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Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018

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  • October
  • Toronto
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  • Jazz
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Presenters, start your engines! With TIFF and "back-to-work" out of the way, the regular concert season rumbles to life, and, if our Editor's Opener can be trusted, "Seeking Synergies" seems to be the name of the game. Denise Williams' constantly evolving "Walk Together Children" touching down at the Toronto Centre for the Arts; the second annual Festival of Arabic Music and Arts expanding its range; a lesson in Jazz Survival with Steve Wallace; the 150 presenter and performer profiles in our 19th annual Blue Pages directory... this is an issue that is definitely more than the sum of its parts.

COC fiction when I’m

COC fiction when I’m writing fiction. Besides that, from what I had read about the novel and from what Rufus said, it seemed that the novel positioned Antinous as more an object of love, whereas I was very interested at looking at what it was that kept the couple together for six years, a relationship ended only by Antinous’ untimely death. I felt the story needed to be about a relationship that was physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional – that they were equals in the relationship and that that equality was frowned upon by people of the time.” (MacIvor is correct. Though sexual relationships between older men and younger men were accepted in Ancient Rome, it was expected that the older man would be dominant in all aspects of the relationship.) As it turned out, the late playwright Linda Griffith made an important contribution: “So when I was debating doing the job I went to visit Linda Griffiths and when she learned of the topic she gave me her copy of Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome (2009) by historian Anthony Everitt that she had just finished reading and that became my source book. One of the things Everitt talks about are the various theories of Antinous’ demise. Did he sacrifice himself in an effort to improve Hadrian’s health, was it an accident or was he murdered? Everitt offered a potential for drama there so I grabbed it. Treachery and duplicitousness are richly operatic. And then there’s also the question of Judea and Hadrian’s relationship to Jewry which is also historically known and I also created drama around that.” MacIvor knew from the start what style of opera Wainwright intended and that affected how he approached the libretto: “I knew from the beginning that we were writing opera in the grand tradition – that I would be writing recits and arias and duets and I just went for it. I wanted the language to be formal, not casual as in [Benjamin Britten’s] Peter Grimes or in [John Adams’s] The Death of Klinghoffer. “I think that one of the things that drew Alexander to me in the first place was that if you look at my plays there’s a lot of white space on the page, so I think that might have been an early indication that I might be able to write a scene by using a minimum of words. And I love the challenge of that. It takes longer to sing a line than speak it and then there is the option that those words can be repeated over and over again.” MacIvor discussed the negotiations involved in collaboration: “I think structurally we landed well on the first draft, and then shifted quite a lot after that about where an aria lands or where a trio appears. Rufus and I met many times and it was a question of throwing axes and hammers with both of us feeling very passionate about the story. Opera is probably Rufus’ first musical love so he is deeply invested in it. He would speak in references to other operas for what (from left) Assistant conductor Derek Bate, composer Rufus Wainwright, and COC Music Director Johannes Debus at the first read-through of Hadrian’s score, May 2018. he wanted and I would reject going there because I didn’t want to be influenced by other works. So we ended up bringing in a dramaturge, Cori Ellison, who works at Juilliard, to help bridge the very different ways we work in and I think now we are both very pleased with where we’ve landed. “If Rufus said ‘we really need to have an aria here in this scene,’ then I would move things around and adjust what I needed to adjust. And there are adjustments in tone where a character needs to show their weakness here or their strength there, and he’d ask me to do that. There was lots of music he had written before I came on – like how he wanted to begin Act 3 which is just after the intermission and I made space for that. There is also an aria that he adapted from a pop song of his that he elevated and wanted included, so the libretto 24 | October 2018 thewholenote.com

COC (from left) Composer Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor at the first read-through of Hadrian’s score, May 2018. I presented four years ago has changed considerably. Yet, the four-act structure, where the main arias occur and what the story basically is, have not really changed radically.” When asked how much of the opera he considers his, MacIvor replied: “The idea that Hadrian has the chance to relive two nights again with Antinous was something that I brought to the story. But Rufus agreed with it and the fact that he did agree also makes it his don’t you think? If you look at my other work you see that I’m obsessed with certain kinds of structures and themes and looking at the libretto you will see it’s all there, like You Are Here (2001), A Beautiful View (2006), Here Lies Henry (1995). There so much of the work that I’ve done about a person being forced to perform their life again, I think an audience who knows my work will see that in the opera.” MacIvor has been strongly inspired by how important the story is: “Peter Hinton talks about this story really beautifully in saying that this is one of a trio of great love affairs upon which empires rose and fell. He talks about Dido and Aeneas, Antony and Cleopatra and Hadrian and Antinous. It’s all about Rome but it seems to feel weirdly relevant somehow. I think that the story of Hadrian and Antinous is an important one and I think that in giving it attention that something is served. There was a kind of homophobia surrounding it in that prevented people being able to address their story. And that fuels my passion to get this story out.” ON OPERA QUICK PICKS !! SEP 30 TO NOV 3, VARIOUS TIMES: Eugene Onegin, Four Seasons Centre. This the COC’s first production of Tchaikovsky’s great opera since 2008. This time it will be staged in the acclaimed production Robert Carsen created for the Metropolitan Opera. Gordon Bintner sings Onegin, Joyce El-Khoury is Tatyana, Joseph Kaiser is Lensky and Johannes Debus conducts. !! OCT 13 TO 27, VARIOUS TIMES: Hadrian, Four Seasons Centre. This the COC’s first commission for the main stage since The Golden Ass in 1999. Composer Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor bring to the stage one of history’s great gay love stories – that of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and the youth Antinous. The production stars the renowned Thomas Hampson as Hadrian and Karita Mattila, both making their COC debuts, with Isaiah Bell as Antinous. Peter Hinton directed and Johannes Debus conducts. !! OCT 25 TO NOV 3, VARIOUS TIMES: Actéon & Pygmalion, Elgin Theatre. This is the first time Opera Atelier has presented Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Actéon (1683) and Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Pygmalion (1748) as a double bill – two operas based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Colin Ainsworth stars as both title characters with Mireille Asselin and Allyson McHardy. The production travels later to Chicago and Versailles. Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera and theatre. He can be contacted at opera@thewholenote.com. Isabel Bayrakdarian in Brett Polegato Werther by Jules Massenet in French with English surtitles The impossible love of Goethe’s tragic hero is pitted against an unforgiving social environment. Narmina Afandiyeva, Music Director & Pianist VOICEBOX Chorus Robert Cooper, Chorus Director also featuring Holly Chaplin SUN NOVEMBER 25 2:30 PM VOICE B OX OPERA IN CONCERT Guillermo Silva-Marin General Director Matt Chittick Don’t miss … Comedy Unbound! Comedy Unbound! A Benefit towards the STUART HAMILTON MEMORIAL FUND Michael Rose, Music Director/Pianist Guillermo Silva-Marin, M.C. SUN OCTOBER 21 • 2:30 pm 416-366-7723 | 1-800-708-6754 | www.stlc.com thewholenote.com October 2018 | 25

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)