7 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 7- April 2008

The Great Italian Opera

The Great Italian Opera Housesyou've always wanted to visit!2 operas at La Scala, Milan! 1 at La Fenice, Venice!2 at the Verona Amphitheatre!Sun. June 22nd- Tues. July lst, 2008 *Sumptuous summer weekendat the Glimmerglass Opera!Handel's Julius Caesar in EgyptWagner's Das LiebesverbotBellini's I Capuleti e i MontecchiCole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate4 nights at the***** Otesaga ResortLuxury coach transfersThurs August 2lst - Sun 24th, 2008 *Strauss' soaring sopranosa sybaritic fall vocal weekend at***** Relais et Chateau, The Inn at Manitou ResortEARLY Musicby Frank NakashimaToronto Masque Theatre was founded in 2003 by Larry Beckwith,with a mandate to perform multi-media works combining elements ofmusic, theatre, and dance, taking their inspiration from the coreBaroque repertoire of masques and semi-operas. I recently had thepleasure of speaking with Larry.Your brochure talks about "multi-media performance". Sounds tome like there's something there for everyone?We define "masque" as being a unique combination of music, spokenword and dance, though this year we also featured a short filmin our fall production, Commedia. We also now have a brilliantvisual artist, Caroline Guilbault, who helps to flesh out the visualpart of the masque, although we generally try not to emphasize oneart form over another. But, yes, there's always lots of differentthings happening on stage that would appeal to the it the blend that makes TMT unique?We like to think so! I've been fascinated with baroque dance for along time now, and I'm in awe of Marie-Nathalie Lacoursiere'stalent. She's so musical and has a great flair for the dramatic aspectsof both dance and music. I'm also well-versed in theatre and our"associate" (actor) Derek Boyes is very music-minded. So, you see,there's a great cross-pollination that goes on ... music, dance, andtheatre kind of flow together.Tell me a little bit about your next show, The Indian Queen.The Indian Queen is one of Purcell's "semi-operas". The play waswritten by John Dryden and Sir Robert Howard, and Purcell wrotemusic to enhance and complement the story. The story has to dowith the political wrangles between the Incas and Aztecs in Mexicoand the struggles of Montezuma vis d vis Zempoalla, the IndianQueen. However, this is all a backdrop for the deeper human questionsof love and ambition, etc.I understand you 're producing a cycle of these semi-operas. Wheredoes this one fit in?It is the fourth in TMT's Purcell Cycle - we began in 2005 withFairy Queen, produced Dioclesian in 2006, Dido and Aeneas in2007, and next year, - the 350th anniversary of Purcell's birth, theCycle culminates with a production of King Arthur. We often hearthis music "in concert," but TMT does full productions, featuringthe play and dancing, really giving the full spirit of what ThomasBetteron's Dorset Garden experience in the 1690s must have beenlike!Great music, eh?It's the best! I fall more and more deeply in love with Purcell's music.It's so humble, human and humorous. He has tremendous craft,balance and harmonic interest and, most importantly, he has a greatway with a tune!Baroque dancing too?Yes, this is one of the most gratifying things about TMT: workingwith Marie-Nathalie and making dance a major part of each of ourproductions. She does all the choreography herself, as well, fromexisting sources and from her own fantastic imagination.Was this originally conceived as a "masque" - a work intended forthe music theatre stage? He composed others, didn't he?Yes, this is the last of his semi-operas, written in 1695, the last yearof his I ife. It was intended for the music theatre stage, with actors,dancers, and musicians! He contributed music to 40 or so theatre2 recitals, 2 lectures,productions, like The Tempest, Abdelazer, the Gordian Knotgourmet food at the height of the fall colours Untied .. .. and his greatest and most celebrated shows were The FairyCall the Inn at 416-245-5606Fri. September 26th - Sun 28th, 2008* Call Bill Andrews at NEW WAVE TRAVEL 416-928-311 x 224Queen, Dioclesian, King Arthur and The Indian Queen. Dido andAeneas wasn't as well-known during his lifetime, though it's muchbetter known now.26 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2008

You 're not actually "re-creating"or reviving a musical theatrepiece in so-called "baroquestyle" though?We are certainly informed bybaroque style. We play on periodinstruments and get singers,dancers and actors who are sympatheticto the style, but essentiallyit's a very modern approach,with sensibilities that arefirmly rooted in the 21 st century.I don't like the museum approachto historical music theatre .... buton the other hand, I like to thinkthat everything we do is in goodtaste! I like to think that Purcellwould be pleased with the spiritthat we bring to his pieces.And you commission similar newworks for the stage?Benjamin Butterfield, ArleneMazerolle and Darren Keay in theToronto Masque Theatre'sFairy Queen (2005)We've commissioned four pieces,so far , with a fifth in the works for 2009. James Rolfe, AbigailRichardson, Omar Daniel, and now Dean Burry, have, and are,composing for us . They love the challenges of the early instrumentsand creating something that includes movement, text and music.How do you go about producing shows like this? It must beexhausting .Yeah, but thankfully, I have a lot of friends! I've been very fortunateto work with top-notch singers, instrumentalists, actors anddancers, all of whom seem totally captured by the energy of TMTand all of whom I love and consider to be friends. Yes, it is exhaustingtrying to put it all together, but completely worth it once itcomes together. I like to think that one of my strengths is creating aperformance environment that is fun, relaxed, egalitarian, supportiveand respectful of everyone's input. That being said, I am the leader!But with gentleness, warmth and a respect for everyone's strengths.Also on this month:Like TMT, Opera Atelier draws upon the aesthetics and ideals of thel 7th, 18th and early 19th centuries, making them uniquely relevant tomodern audiences. (April 26, 27, 29, May 1-3). www.operaatelier.comUnlike the TMT, the next Tafelmusik program of arias from some ofHandel's greatest operas - Julius Caesar, Tamerlano, Rodelinda andRinaldo, is not staged, but rather performed in a "concert" setting. Expectexceptional singing from two of the world's renowned singers ofthis repertoire, Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor and English sopranoCarolyn Sampson (April 9-13). www.tafelmusik.orgWithout having to sit through a church service, you can hear Bach'scantata, Liebster Gott, wann werd ich sterben? (May 3) and enjoy coffeeand refreshments afterward. www.torontochamberchoir.caYou can imagine that you are at St. Mark's in Venice, listening toCavalli's Missa Concertata , for voices, strings, brass and continua,when the Toronto Consort mus'ically transport you from their homespace in Toronto (April 4-5).www.torontoconsort.orgIf you really do want to experiencea recreation of an authenticEvensong for King Charles I(May 3), why not go to the TallisChoir's program, "Music ofthe Chapel Royal".www. tall ischoir .cornFrank T. Nakashima( is thePresident of the Toronto EarlyMusic Centre, a non-profit charitableorganization.APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2008Attention: Opera SingersDo you have a dream rolethat you want orneed to perform?It is easier than you think!More info: www.OperabyRequest. caoperc} by requestDirec1or: Wilham ShookhoHWWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM~ ca nadian OPERA companyFOUR SEASONS CENTREFOR THE PERFORM I NG A RTS27

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