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Volume 19 Issue 5 - February 2014

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Violin
  • Bloor
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!!Opera Quick PicksWith

!!Opera Quick PicksWith 2014/15 season announcements currently shouldering theirway into the operatic spotlight, it’s important also to keep in sightthe operatic offerings currently onstage. Here’s some of what’s onthis month:The COC presents Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, February 2 to 22,and continues its run of Mozart’s Così fan tutte until the 21st. One dateto mark is February 7, where rising stars from the Ensemble Studiogive their own rendition of Così. The prices are right; the orchestralresources and production values are identical to the main cast production,and it’s worth keeping in mind that three of the four leads inthe main Così cast were themselves members of the Ensemble not toolong ago.For Così fan tutte on a smaller scale, check out the Toronto CityOpera at the Bickford Centre February 12 to March 1, where theyperform the Mozart as well as a run of Bizet’s Carmen February 14 toMarch 2. This is opera by and for the people at its most enthusiastic.Mozart and Bizet are also on Opera by Request’s busy 2014calendar, with Les Pecheurs de Perles on February 8 and DonGiovanni March 7, as well as Donizetti’s Linda di Chamonix onFebruary 15.Opera excerpts are also in store for concertgoers this month, withTapestry Opera’s “Tapestry Songbook” show February 1, featuringsoprano Kristina Szabo and pianist Christopher Foley with emergingartists from their Tapestry 101 workshop. Then on March 6, U ofT’s Thursdays at Noon series also presents excerpts, this time fromBenjamin Britten’s chamber opera Albert Herring.And for a taste of what’s coming to the COC stage next year, visitOpera York on February 27 or March 1 for their performances ofRossini’s The Barber of Seville.Finally, for early opera buffs: Capella Intima/Toronto ContinuoCollective’s performances of Marco da Gagliano’s La DafneFebruary 22 and 23 and VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert’s February 2rendition of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie.The Cunning Little Vixenby Leoš JanáčekTHE GLENN GOULD SCHOOL OPERA 2014WED., MAR. 19 & FRI., MAR. 21, 2014 7:30PMKOERNER HALLUri Mayer, conductorArtists of The Glenn Gould School vocal programperform The Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček,a delightful comic opera about a mischievouslittle fox.TICKETS START AT ONLY !www.performance.rcmusic.ca 416.408.0208273 BLOOR STREET WEST(BLOOR ST. & AVENUE RD.)TORONTOThe CanadianCountertenorHANS DE GROOTIt must be well over 50 years ago (I think I was still an undergraduate)that I heard a recital by the countertenor Alfred Deller. Iremember that the reviewer in the student newspaper was ratherunkind. He said something like: “It is said that Deller never had anyvoice lessons and I can well believe it.” I liked Deller’s performancewell enough, even if he never aspired to the kind of virtuositythat we can now admire in singers like Philippe Jaroussky or MaxEmanuel Cencic.Countertenors were animportant part of English musicin the time of Purcell and Handel.The tradition was kept alive inthe Anglican cathedral choirs,as it was here in Toronto, atSt. James Cathedral, St. Simonthe-Apostleand Grace Churchon-the-Hill. Deller was an altoat Canterbury Cathedral and hisemergence as a soloist was theresult of being discovered by thecomposer Michael Tippett, whoconducted Deller in a PurcellBeat by Beat | Art of SongAlfred Dellercirca 1960concert at Morley College in 1944. Soon there were others, notablyJohn Whitworth and, in the U.S., Russell Oberlin, who founded theNew York Pro Musica Antiqua in 1952. A slightly younger singer wasGrayston Burgess, who had been the head chorister at CanterburyCathedral at the time that Deller was singing alto there. Burgess sangin Handel’s Semele at Sadlers Wells in 1958; he founded the PurcellConsort of Voices in 1963. Deller’s son Mark, who had become amember of the consort in 1962, directed the group after his father’sdeath in 1979.Interestingly, a number of modern composers have started towrite for the countertenor voice, beginning with Constant Lambertin The Rio Grande (1927), in which the alto part was sung by AlbertWhitehead. Benjamin Britten wrote for the countertenor voice in AMidsummer Night’s Dream (the role of Oberon), in Death in Venice(the voice of Apollo) and in two of the Canticles. More recently,Peter Eötvös, in his opera Three Sisters (1996-97), based on theplay by Chekhov, has the roles of all four young women sung bycountertenors.In Canada the pioneers were Theodore Gentry (who died in 2003),Garry Crighton (who died in 2012) and Allan Fast (who died, far tooyoung at 41, in 1995). Gentry sang the alto solo in Handel’s Messiah(with the TSO and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir) and the role ofOsric in the North American premiere of Humphrey Searle’s Hamlet.He performed the role of the King in R. Murray Schafer’s Ra, a partwritten for him, and also the title role in Schafer’s The Black Theatreof Hermes Trismegistus. His career was cut short by a stroke in1996. Crighton was a founding member of the Toronto Consort andthe male sextet The Gents. He was also the alto soloist in St. JamesCathedral and sang with The Musicians of Swanne Alley. He taughtat the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Heleft Toronto in 1983 and was active in musical groups in Belgium andGermany for many years after that. I heard Allan Fast once, a magnificentperformance. His singing can be heard on two recordings ofBuxtehude with the McGill Chamber Singers and Collegium Musicumand on a recording of Bach’s cantata Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,conducted by Joshua Rifkin.Frank Nakashima had been a student of Crighton in high school.Crighton encouraged him to sing countertenor and he did so at22 | February 1, 2014 - March 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

St. Thomas on Huron Street, at St. Mary Magdalene and at St. Simon’s.He too was a founding member of the Toronto Consort, where he sangboth tenor and countertenor. In recent years he has been a centralfigure in the organization of the Toronto Early Music Centre. Carl Strygsang alto at St. Simon’s under Derek Holman in the early 80s. He hada relatively brief solo career and is now chiefly known as a maker ofshortbread.Now there are many Canadian countertenors: Scott Belluz, GaryBoyce, Stratton Bull, Daniel Cabena, Stephen Chen, John Cowling,Richard Cunningham, Peter Mahon, Andrew Pickett, Matthew White,Richard Whittall, Timothy Wong. The best known Canadian countertenoris Daniel Taylor. Taylor studied privately with Allan Fast andlater at McGill with the late Jan Simons. We have had a number ofrecent opportunities to hear him in Toronto and he has a large andimpressive discography. In 2001 he founded the Theatre of Early Music.He is now also the head of Historical Performance at the Universityof Toronto and he directs the Schola Cantorum there, a group thatconsists partly of professionals and partly of music students. InJanuary both groups sang in performances of Purcell’s Dido andAeneas and in a reconstruction of the Coronation of King George IIwith music by Gibbons, Purcell, Tallis and Handel. Still to come is aconcert of music by Schütz (Musikalische Exequien) and Buxtehude(Jesu meines Lebens Leben). Taylor will also be the alto soloist in theTafelmusik performances of Handel’s oratorio Saul (Koerner Hall,February 21 to 23). The other soloists are: Joanne Lunn and SherezadePanthaki, sopranos, Rufus Müller, tenor, and Peter Harvey, baritone.Free Concert Series in the RichardBradshaw Amphitheatre: there area number of vocal recitals: TracyDahl, soprano, and Liz Upchurch,piano, on February 4; Paul Appleby,tenor, and Anne Larlee, piano, onFebruary 11; Sir Thomas Allen, baritone,and Rachel Andrist, piano,on February 13; artists of the COCEnsemble Studio and the Atelierlyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal onFebruary 20; the Capella Intima andthe Toronto Continuo Collective withLa Dafne by Gagliano on February 26.These recitals begin at 12 noon andend at 1pm. There will be additionalperformances of La Dafne onFebruary 22 at the MacNeill BaptistChurch, Hamilton, and February 23 atTrinity-St. Paul’s Centre.Sir Thomas Allen at TorontoSummer Music, July 26, 2011Other events: Opera in Concert will perform Hippolyte et Aricieby Rameau on February 2 at the Jane Mallett Theatre. The soloists areMeredith Hall, soprano, Allyson McHardy, mezzo, Colin Ainsworth,tenor, and Alain Coulombe, bass.At the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, Sir Thomas Allen willgive the Geiger-Torel lecture in Walter Hall, February 3 and Tracy Dahlwill be giving a masterclass in the Geiger-Torel Room, February 7.The third concert of the Recitals at Rosedale series will take place atRosedale Presbyterian Church on February 9 at 2:30. Its title is “Love...Actually” and it will feature Nathalie Paulin, soprano, Lauren Segal,mezzo, Zachary Finkelstein, tenor, and Anthony Cleverton, baritone.Brenna MacCrimmon will sing new works inspired by Persian andBalkan traditions at Hugh’s Room on February 16. The concert willlaunch a new CD release by the Ladom Ensemble.Catherine Arcand-Pinette, soprano, and Erika Bailey, alto, will bethe soloists in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at St. John’s United Church,Oakville, March 1 and March 2 at Mary Mother of God, also inOakville.A Postscript: In 2012 the competition for entry to the COC EnsembleStudio was held in the Richard Bradshaw Auditorium with pianoaccompaniment. Last November, for the first time, the competitiontook place on the main stage at the Four Seasons Centre with the COCorchestra under Johannes Debus. The soprano Karine Boucher, whohad wowed the audience with a performance of an aria from Handel’sGiulio Cesare, won both the Jury and the Audience Prize. Secondprize went to Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure and third prize to thebass-baritone Iain MacNeil. All three will be members of the 2015/16COC Ensemble Studio, where they will be joined by the collaborativepianist Jennifer Szeto.Hans de Groot is a concertgoer and active listener.He also sings and plays the recorder. He can becontacted at artofsong@thewholenote.com.VOICEBOXOPERA IN CONCERTGuillermo Silva-MarinGeneral Director200th Anniversary of Verdi’s Birthin Italianwith English surtitlesViolins, violas, cellos & bowsComplete line of strings & accessoriesExpert repairs & rehairsCanada’s largest stock of string musicFast mail order serviceGIUSEPPE VERDIMichael Rose, Music Directorthesoundpost.cominfo@the soundpost.com93 Grenville St, Toronto M5S 1B4416.971.6990 • fax 416.597.9923A treasure trove for string players& lovers of string musicErnesto Ramírez, Laura Albino,Geoffrey Sirett, Guillermo Silva-MarinThe VOICEBOX Chorus,Robert Cooper, Chorus DirectorSun. March 23 at 2:30 pm416-366-7723 | 1-800-708-6754 | www.stlc.comthewholenote.com February 1, 2014 - March 7, 2014 | 23

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Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
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