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Volume 10 Issue 2 - October 2004

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  • Toronto
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ON OPERA by Clirislophcr

ON OPERA by Clirislophcr f-loilc A rare opera from Spain full of grace, rhythmic fire, light and colour. Jose Hernandez, Music Dir.!Pianist Sean Watson, Keith Klassen, Arlene Alvarado, Leticia Brewer Sponsored by Jackman Foundation Sat. October 30 at 8 pm Sun. October 31 at 2: 30 pm jAr;E MALLETT THEATRE 416-366-7723or1-800-7o8-6754 Toronto Operetta Theatre ktollt';cista A concert and Party to• . . celebrate our . . 20th Anniversary! A fabulous fusion of Spanish and German flavours, operetta and zarzuela come together for a great afternoon of music and comedy! Wine and tradltlonal culinary treats Wiii follow the concert for your continuing delight. with Elizabeth Beeler, Gisele Fredette, Gabrielle Prata, Keith Klassen, Keith savage, GUiiiermo Sliva-Marin, Jose Hernandez and Raisa Nakhmanovlch concert , Reception Sunday, October 17. 2004 at J>m JANE MALETT THEATRE // . Box Office: 416-366•7723 or 1-800-708-6754 www.stlc.com The first nine days of October are your last chance to see rwo of the most intriguing pieces of music theatre to be presented in Ontruio this year. October 9 is the lasr day of performances for both Pou! Ruders · opera The Handmaid's Tale by the Canadian Opera Company and of the musical Floyd Collins at the Shaw Festival. In different ways both ru·e daring and fully engaging works. Tliere is a ce11ai11 irony that the highest-profile opera based on a Canadian sour,ce Jay Turvey is Floyd Collins should be written by a Dane. bur that's ari irony we can live with. The Canadian Opera Company is still developing an opera by Randolph Peters (composer of The Golden Ass) to a li­ society gone mad. Given current debates about religious fundamentalism of all kinds and its relation to the oppression of women. Ruders' choice of subject has become bretto written by Margaret Atwood. But, as fate would have it, the first A twoud opera is Pou! Ruders' 'fhe 1-landmaid 's Tale written to an English libretto by Paul Bentley. The world premiere in Copenhagen in 2000 was greeted with both critical and popular acclaim. As George W. Loomis wrote in ··opera News'", "'Ruders·s choice of Margaret Atwood's popular novel from the mid-1980's showed a Verdi-like acumen in matching potent dramatic material with his own musical personality .... His score here is intensely dramatic. It builds rension with the instinct of great film music and its characterizations are astutely developed."' Opera has long depicted woman ill-treated by men. In Atwood"s novel and Ruders' opei;a this illtream1ent has become institutional. In the near future a Christian fundamentalit revolution in the US has created a theocracy and rescinded women's rights. To replenish the population fertile women called "Handmaids·· an:: captured and used as surrogate wives for establishment husbands whose official wives are barren. Bentky·s great innovation is to split the title character into two roles-Offred and the Double who represents Offred before the revolution-thus allowing the two to interact and reflect on a even more relevant now than it was in 2000. Another remarkable and highly relevant work is Adam Guettel ·s musical Floyd Collins now playing at the Shaw Festival. If the word "'musical" evokes chorus lines. cheap laughs and cheap sentiment, Floyd Collins will force you to re-evaluate the genre. The 1996 musical is based on the true story of Kentucky spelunker Floyd Collins. who explored various caves hoping to find another cave system like Mammoth Caves and make his fortune by turning it into a tourist attraction. Instead, on January 3. 1925. Floyd found himself trapped in a tight hole 150 feet underground. Skeets Miller, diminutive cub reporter for a Louisville newspaper. heard of the story and was the only one small enough to squeeze through to Floyd where he interviewed him. Miller"s dispatches, later winning him a Pulitzer Prize. were syndicated nationwide and the publicity soon generated the first media circus of the 20th century with people camping out awaiting Floyd's rescue. Tina Landau's book focusses on the effects of Floyd"s plight on his . family and friends and (!harts the course of how their hopes for his rescue fade the longer he is tmpped and how they accommodate them- WWW. rH[WI IOLLNO I r .co,\ OCTOBER 1 - NovEMllf. 7 2004 ·

selves to this reality. The music by Adam Guettel (who happens to be Richard Rodgers' grandson) is tinged with bluegrass throughout. Though there is dialogue and there are separate numbers, Guettel 's musical language is so advanced, making extensive use of dissonance, that the effect is far more like a folk opera than a typical musical. The intricacy of the music and the beauty of Guettel's word-setting will convince you that he,e, finally, is someone after Sondheim who has moved the musical genre forward. No lover of music theatre should miss it. While traditional works like Lucia di Lammermoor (COC), La Traviata (Royal Opera Canada) and Don Pasquale (Opera Ontario) are on offer this month, Opera in Concert is presenting the Canadian premiere of a Spanish work recently championed and recorded by Placido Domingo. That is El Gato Montes ("The Wildcat") by Spanish composer Manuel Panella ( 1880-1939) playing at the Jane Mallen Theatre October 30 and 31 . Like a zarzuela the work is structured around dance forms like the pasodoble and the seguidilla, but the subject is tragic. As in Carmen there is a matador and a gypsy girl, but here the central figure and the third side· of the love triangle is the defiant outlaw of the title. For more about Opera in Concert, Opera Ontario, and Royal Opera, as well as Tapestry, Tryptych, OJ'>era Atelier, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Opera York, Toronto Opera Repertoire, the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus and others "players", please read the company profiles in the "Blue Pages" in this issue. Ruby Wednesday Sth Annual Opera Canada Awards Wed, Oct 13, 2004, 6pm This elegant Granite Club event, named for the founding editor of Opera Canada Magazine, Ruby Mercer, begins with a performance by Toronto's renowned Canadian Children's Opera Chorus (also founded by Ruby Mercer). Hosted by Lotfi Mansouri, the Rubies honours three Canadians, who have made outstanding contributions to opera at home and abroad. This year's "Rubies" go to legendary bass Joseph Rouleau, and internationally acclaimed mezzosoprano Judith Forst (Creative Artists). Mario Bernardi will be celebrated as an "Opera Builder". In keeping with the Opera Canada Rubies tradition, each will be serenaded by a young Canadian singer: soprano Frederique Vezina (for Joseph Rouleau), baritone John Avey (for Judith Forst) and baritone James Westman (for Mario Bernardi). Tickets are 0 (guests are seated at tables of ten) and may be obtained by contacting Opera Canada's executive director Sue White aT (416) 922-1229. Courses & Tours 2004-2005 with Iain Scott Don Pasquale Laura Whalen Stuart Howe Gregory Atkinson Gregory Dahl Oct. 16.21.23 OH Oct. 29 KWO from the Seraglio Benjamin Butterfield Pascal Charbonneau Madeline Bender Sookhyung Park Feb. 5 KWO reb 12.17.19 OH 20041200. r!Jp,e/'-a/ (9ntar/o f'/•e,yo1J;y. a· rlou6/e a/t/tt"oer&a1 rr· &ea.1'0/1 (Q) Oct. Nov. Jan. Jan. 15-16 Feb. April June Myths and Legends in Opera Ten Top Tenors Upcoming Operas Weekend Seminar on "Siegfried" The Art of Bel Canto Virgil & Verdi 7 Opera Tour of Northern Italy l ... .. . / Qpera Hamiltori .. Kitc hnr Waterloo Opera 105 Main St E ' 101 Qdeen St N, Kitchener Hamilton Place.' Gen!re In The Square 1.800.575.1381 1.800.265.8977 ' ... e...-. 1. r ..__ _ _ ..... _ _ "', .. " .. ,_ www.operaontario.com l:iti1: :•I Hn:nih;:-:. i\:id'h!:'I.;! ti W'11?crioo R.!:H"ll OCTOBER 1 - NOVEMBER 7 2004 WWW . THEWHOLENOTE.COM 31

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