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Volume 10 Issue 7 - April 2005

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CHORAL Scene BY LARRY BECKWITH AS YOU WILL AL READY have noticed, this issue is liberally laced with references to opera, celebrating the myriad offerings we are lucky enough to be able to choose from in this city. Opera's component parts include a literary base (story), dialogue (recitatiye), intimate character revelation (aria), deep character interaction (ensembles) and, of course, the all-important chorus. I spoke reently witl} two of Toronto's most important opera chorus masters on a. variety of questions to do with the preparation and role of opera cho- ruses in stage productions. Coli11 Ai11swo11h: Atelier's Acteo11 under the direction of Josias Priest in the late 1680s! Over at the Canadian Opera Company, it's rare to hear an op- David Fallis is the Music Direc- era written before the end of the tor of Opera Atelier, and brings l 8th century, and indeed their core to this job an extensive knowledge repertoire is based in the 19th and base of choral conducting and sing- 20th centuries. It's not surprising, ing.'The upcoming Opera Atelier then, that COC Chorus Master double-bill of Purcell's Dido and Sandra Horst sees the chorus in a Aeneas and Charpentier's Acteon different light than Fallis. (opening April 21) is absolutely "With the chorus at the COC, I core repertoire of the company. try to get a group together who all Fallis feels that the role of the have distinctie individual voices. chorus in these types of early op- I like to work with them as a bunch era is as "an impartial observer, of soloists, in an operatic· sense, most of the time. Their music has and deliberately not try to achieve a sort of distancing effect. For in- a blend per se. For me, it's more stance, in Dido, even though they about individual sounds. I imagare courtiers and witches and ine these are people from the town friends of the main characters; of different ages and it's more inthere are many points where they teresting hearing different distincwithdraw and comment very dis- tive voices in the mix. They add passionately, almost like faceless more drama to the whole scene if moralizers. It's important in many it's a bunch of different people. of these early operas that the cho- Also, just practically speaking, rus not be too emotionally in- they make a more impressive valved; that they be able to step sound if they're hot worrying back and comment, so that a les- about modifying their vocal proson or moral can be drawn from duction to blend with others." the whole experience." The COC's offerings this In the veteran American musi- month include Verdi's II Trovacologist Joseph Kerman's classic tore, which features a good deal collection of essays Opera as Dra- of men's chorus work and is all ma he observes that "few operas "a bit dark", according to Horst. use a chorus so beautif4lly, or so . For Rossini's Tancredi, Horst will integrally, as Purcell's Dido and go after a different sound. "It's not Aeneas". Astoundingly, there are ·dramatic in the same way as the three separate productions of the Verdi, so it's a brighter sort of opera on display this month: from sound: almost Classical." Opera Atelier, to an "Artrage" of- Thinking later about this last fering (beginning April 27), to the comment, I realize that Horst is Canadian Children's Opera referring to the role of the chorus Chorus performances in early in Classical Greek theatre. This is May. (The CCOC version serves much more along the lines of the as a useful reminder that one of dispassionate, moralizing observthe first productions of Dido was er to which Fallis was referring, given at the Chelsea Boarding so their thinking is not always so School for Young Gentlewomen, far apart after all. As WELL AS THE OPERATIC feast in April, there are many intriguing choral events happening, around the city ancf beyond, that warrant attention. University activity is winding up in the early part of the month and there are many culminating events being given on the campus of York University and the University of Toronto, notably the Victoria Chorus concert in the classy Isabel Bader Theatre on April I and the U of T Choral Gala the next night at St. Basil's Church, featuring Robert Cooper, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor and Doreen Rao conducting various combinations of young singers. Two RESPECTED community choirs, the Counterpoint Chorale and Voices join forces on April 2nd to perform an interesting repertoire pairing: Bach's Cantata 140 and the Requiem by W .A. Mozart. At first sight, these are works that are miles apart in mood, orchestration and outlook. It will be interesting to see if it works! Still on the subject of the first weekend of April, the Etobicoke Centennial Choir tackle Haydn's Creation, an intricate and challenging work full of inspired writing for the choir. 22 WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM As WITH THE MANY performances of Dido and Aeneas, we are a rich enough city to boast performances of Schubert's great Die Winterreise song cycle by two sensational baritones this month. Matthias Goerne performs at Roy Thomson Hall early in the month and the wonderful Ottawa native BOSLEY REAL ESTATE PETER MAHON Sales Representative 416-322-8000 Gerald Fi11ley Gerald Finley essays the work with pianist Stephen Ralls at the Glenn Gould Studio on April 14. Finley is at the top of his career these days, performing in all the great opera houses of the world (including a recent run at the Met in New York as Don Giovanni). I always remember a CBC interview a number of years ago in which Finley credited his choral education at St. Matthew's Church under Brian Law as giving him the musical confidence to pursue a career in opera. It's APPOINTMENT Dr. Margot Rejskind Margot Rejskind has been appointed Music Director of the Men of Note Male Voice Choir, effective immediately. Dr. Rejskind succeeds Jeffrey A. McALoon, recently transferred to Saint John, NB. A native of Montreal, Dr. Rejskind received her D.Mus and a Master of Choral Music from the University of Illinois. She is a founding member of Les Voix Medievales de Montreal, and a former member of the Montreal Symphony Chorus. Most recently she was Musical Director of the Amasong Chorus of Illinois. Men of Note is based in Stouffville, Ontario. The 40-voice choir is in constant demand for concert appearances throughout Ontario and has also presented concerts in France, England Wales and Germany. More information about Dr. Rejskind and the Men of Note can be found at APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2005

the same sort of thing about the early experience of singing in t:hoirs: Ben Heppner, Jean Stilwell, Russell Braun .... MosT MORNINGS in our household. ing on and I've been heard on a ful trio of soloists. I have to admit that I find the work to be problematic but full of imagination and some truly sublime choral writing. Under Noel Edison's steady and emotion­ ally-charged direction, I would exwe have CBC Radio's Metro Mornpet:t a great performance. m:mber of ot:t:asions to grumble at John Tuttle's Exultate Chamber the radio "just read the sports scores, Singers give a concert of two of for crying out loud! We don't care Handel's great works for choir on about your doodles or backyard or April 29. Dixit Dominus was writopinions on world affairs!" This is ten early in Handel's career, during diret:ted at the slightly annoyingtlat his stay in Rome, and it's full of voice of sportst:aster Kevin Sylvest- Italian vigour and choral virtuosity. er. From his daily performant:es, it's His Coronation Anthems, written dear the man likes to talk about more later in London to celebrate the comthan sport. This is confirmed by his ing to the throne of King George II, appearance on April 23rd as the guest are full of pomp and ceremony. Ino f the Toronto Mendelssohn terestingly, Tafelmusik audiences will Youth Choir, hosting a program of music "from the stage and screen". I'm sure it will be good, but will we as part of their performances ofHanever hear the end of it? The Mendelssohn Choir performs have a chance to hear much of this music reworked in a different form del's Deborah in the first week of May· Elgar's magnifo.:ent Dream ofGeron- More of that next month ..... in the tius three nights later with a power- annual t:horal issue of WholeNote! REMINDER TO CHOIRS The deadline for participation in Whole . Note's ·May Choral Canary Pages is Friday, April 8. See page 14 for details. A. Toronto Children's Chorus =•> Jean Ashworth Bartle CM., O.Ont. G Founder I Music Director 'iEt'. :slng:>'f,itia. us.,:. , ,, '· · · yqu'l 1ove it! Auditions for TCC 2005-2006 are held April through early June for our upcoming performance season. We'd love to hear from you! Our choristers love the music, friendship, and experience that makes up the TCC. West End location available for first year choristers. ·A children :S- choir breathes li/e into rhe 11u1sical soul of (I ci1v. Withuut children. t/Jcre H.:011/d be no ji1ture. li'itlio11/ choirs. ho1v could we gfrc voice w our souls;; The TCC symbolises the gifi ol!ife. soul and music. " .John Rutter, Composer and Clmcluctor, Cambridgt:, l!K .. Opportunity for Aspiring Choral Conductor Boys age 7-11 and their parents are invited to the Cathedral to experience the life of a chorister at St. James. Thrill in singing with others Tour the Cathedral - Play some sports - Sing with the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys at a closing evensong. For parents: watch a video about the program, join a Q and A session with existing choir parents A ministry accessible and open to all and a wonderful experience for children and parents alike. Contact Michael Bloss, Director of Music 416-364-7865 x 231 The Cathedral Church of St. James King & Church, Toronto www.stjamescathedral. on. ea The Oakville Choral Society - a hon-audition, four part community choir now in its 46th year - seeks a choral /instrumental conductor /vocal section lead to assist the current Music Director. Please forward resume &/or enquiries to: J. Bev Stainton, Music Director 53 Central St, Toronto,M8V 2R6 Tel: 416 259 9152 Iluah email: A Community of Faith I Spiritual community seeks song leader (guitarist/pianist) to provide musical leadership for weekly gathering of 20-30 persons on Sundays (10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. approximately). Queen Street East location ijust east ofBroadview Ave.). Our expression is based on eco-spirituality and creation-centred spirituality. Competitive salary offered. Contact us: 416-459-0912 or email: Visit our website: APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2005 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM

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