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Volume 11 Issue 8 - May 2006

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Choral
  • Singers
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Concerts
  • Arts
  • Repertoire

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continued from page 14 we had worse moments, in a concert that we did together when I had to hold him up physically. But we got along really well. He was a wonderful gentleman - I have nothing but good things to say about him. For me listening to Luciano was like listening to Callas. Both had this connection to both the words and the music, and they made them inseparable. Callas was a great actress, whereas Luciano was not. But I loved listening to him. It was a lesson every time we worked together - I just listened to him.' She encountered Jon Vickers very early in her career. 'I' II never forget the first time I heard Vickers' voice live. It just totally surrounded and grabbed you. It was truly a force of nature, that voice. I was doing the Second Niece in Peter Grimes in Chicago. Vickers was just adorable, though very, very intense. He would take me out for pie and coffee. One day in the middle ofa big rehearsal, everyone was quiet, then suddenly his voice filled the stage, singing "June is busting out all over". I turned absolutely bright red. It was very funny. After the final performance, he said, 'You don't belong in this business." He was telling me to get out while the going was good. He was absolutely right that I never had the personality for the business, but what he didn't realize from the minor part of the Second Niece was that I had the talent. So I didn't follow his advice.' 'What is there about dramatic tenors and Canada? You seem to have cornered the market. The best Pollione I've had is Richard Margison. He's a wonderful singer, and such a sweet man. When we were doing Trovato re at the Met I was just trying to find my voice again after my illness. Richard was so supportive.' Anderson has performed around the world, in lots of strange and wonderful circumstances. 'Baalbeck, in Lebanon, was a fascinating and crazy experience. We were watched all the time. You could see the Hezbollah headquarters just above the ancient ruins - guys with machine guns and tanks all around the place. But it was magical - as I sang Casta Diva in the Roman Temple of Bacchus the moon came up over us. This was just the second year that Baalbeck had been opened after the civil war. An older gentleman came up to me afterwards and said, "Thank you so much for reminding us that we are a civilized people." Things like that move me so much .' 'When the Canadian Opera Company asked me to come to Toronto to do Norma at the Hummingbird, I had heard such terrible things about the O'Keefe Centre that I thought, 'Oh, thank God, it's not in the O'Keefe Centre.' Of course when Anderson arrived in Toronto she soon found out it was the same hall - with a different name. 'I was afraid that it was going to be like singing into a pillow - I've worked in places like that. But they've twigged it so there is a little bit of sound coming back. It isn't that bad. And I am very, very happy with the level of the chorus and the orchestra. The orchestra is wonderful, and the chorus fabulous.' She was dismayed to learn that the the opera company was leaving the hall for good right after her Norma. 'I thought, "What terrible timing."' But Anderson's timing turned out to be brilliant. When she took her curtain call at the final performance, the audience stood en masse. Her thrilling performance perfectly represented the wonderful things they had heard and seen there over the years. Norma was a particularly appropriate finale for the COC before moving to their new house, since Norma was the first opera ever fully staged in Toronto, back in 1853, as Ezra Schabas and Carl Morey point out in Opera Viva. Toronto audiences won't likely be hearing opera in the Hummingbird again. But they certainly left hoping they would be hearing Anderson again. DISCOGRAPHY: Anderson's full discography can be found at her website: http://www.june-anderson.com/junea.htm. Her latest releases, not included there, are: Norma: with Daniela Barcellona, Shin Young Hoon and lldar Abdrazov; Europa Galante Orchestra (on period instruments), Verdi Festival Chorus, conductor Fabio Biondi. TOI( DVD; Daphne: with Birgit Remmert, Roberto Sacca, Scott MacAllister; Orchestra and choir of La Fenice, conductor Stephan Anton Reck. Dynamic CD; Daphne: Upcoming on DVD. FEATURE: FtNEARTOF THE URBAN FESTIVAL: PART ONE WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED JAZZ? by Cathy Riches "What is jazz" is different for everyone. This is particularly evident during patio season when every town and neighbourhood in Ontario seems to have a so-called jazz festival, with styles from blues to flamenco getting stage time. So, with the busy festival season about to commence, we thought it was a perfect time to pop that very question to some prominent festival organizers in town. And who better to start with than saxophone player, Cuban-jazz bandleader and one of the founders of a new festival/educational organization called "Art of Jazz", Jane Bunnett. (Our cover art is based on a photo of her from the sleeve of 2006 Juno award winning CD Radio Guantanamo, an album that brings the Cuban and New Orleans influences in her music into always adventuresome synthesis.) "Jazz is freedom. Once you learn the beautiful language of jazz you have the freedom to totally express yourself. Jazz is soul. It's North America's most original art form. It's a strong powerful music that combines the music of the streets with gospel and blues, dance music.. .all with elegance and sophistication. Jazz is joy. It's the sound of happiness. The art of jazz ties us together as a community in a spiritual way." The "but is it really jazz?" question isn't an issue for her. "We've always tried to support a variety of musicians. Larry and I meet musicians all the time while traveling and love to be able to bring them here to play and workshop. Everybody is linked. There's a connection between all musicians." ("Larry" is husband, irrepressible trumpeter Larry Cramer. Art of Jazz's directorship is Larry, Jane, pianist/educator Howard Rees, and - the group's president- jazz and marketing veteran Bonnie Lester. Among the people who will "travel here to play" pianist Hank Jones, alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, tap dancer Jimmy Slyde, bassist Earl May and drummer Leroy Williams. All will gather as part of an evening celebrating the work of New York jazz master (and Howard Rees' mentor, Barry Harris, of "bebop bible" fame. It's the kind of mix where accidents are bound to happen. And that too is the art of jazz.) Bill King, Musical Director of the Beaches Jazz Festival, musician, writer and broadcaster: "True jazz is pop music of the 20s, 30s and 40s. Jazz today is a hybrid of many things from blues - Latin - classical - world sounds. It's about dynamic rhythm patterns, exotic harmonies, improvisation and individualism. It can be rooted in any of the above from blues to world. Jazz can swing or it can be free of meter. It can come from the most pained regions of the soul or from the most calculating zones of the brain. At times it can be demanding of the ears, at others, inhabit the body. Jazz festivals pretty much embrace many kinds of contemporary sounds - absent hard rock, alternative rock, rap, and country. Blues, gospel, Latin and rhythm and blues are all family. A pure jazz festival would draw small numbers reflective of the minimal record sales." Last, from Toronto (Downtown) Jazz Festival Musical Director and WholeNote colleague, Jim Galloway we get this bit of pith: "It is pretty well impossible to give a short definition of jazz as it exists today. It used to be simple - one was either a traditionalist or a modernist - a mouldy fig or a bopper, but now the umbrella has become so large that it shelters a huge array of music and lifestyle applications. Perhaps Duke Ellington had the right idea - he stopped using the word in 1940!" (More on TD Toronto Jazz and "the Beach" next issue.) Art of Jazz runs May 17th-21st The Beaches Jazz Festival is July 21st- 30th. Toronto Jazz Festival is June 23rd - July 2nd. www .artofjazz.org www.beachesjazz.com www.tojazz.com If you would like to weigh in on the "What Is?" discussion, please send your thoughts to cathyr@thewholenote.com. 16 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM MAY 1 - ) UNE72006

Quoolibet by Allan Pu Iker 'Treat every concert as if nobody knows you exist' Conductor, Gerald Fagan I wanted to talk to a "choral person" about choral music, music education and the state of music in general this month. And I also wanted to follow up on the theme of music-making in Southern Ontario, outside Toronto. So, who better to talk to than Gerald Fagan, a 40 + year veteran of music teaching (high school and community college) and artistic entrepreneurial ism (founder and director of three organizations, the Gerald Fagan Singers, the London Fanshawe Chorus and the Concert Players Orchestra)? His wife Marlene, in addition to being general manager of all three organizations is also the accompanist of the two choirs. They have become pillars of strength in the choral community and a source of inspiration to many colleagues and former students and choristers. This together a month long celebration of women in the arts in London. This will directly appeal to 51 % of the population. At Christmas we always invite a children's choir to perform with us, and the children's families all attend and perhaps come back for other concerts as well . It is also important to go where the people are, not to stay in one concert hall and expect everyone to come to you. We have recently done concerts at St. Joseph's Convent, which in turn invited the local community to come, at Or Shalom Synagogue and at St. Peter's Basilica. Perhaps most importantly, we treat every concert as if nobody knows that we exist; we promote every concert energetically on radio and in the press and sell tickets ourselves. We break our butts to get the word out! How has music teaching in the pubsummer Gerald will conduct the Ontario Youth Choir for the first time since 1992 with Marlene as accompanist. How has the choral scene changed since your career began in the mid nineteen sixties? GF: The universities have done a fine job of graduating kids with good basic choral conducting technique. Many of these people after graduation want either to conduct or sing in a professional or semi-professional choral ensemble. This has led to the growth of many fine programs in churches and communities. There is probably about five times as much choral talent today as there was when I was young. There are now high schools for the arts, something that didn't exist in the sixties, where typically a student will get instruction in voice, strings and keyboard every day . The great influx of immigrants into Canada has also expanded our horizons: for example, in a recent concert my choir performed music from twenty-two countries in the original languages, in which we were coached by choir members from those countries. ls your audience dying off or is it renewing itself? GF: T he key to renewing and strengthening your audience base is innovative programming. If you keep doing the same thing over and over it's like always having the same art in an art gallery, and people stop coming. Next season we are putting M AY 1 - ) UN E 7 2006 lie schools changed? In the sixties there were music specialists teaching singing in the public elementary schools. In 1963 I took a job as the vocal music teacher in the high school in Listowel Ontario. All the feeder schools had music specialists and were sending me kids who knew how to sing and were enthusiastic. I had hundreds of kids. One class had over ninety! That wouldn't happen today, because specialists were eliminated in the late sixties. On the other hand today practically every community these days has a children's choir, which was not the case then, giving their members great musical experience. CONTINUES NIGEL NORTH ~TM,\.....,.. ... his melodies sing out clearly and with such limpid charm that they're irresistible ... - GLOBE& MAIL 1+1 ~=- ,:::;:,~ Canada WWW.THEWHOLEN OTE.COM rn8>inf qnia 1oronLo N U R H AN ARMA N M USIC DIRECTOR Toronto's Premier Chamber Orchestra 2006-2001 Masterpiece Series featuring Sinfonia Toronto with international soloists and conductors Saturdays, 8 pm, Grace Church-on-the-Hill , 300 Lonsdale Rd BEETHOVEN'S WORLD Oct 7 Richard Raymond, Pianist f. CHAN KA-NIN The Land Beautiful ~i BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 /}£. SHOSTAKOVICH Quartet No. 1 orchestra/version BEETHOVEN Grosse Fugue AUTUMN COLOURS Nov 18 Jesus Amigo, Conductor Angela Park, Pianist, Etsuko Kimura, Violinist CHAUSSON Concerto for Violin and Piano HARRY FREEDMAN Fantasy and Allegro MOZART Quintet K614 orchestral version n ""ii'll...,rn CHRISTMAS FANCIES Dec 9 Floortje Gerritsen, Violinist Ballet Espressivo FEBRUARY HEATWAVE Feb 3 Giancarlo De Lorenzo, Conductor Antonio di Cristofano, Pianist HEALEY WILLAN Poem CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 FUCHS Serenade WINTER DREAMS March 10 Julian Milkis, Clarinetist CORELLI Christmas Concerto MOZART Violin Concerto No. 2 ANDRE PREVOST Scherzo TELEMANN Don Quixote Suite GADE Children's Christmas Eve ...... __ ; BRAHMS Clarinet Quintet JEAN COULTHARD A Winter's Tale SHOSTAKOVICH Quartet No. 11 orchestral version SPRING SONGS April 14 Rui Massena, Conductor ' Mario Carbotta, Flutist LISZT Angelus! MICHAEL CONWAY BAKER Flute Concerto MERCADANTE Flute Concerto BEETHOVEN Serenade SUNSHINE May 5 Aline Kutan, Soprano BRIAN CHERNEY Illuminations , BRITIEN Les illuminations · · .• ~ DVORAK Sextet, orchestral version .. ·}!'" Series: 9 adult, 9 senior, student & 16-29 Buy at www.sinfoniatoronto.com or 416-499-0403

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