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Volume 10 Issue 8 - May 2005

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ductions in Toronto. The

ductions in Toronto. The Opera Briefs program, in which 10-15 minute operas are created in a "Lib Lab" that brings composers and potential librettists together, has yielded evenings that now sell out. Strongman and Hopkinson foresee this "Opera-to-Go" format every second year, alternating with a mainstage production. In its endeavours Tapestry has discovered other like-minded companies abroad leading to new international collaborations. Spring 2006 will see the premiere of a 45- minute work by James Rolfe and Camyar Chai created for the Manhattan School of Music. Also on the way is a contemporary version of "Antigone" by Christos Hatzis and Jocelyn Clarke, dramarurge for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, in conjunction with Music Theatre Group of New York and famed director Anne Bogart's SIT! Company, to premiere in 2008. Hopkinson says, "It's a wonderful opportunity for our artists to have-pre­ !IJieres and receive exposure outside of Canada." In general, Tapestry has moved beyond conventional notions of what kind of subject matter Canadian operas should treat, what "opera music" is and where opera can be performed. How has Tapestry found so much success? As Strongman says, "Because new opera works." Canadian Children's Opera Chorus Ann Cooper Gay, Artistic Director presents DIDO & iENEAS Music by Henry Purcell Libretto by Nahum Tate Director: Valerie Kuinka Conductor: Ann Cooper Gay SchoolPerlormances: May 5 & 6, 10 am and 1 :00 pm " OPERA at Home How To Film Opera ·Two Masterful Butterflies · by Phil Ehrensaft Filming opera on location, or in the studio, presents challenges distinct from those involved in capturing a performance on the opera house stage. In the latter instance, whether the filming is before a live audience or not, the film director's job is effective communication of performance goals that have been defined by the conductor and the stage director. If there are too many full stage views, the film is a static bore. If there's too much zooming in and out, the result is distraction akin to a Mexican jumping bean. A sue- scenes. The cast and director, cessful balance requires both a however, must convince you that deep knowledge of opera and cin- all is proceeding normally. ematic talent. Two very different films of Puc- The ante is upped when the per- cini 's Madama Butterfly, both now formance is filmed on location or available on DVD, are paragons in the studio. In this case the film of how the right chemistry can be director becomes the stage direc- sustained and captured on the siltor, and a stage director with a big- ver screen. The first is a 1974 anger bag of tricks than is available site film directed by "the father of even on the stages of the great in- modern opera films," Jean-Pierre ternational opera houses. Go on Ponnelle. Universal has done its location or in the studio, and the usual sterling job in transferring cinematic tail really gets a chance the class act images and sound of to wag the opera dog. the original 35 mm film to DVD. Film directors can imagine Von Karajan conducts the Vienna themselves to be the next Orson Philharmonic. Mirella Freni is But­ Welles (not bloody likely), and the terfly, Placido Domingo is Pinkopera is lost in a flurry of offbeat erton, and Christa Ludwig is Sucamera angles. The director's en- zuki, all under 40 and thus visualergies must be united with those ly and musically matched to their of first-class musicians responsive roles. Oh my. to the distinctive demands of on- Understated colours convey site or in-studio performance. Puccini's sense of Japan's emo­ Scenes are shot in slices accord- tional climate. Unusual camera ing to physical context rather than angles work beautifully because the actual sequence of the opera. they communicate Ponnelle's If the great castle hall scenes oc- deeply informed reading of Puccicur at the beginning and end of the ni 's angle on the matter at hand. opera, you shoot these first, and Ponnelle directed 16 opera films then move to the middle battlefield as a life's mission. Arias, as con- MAY 1 - ]UNE 7 2005

veyors of internal emotional dialogue, are sometimes preceded by the protagonist standing silently while his or her singing plays in the background. This may or may not be your cup of tea (it certainly is mine). What's clear is the impressive confluence of a great film director, great opera and great musicians. In 1956, the director/actor/ screenwriter Mario Lanfranchi upset the Italian opera world's applecart by casting a 24 year-old opera student from Wayne, Pennsylvania, in the title role for an RAJ television production of Madama Butterfly. Remember that the general Italian public followed opera on TV with passions equal to that for the national sport, soccer. The youngster was Anna Moffo. All of Italy promptly fell in love with the kid from Pennsylvania. That included Lanfranchi, who married her the next year. RAJ gave Moffo a national TV show. Moffo became one of the Metropolitan Opera's top sopranos. What we see on VAi's recently issued DVD transfer is a grainy black-and-white film of a rightfully legendary performance. albeit with a surprisingly good mono soundtrack. The camera work deserves to be studied in film schools. The great opera conductor Olivero De Fabritiis wields the baton. A young Renato Cioni also makes his debut as the Pinkerton that Puccini intended. Today Pinkerton is habitually portrayed as a narcissistic young naval officer. Puccini's Pinkerton is an arrogant.Yankee imperialist, full of bite. Italians in the I 950's remembered all too well how Churchill, at the conclusion of World War II, suppressed the Italian resistance movement because. it included too many Reds. Cioni, backed by Lanfranchi and De Fabritiis, give us Puccini's Pinkerton. Order of Canada: Three TMA members for making this sewi 11 be invested into ries of classes pos- sible. the Order of Canada. Congratulations to Paul Hoffert, founding member of Light house, hi-tech guru and educator, to Fen Watkin, recently re- tired long-term Musi- cal Director for the Charlottetown Festival, and to sing- teachers and music programs, and to offer musical dier-songwriter Susan Aglukark, who mensions which may not be availahas been making her mark interna- ble to students otherwise. The memtionally. All three are honoured for bers of the TMA are uniquely suitthe contributions they make to the ed to providing supplementary mucommunity above and beyond their musical endeavours. JUNO Winners: Congratulations to Local 149 Juno winners: !3est Album & Group - Billy Talent; Best Rock Album - Sum 41; Vocal Jazz Album - Diana Krall; Contemporary Jazz Album - Hilario Duran; Traditional Jazz Album - David Braid; Classical Album Large Ensemble - Tafelmusik; Reggae Recording - Sonia Collymore; World Music Album - African Guitar Summit (Adam Solomon and Madagascar Slim members); Music DVD - Blue Rodeo. Local 149 shone injust about every category except International - which goes to non Canadians! Music Education Program: The TMA launched our new Music Education Program in Toronto area schools Wednesday April 27th at St. Boniface Catholic School in Scarborough. St. Boniface is identified by the Toronto Catholic District School Board as one which could benefit from extra programs, and we are pleased to be able to offer resources to the students that they might otherwise not be able to access. We are especially grateful to the Music Performance Fund and Toronto Musicians Association News compiled by Brian Blain Paul Hoffert Trustee John Hall The Music Edu- cation Committee of theTMA is very excited about the potential of our program to provide support for music sic teaching programs, often being not only professional players, but high­ ly qualified educators as well. The program, intended for students in grades 6, 7 and 8 who may not have had exposure to a music program before, is a unique introduction to concepts of rhythm, and can be fun and challenging for students at all levels in this age group. The full program comprises elements of improvisation, movement, and Latin-based rhythms. For more information contact: Nancy Neal or Jim Biros at 416-42I- 1020, ext. 236 or . 237; nneal@ torontomusi cians.org; jbiros@torontomusicians.org, or view www.torontomusicians.org. Music Schohtrship: On November 28, 2003, Toronto Musicians' Association past-president J. Alan Wood passed away after a dedicated and dynamic career. He was President Emeritus of the TMA and a long-serving Vice President from Canada on the International Execu- tive Board of the American Federa- tion of Musicians of the Unjted States and Canada. Alan's accomplish- ments on behalf of Canadian musi- the word ''wholenote" in the subcians over his career are more than space allows but one of the most rewarding for him was his stewardship of the AFM-EPW Fund (Canada) which currently provides monthly benefits to over 1500 pensioners and beneficiaries. Throughout his career, Alan supported and promoted the education of young Canadian music talent. His commitment to the National Youth Orchestra of Canada was well known by all who knew Alan. In honour of Alan's career and in order to continue his dedication to the training of young Canadian musicians, the J. Alan Wood Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established with the support of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada and many of Alan's former colleagues. The scholarship is to provide assistance to talented needy NYOC students. The TMA urges you to consider becoming a financial supporter of the J. Alan Wood Memorial Scholarship. Any donations to the Scholarship will be used solely for the purposes of providing assistance to the students. The Scholarship would appreciate donations of any amount. All donations are tax deductible. Please make cheques payable to the NYOC - J. Alan Wood Memorial Scholarship Fund and send to the NYOC, 258 Adelaide St. E., Suite 400, Toronto, Ontario M5A IN!. For more info call 416-497-4702 or contact Barbara Smith, Executive Director of the NYOC. We'd like to hear from you: The TMA invites WholeNote readers to give us your feedback on this new column. If you have any suggestions for news items relating to members of the TMA, please forward them to Bri'!n@Blain.com. Please include ject line. SOLOIST AUDITIONS SING FOR THE LOVE OF OPERA? WE MIGHT HAVE A PART FOR YOU. The Toronto Opera Repertoire, under Artistic Director Giuseppe Macina invites trained singers to try out for a role. We will present 2 of: Offenbach's 17;ales of Hoffmann, Verdi's Rigoletto, and Lehar's The Merry Widow. ; ; 1i : r_e.nars qf)d BjlOnes are " particularly encoura.ged to audition. A41t1'"!s 2. · P . . m .; t

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