7 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 1 - September 2004

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OPERA AT HOME by Phil Ehrensaft In, Out, and In Favour Again Three Generations of Lucia's Renaissance Poor Lucia di Lammermoor had a UNTIL RECENTLY, the debate over the doubly sad fate. On stage, the her- gold standard for historical Lucia reoine's lldeserved torments produced cordings involved three EM! recordthe mother of all opera.',; mad scenes. ings by Maria Callas: is it the mono Off stage, Lucia counted among '53 or stereo '59 studio recording, Donizetti's works that were iconic both conducted by Seraf)Il? or the during the half-century following the live mono 1955 recording with von composer's death in 1848, then Karajan at the Berlin State Opera? dwindled in status during the first Now Naxos Historical offers us decades of the twentieth century. a masterfully restored 1939 Italian Donizetti was a hyperkinetic mass Broadcasting Authority recording producer of superficial vocal excess- featuring one of the very great soes; ergo Lucia must be pulp. pranos of that era, the ltalian-Amerln fact, Donizetti was the Charles ican Lina Pagliughi. World War II Dickens of early romantic opera·. prevented this recording from being Both could fire off great works at issued before the late 1940s as mono dizzying paces. Both were masters LPs. Naxos' restoration wizard of dramatic structure. Nobody bats Wade Marston worked from four 1000, but Donizetti's and Dickens' relatively clean pressings that were lifetime averages exceeded most art- nevertheless plagued by surface ists' dreams. Donizetti 's climb back ·noise. The restored voices are refrom the minor leagues began in the markable clear. Orchestral so llds 1930s. Thanks to high tech, we are richer than expected for this era. can chart the rise on historical re- Above all, Pagliughi's sweet voice cordings and contemporary DVD's. gives us a supremely suitable Lucia. Sir Walter Scott's novel, The Bride of Lammermoor has a core of brutal truth. Dynastic pre-industrial Europe often forced people to wed contrary to their sentiments. Many were miserable, some driven mad. Pagliu-ghi's precisely controlled coloratura gives us just that. She's not a neurotic. She's a perfectly normal yollllg woman driven mad. Moving ahead, we have a 1971 Italian Lucia film reissued in DVD by V Al. It starred another Italian­ American diva, the exquisite Anna Moffo opposite the statuesque Lajos Kozma's Edgardo. This Lucia is prototypical of one school of opera .on film, circa the '60s and '70s -- the.seventeenth century castle is a perfect location but at a price: voice-0vers. At least this film uses the studio singers as actors (not always the case in this genre) so the lip sync is not too bad. However, if I tried to define mannered opera acting, I'd show clips from this Lucia. More than countering all this schmaltz is Anna Moffo. Offered Hollywood roles, she turned them down because she wanted to become a n ll. To music lovers' good fortune, she decided to study opera at the Curtis Institute. Here we have one of the finest sopranos of her generation, totally at ease, in prime form, and in a signature role. The Opera National de Lyon's new DVD of Lucie de Larnmermoor, on the TDK label distributed by Naxos, is entirely different. It's a live 2002 production of the French version of Lucia, uncut, running 145 minutes. This French version heightens Lucie's psychological isolation by eliminating the role of Alisa, the heroine's old nurse. The big hitter here is Roberto Alagna as Edgardo. The main spotlight is usually on Lucia (Patrizia Ciofi's Lucie is distraught and inward looking, and justly attracts multiple curtain calls from the Lyon audience). But Alagna is Edgardo. On the technology side, this Lucie is a thoroughly modem Millie. We can choose between 5 .1 surro lld sound and impeccable stereo. Colour balance is impeccable. The camera work can be tiring. Gloomy'old Scotland gets so much backlighting that the singers' features are half obscured. And close-ups are emphasized in a way that will be attractive only to people who make love to their opera glasses. That being said, starting a Lucia collection with TDK's Lucie and the m:xlestly priced Naxos Lucia are smart moves. • Prepar your Voice for the World Stag For the past 20 years Daniel Eby, Artistic Director of The New School of Classical Vocal Studies (NSCVS), has taught vocal technique in dqwntown Toronto. Over the years, some amazing voices have been developed in his vocal studio, and many of them have gone on to fulfilling careers in the operatic world. In 1993, Daniel Eby produced Mozart's Don Giovanni, with the youngest adult cast in its history; and in December of 200 I, he produced a SO'h anniversary production ofMenotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors at the DuMaurier Theatre, with sets, costumes and orchestra. One of his former students, Othalie Graham, who, at age 19, sang Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, was recently described by the music critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer as havihg a voice like a 'force of nature" in her title role portrayal of Strauss' Elektra. This season, NSCVS is auditioning singers for the revival of The Magical Journey from Mozart to Musicals, in a new Operatic Cabaret Review, opening in October. Prepare your voice to reach World Class potential! Please contact Daniel Eby at 416-92/-9800 or, E-mail 34- WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

NEWS FROM THE TORONTO ,MUSICIANS' ASSOCIATION by Brian Blain Jane Bunnett, O.C.: Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, recently announced 79 new appointments to the Order of Canada, including Toronto Musicians' Association member, Jane Bunnett. Jane is known for her creative integrity, improvisational daring and courageous artistry. Her exploration of Afro-Cuban melodies expresses the universality of music and her ability to embrace and showcase the rhythms and culture of Cuba has been groundbreaking. She has toured the world bringing her own special sound to numerous jazz festivals, displaying her versatility as a flutist, saxophone player and pianist. As an educator, spokesperson and social activist, she remains unafraid to explore uncharted territory in her quest for excellence. Congratulations Janel More Congratulations! Nathaniel Anderson-Frank is this year's winner of the Music Performance Fund Scholarship for Local 149. Nathaniel has studied with Erica Davidson of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Zoya Leybin of the San Francisco Symphony and Leo Wigdorchik of the University of Toronto. He will be continuing his studies this fall at the Cleveland Institute of Music. TMA Vice-President, Neil Spaulding presented a cheque for 0.00. to Nathaniel on July 25, 2004 at Mel Lastman Square during an excellent MPF performance by TMA member and internationally acclaimed jazz musician Peter Appleyard and his big band, who had the enthusiastic audience dancing in the aisles. A representative from the City of Toronto was also on hand and she expressed enthusiasm for making this public presentation an annual event. Focus on Music Education: As we mentioned in our summer (first) column, the Toronto Musicians' Association has begun a Music Education program, due to launch in late September, and an Instrument Bank. We are very excited about the first series in the resources. We need you, dear Music Ed program, which focuses reader, who may also be a teacher, on three ways of understanding parent, or friend, to get in touch rhythm for grades 6,7 and 8. This with us about a student who could is a fun and interactive program use our help. Our committee will developed by experienced try to match students who need professional players/educators instruments to donors. We will using unusual ideas to stimulate make efforts at any level of study students and teachers. We expect to find an instrument that is it to be a learning experience for suitable, and only ask that you be everyone, and to generate new in touch with us with a request. thinking about learning concepts of Please contact Corkie Davis at rhythm. for . further information and to register The TMA will be hosting a a request. lecture on the music business for students at Humber College and at In his regular column in the the University of Toronto Faculty International Musician, Bobby of Music in the coming year and Herriott, Vice President from hope to provide similar services to Canada quoted Canadian producer many more Toronto-area post Bob Ezrin on the importance of secondary institutions. In addition, Music Education. Ezrin said, "... the TMA board is proposing a while the three R's provide kids special student membership rate for with the basic tools they need, it is new members in college/university. the arts that give them the imagination to do something with The Instrument Bank needs those tools ... The cost to society of your help· Our committee is a. generation of kids who grow up publicizing the need for instruments without inspiration, discipline, and to be loaned, through the TMA, purpose is enormous." to students who would like to study music, but do not have available

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