 11 - 22 Aprll 22- 29 June 16- July 1 Aug 7-Aug 13 OPERA HAMIL TON & KITCHENER WATERLOO OPERA PRESENT forOS.06 Poyeni Grande November 24 & 26, Hamilton November 25, Kitchener Waterloo The Great singers Recital Series January 22, 2006, Hamilton January 15, Kitchener Waterloo La Traviata April 29, May 4 & 6, 2006 Hamilton May 12 & 14, Kitchener Waterloo Box OFFICE: 905-526-6556 OR 1-800-265-8977 30 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM Back to Ad Index OrERA at Home by Phil Ehrensaft "The most extraordinary range of any human voice I have ever recorded." -Thomas Edison, who personally recorded Cantor Y ossele Rosenblatt Coming from the inventor of the phonograph that captured voices from the Golden Age of Opera, that 's quite a statement. A Golden Age of Jewish cantorial music developed in parallel to that in opera. Both proceeded from the late nineteenth century through World War II. They were intimately tied to the industrial revolution's network of steamships and railways that permitted star singers to reach audiences from Buenos Aires to New York to Moscow. Both were facilitated by mass production of affordable cylinders and then 78 rpm discs. Among the cantors of the Golden Age, Yossele Rosenblatt (1882- 1933) was king, the Caruso of cantorial music. Caruso, in fact, was a welcome guest at Rosenblatt's apartment on 120th St. in New York City . As were Ruffo , Tetrazinni, and Melba. Rosenblatt refused astronomical performance fees from the Chicago Opera and the Metropolitan Opera because he did not think it appropriate for a cantor to perform on stage. Thanks to the efforts of Rabbi Velvel Pasternak, born and raised in Toronto, and a primal force in Jewish musicology, we now have a 3-volume, 6-CD set of 67 selections recorded in Europe and America between 1907 and 1931: The Immortal Yossele Rosenblatt. Rabbi Pasternak located and restored the masters under the sponsorship of the Cantors Assembly. In preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yorn Kippur this month, I've spent splendid hours listening to Volume 2, which focuses on the High Holidays. Highly recommended complements are: I) A biography of Cantor Rosenblatt written by his musician son Henry, an invaluable inside view of the Golden Age, also published by the Cantors Assembly; 2) Pasternak's The Jewish Music Companion, a fine overview with an accompanying CD, published by Tara Music (www Tara is Pasternak' s labour of love for publishing and distributing Jewish music. Contemporary cantorial training typically draws upon the same body of techniques, and often the same teachers, as opera. That was not the case during the Golden Age. A substantial majority of the world's pre-Holocaust Jewish population was located in Eastern Europe, or parts of the New World where Eastern European Jews emigrated en masse. Most adhered to orthodox branches of Judaism where cantors were trained via traditional mentoring, often from father to son or uncle to nephew. Most remarkably, traditional cantorial training produced voices whose aesthetic characteristics corresponded closely to those of formally trained opera singers. Sampling recordings of opera singers and cantors from the Golden and contemporary eras respectively, researchers Rothman, Diaz, and Vincent found more similarities in different genres within the same era than within the same genre before and after World War II. Specifically, they measured vibrato pulse rates, frequency variation of the vibrato pulse above and below the mean, fast Fourier transform (FFT) power spectra and the like. Imitation of prestigious opera singing was not in play . In Western Europe, Jewish liturgical music in Italy was indeed influenced from the late Renaissance onwards by musical developments in the host society, as it was later in Holland. As post-Napoleonic Germany granted formal rights to Jews, and Reform Judaism was created as a response to this opening, there was indeed a decided impact of German art music and Christian liturgy on synagogue music. (For a brilliant example, listen to The Musical Tradition of the Jewish Reform Congregation in Berlin, 1928-30 recordings restored by The Feher Jewish Music Center in Tel Aviv.) Eastern Europe' s ghettos and formally imposed anti-Semitic restrictions were another matter. A Czarist policy of forcing one-third of the Jews to emigrate, converting another third, and killing the remaining third says it all. Independent, parallel vocal developments proceeded from the partic- O CTOBER 1 - N OVEMBE R 7 2005

ular conditions of Eastern Europe's ghettos. This was downright surprising. Vocal music, accompanied by an orchestra, was central to Temple ceremonies in ancient Jerusalem. When the Roman army destroyed the Second Temple, rabbis suspended instrumental music in synagogues as an expression of mourning. Music, however, did not disappear. Cantillation, a system of notated accents and rhythms, was used in readings of the Bible. Multiple modes and melodies were created for daily prayers, the Sabbath, holidays and festivals. Over time, the informal selection of men to lead the singing of prayers evolved into a central role for professional cantors, dynasties of cantors really. In the European branch of the Diaspora, this practice accelerated from the sixteenth century onwards. Cantors became more prominent in ceremonies than rabbis. Synagogues competed by hiring star cantors, who would also engage in tours across the Eastern European hinterland. Cantorial singing became high art. As Jewish immigrants established themselves in cities like New York or Toronto, they hired some of the best talent from the Old Country . In the case of Rosenblatt, who came to New York in 1912, they hired the best. Tara's 2-CD set, Masterpieces of the Synagogue: 18 "Golden Age" Cantors, is a good way to hear what got the congregants so excited. In some cases the parallel vocal paths of opera's Golden Age and that of cantorial music became an outright intersection. Although Rosenblatt would not appear on an opera stage, he performed arias and lieder to great critical acclaim in venues like Carnegie Hall. Metropolitan opera stars Jan Peerce (Jacob Pincus Perelmuth) and Richard Tucker (Rubin Ticker) were both cantors. As was the German superstar Joseph Schmidt, who perished in the Holocaust. To end with Toronto opera lore, Josef Shilsky was actually kidnapped at the age of ten by his choirmaster in Eastern Europe, and smuggled into our fair city . He went on to a degree at the Royal Conservatory in 1917, and sang at the San Carlo Opera as well as from the pulpit. TOKONTO Ol'filIBITA ffii Guillermo Silva-Marin General Di rector J\~aftoyarh 4ffiuromss ,c-,:~·"\: ;"' \ of all that is satirically comic and .,·: ~ µ musically effervescent are in for j'( _ir:_::,,~, -r' Gilbert & Sullivan fans and lovers a treat in this concert celebrating England's lyric theatre masters! featuring TOT's Stars Elizabeth Beeler Peter McCutcheon Robert Longo Derek Bate Sunday, November 6, 2005 at 2 pm JANE MALLETT THEATRE Join us for a 4ffibonrss Jartll following the performance! Concert , Party Box Office: 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754 ~ SUBSCRIBE NOW & SAVE! 905-763-7853 ~5-2006 Season Chinese Artists Society of Toronto Oratorio "Song of Eternal Remorse" Xiao Ping HU "Lark Of The Orient" 1~ P!§ iu « E:'tLUJx » "*:1Js:I:,~" ~ z :-tz re1JifliJXu1srn\tV1R.n->¥ . I Soprano: Xiao Ping HU Tenor: Kin Ping MAN Conductor: Alec HOU To order tickets call 905-763-7853 Locations: (SEPAC) St. Elizabeth Perfonning Arts Centre, 525 New Westminster Drive, Vaughan; (MT) Markham Theatre, 171 Town Centre Blvd., Markham Thank you to our sponsors:The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council York Region Newspaper Group, RSC Financial Group, Miller Thomson and Yamaha Music Gallery Saturday, October 15, 2005; 8:00 PM George Western Recital Hall Toronto Centre for the Arts 5040 Yonge Street Ticket fJ~ Ticket Master m ift: 416-872-11 11 f!.!:·1%K±tli.J1I:: www.t Box Office i,!,i~J~: 5040 Yonge Street *:1JY1tt¥tW\'n, 905-946-1489 O CTOBER 1 - N OVEM BER 7 2005 WWW. THEWHOLEN OTE.COM 31 Back to Ad Index

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