7 years ago

Volume 15 Issue 8 - May 2010

  • Text
  • Toronto
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GRAND RIVERBAROQUEFESTIVALBlas from the Pas!Three days of music in thecountryside with dancing,feasting and fencing! GrandRiver Baroque Festival Soloists,Jean Stilwell, Aisslinn Nosky,and Viva BiancaLuna Biffi.ayr, ontarioJUNE 18,19 & 20grbf.caBeat by Beat / On OperaCHRISTOPHER HOILEThis year May is the new April. In the past, in Southern Ontario,April has seen the most operatic activity of any month ofthe year – but this year, May seems to have taken over that position.This month there are works from the 17th century to the 21st,most fully staged but some in concert format.Dominating the schedule are three works staged by the CanadianOpera Company. The COC’s revival of its 1996 production of Wagner’sThe Flying Dutchman opened on April 24 but continues untilMay 20. Evgeny Nikitin sings the title role, while Julie Makarov isSenta and Mats Almgren is Daland. The original director, ChristopherAlden, directs, and COC music director Johannes Debus con- Maria Stuarda,the 1835 opera by Gaetano Donizetti that premiered only threemonths after his Lucia di Lammermoor. Serena Farnocchia sings thetitle role with AlexandrinaPendatchanska asElisabetta. Stephen Lawlessdirects the 2007 DallasOpera production andAntony Walker conducts.The COC concludesits 2009-10 season withMozart’s Idomeneo since2001. Toronto was treatedto an outstandingIdomeneo from OperaAtelier in 2008, so it willbe interesting to see howthis 2007 productionfrom l’Opéra du Rhin,directed by François deCarpentries, compares.Paul Groves sings thetitles role, with KrisztinaSzabó as Idamante, IsabelBayrakdarian as Iliaand Tamara Wilson asElettra, so memorablyEvgeny Nikitin and Julie Makerovin the COC’s productionof The Flying Dutchman.sung for OA by Measha Brueggergosman. The opera runs from May9 to 29 and is conducted by early music expert Harry Bicket.Three more fully staged works come from smaller companies.Toronto Masque Theatre presents “A Molière Celebration.” In additionto purely spoken comedies, Molière also wrote so-called “comédie-ballets”that included interludes of song and dance often omittedin modern revivals. TMT will present the interludes written by Jean-Baptiste Lully for Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme in 1670 and those writtenby Lully’s rival Marc-Antoine Charpentier for Le Malade imaginairein 1673. Soloists will include sopranos Shannon Mercer andDorothea Ventura, countertenor Richard Whittall, tenor Cory Knightand baritone David Roth. Performances take place at the Al GreenTheatre in the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre from May 12to 15, directed by Derek Boyes and conducted by Larry Beckwith.Visit for details.May will see the world premiere of Dean Burry’s The SecretWorld of Og, adapted from the beloved 1961 children’s book byPierre Berton. The work is a commission by the Canadian Children’sOpera Chorus, and all 200 members of the CCOC will be on stage.As many will know, the story concerns four children who descendthrough a trapdoor into an underground world of mushrooms whosegreen inhabitants can only utter the word “Og.” CCOC artistic directorAnn Cooper Gay will conduct and Joe Ivany will direct. The16 THEWHOLENOTE.COMMay 1 - June 7, 2010

Soprano Neema Bickersteth appears in Stitch.opera runs from May 5 to 9. For more information in the month, from May 26 to 30, Urbanvessel revives itspopular but highly unusual opera Stitch at the Theatre Centre. The45-minute opera, subject of an “On Opera” interview with composerJuliet Palmer and librettist Anna Chatterton in March 2008, is writtenfor three female voices accompanied only by the sound of sewingmachines and concerns the mechanization of women’s work andO’Callaghan and Neema Bickersteth will perform under the directionof Ruth Madoc-Jones. For more information month – Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail on May 7 and CarlMaria von Weber’s Der Freischütz on May 15. Both take place at theCollege Street United Church, 452 College St. See www.operabyrequest.cafor details.Finally, on May 1 and 2 Toronto Operetta Theatre is holding“A Gilbert and Sullivan Extravaganza,” a gala concert of G&Shighlights including high tea. All the funds raised will go to assistTOT’s 2010-11 season. TOT patrons will know that the company wasforced to cancel its production of The Pirates of Penzance last monthin the arts has been the loss of donors and sponsors. TOT was hitparticularly hard when a major sponsor pulled out just before thecurrent season began. The company had to raise emergency fundssimply to stage its second show, Canada’s own operetta, Leo, theRoyal Cadet, a work that TOT’s efforts had rescued from undeservedobscurity. As Canada’s only professional operetta company, as oneof the few in the world that strives to present works from all thenational traditions, and as a company that from the beginning hasshowcased Canadian singers, TOT is a gem that must be preserved.Potential sponsors and donors please take note. Visit www.torontooperetta.comfor more information.Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera. He can becontacted at: 1 - June 7, 2010 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 17

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