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Volume 20 Issue 1 - September 2014

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  • September
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KATIE CROSS PHOTOGRAPHYAnd beyond the GTA:Chris Ness, piano, and Janet Ness, vocals, will perform worksby Gershwin, Porter and Kern at Grace United Church, Barrie;September 10.Daniel Lichti, bass-baritone, will bethe soloist with the Nota Bene BaroqueOrchestra and Alison Melville, traverso, onSeptember 18 at noon. On September 25,also at noon, the tenor James McLeanand pianist Lorin Shalanko will perform.Both concerts are free, at the MaureenForrester Recital Hall, Wilfred LaurierUniversity, Waterloo.On September 14 at 2pm, CharlotteKnight, soprano, and Jonathan Dick, baritone,will perform Schubert’s Der Hirt aufdem Felsen as well as songs by Argentoand Bolcom and selections from My FairLady and The Phantom of the Opera.Michele Jacot is the clarinet soloist in theSchubert at Silver Spire United Church,St. Catharines.On September 15, the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Societywill present a concert in which the main work is Schoenberg’s PierrotLunaire. The soprano soloist is Rachel Krehm at the KWCMS MusicRoom, Waterloo.There will be a tribute to one of our most distinguished, andcertainly our most inventive, living composer R. Murray Schafer, inThe Barn at Campbellford on September 21 at 2pm. Donna Bennett,soprano, and Eleanor James, mezzo, will sing. The host will beBen Heppner.Rachel Krehm (left); EssentialOpera’s Erin Bardua (above)Two Postscripts:In 2012/13 the outstandingmusical event was theJanáček-Kurtág double billpresented by Against theGrain Theatre. After thatthere was a modern adaptationof Mozart’s Le Nozzedi Figaro, which I thoughtwas splendid in some parts,less successful in others. Buttheir latest offering this pastJune, Debussy’s Pelléas etMélisande, was a triumph.It is an opera I am very fondof but I have never seena production which wasas imaginative and whichwas sung with the intensitythat these performersbrought to it.In June I reviewed a newCD of Telemann’s operaMiraways. Since its publication Scott Paterson has pointed out to methat the main theme of one of its arias (“Ein doppler Kranz”) reappearsin an instrumental trio by Handel. The opera dates from 1728; theHandel trio probably from the early 1740s. Much has been writtenabout Handel’s borrowings but, as far as I am aware, this particularborrowing has not been noted before.Hans de Groot is a concert goer and active listenerwho also sings and plays the recorder. He can becontacted at | September 1, 2014 – October 7, 2014

Beat by Beat | On OperaPatricia RacetteStellar CastingOffsets Same OldCHRISTOPHER HOILEFor the 2014/15 opera season in Southern Ontario there will be agap in offerings for fully-staged operas that many will feel keenly.This is the first season since 1980 in which there will be no OperaHamilton. The company ceased operations early this year after its fall2013 production of Verdi’s Falstaff. Management at Opera Hamiltonused to say that the company functioned as the New York CityOpera in relation to the COC’s Met, since OH was proud to showcaseCanadian singers as often as possible. That comparison now has anironic ring since the New York City Opera itself ceased operations inOctober last year. In March, Leonard Turnevicius, longtime reporteron the music scene for The Hamilton Spectator, wrote me to say, “Itcertainly looks as though fully staged, professional opera in Hamiltonhas come to an end.”Not helping to alleviate the pall cast by the failure of OperaHamilton was the announcement by the Canadian Opera Companythat it would present only six productions in 2014/15 instead of itsusual seven. The last time the COC presented only six productions wasin the 2000/01 season when there was no separate COC EnsembleStudio production. (The last time the COC Ensemble Studio had itsown production was in the 2007/08 season.)Besides this, unlike last season when the COC presented threecompany premieres, this year not only has the COC staged all sixoperas before, but three of the productions are already familiar to COCaudiences. What will make the new season exciting is the chance tosee many well-known singers making their COC debuts.Finley in Falstaff: The season opener is a new productionof Verdi’s final opera Falstaff by Robert Carsenrunning October 3 to November 1. This is a co-production with RoyalOpera House Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, the MetropolitanOpera and De Nederlandse Opera. Many will have already seenwhat the production looks like from the The Met: Live broadcast ofit in December 2013. Carsen has moved the setting forward fromElizabethan times to 1950s England.For many fans the main draw for Falstaff besides Carsen’sproduction will be the chance to see Canadian baritone GeraldFinley in the title role, back at the COC for the first time in 20 years.Canadians in the rest of the cast include Simone Osborne as Nannetta,Frédéric Antoun as her lover Fenton, Russell Braun as Ford, Marie-Nicole Lemieux as Mistress Quickly and Lauren Segal as Meg Page.Johannes Debus conducts.Racette in Butterfly: Running in repertory with Falstaff will bePuccini’s ever-popular Madama Butterfly in the timeless productioncreated by Brian Macdonald and Susan Benson for the COC in1990. The production running from October 10 to 31 has proved sosuccessful one only wishes the COC had asked the duo to createdmore opera productions. The production will mark the COC debuts ofseveral singers. Patricia Racette and Kelly Kaduce will alternate in therole of Cio-Cio San and Stefano Secco and Andrea Carè will alternateas Pinkterton. Dwayne Croft, making his COC debut, will alternatewith Canadian Gregory Dahl as Sharpless, and Elizabeth DeShongreturns to the COC as Suzuki. Patrick Lange conducts.Braun in Giovanni: The winter season begins with a new productionof Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a co-production with Festivald’Aix-en-Provence, Bolshoi Theatre and Teatro Real Madrid. The stagedirection is by the Russian Dmitri Tcherniakov, though Tcherniakovhas not stuck to merely directing Mozart’s opera. He has also given ita new story. Donna Anna is the daughter of the “Commander” but sois Zerlina. Donna Elvira is Donna Anna’s cousin and Don Giovanniis her husband. Leporellois said to be a relative wholives with them. The productionhad its world premiere in2009 at Aix and that performancewas filmed and is availableon DVD from BelAirClassiques for those whowant to test how they likeTcherniakov’s concept.Russell Braun will sing DonGiovanni with Kyle Ketelsenas Leporello. They will bejoined by Jennifer Holloway,Jane Archibald and MichaelSchade. German earlySat., Sept. 20 at 2 pmA bouquet of hot, absurd and beautiful arias from someof Canada’s newest operatic composers presented byCanada’s premiere new opera company.Special Event:Tribute to Our (R.) Murray SchaferSun., Sept. 21 at 2 pmBen Heppner (host), Donna Bennett(soprano), Eleanor James (mezzo),Gryphon Piano Trio, Judy Loman(harp), Molinari String Quartet,The Westben Festival Chorusand Brian Finley (piano).A star-studded cast of performersgather to pay tribute to one ofCanada’s finest composers.877-883-5777 | www.westben.caGerald September 1, 2014 – October 7, 2014 | 33

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