8 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 7- April 2008


d ATORONTO,./ V tt::iSq_u~Larry BeckwithArtistic Direc:lorDerek Boyes&:~Nathalie LamurslereArtistic AssociatesTheatreFocus on opera 2From Wax Cylinders to HD Satellite Broadcasts:Live From The Met, 1901-2008BY PHIL EHRENSAFfOpera has been a pioneering adopter of new technologies since a late16th century circle ofltalian Renaissance intellectuals, inspired bythe revered "unities" of music and drama on the ancient Greekstage, invented the new art form . From the radical notion of sellingtickets on the open market rather than seeking aristocratic patronage,then using Early Modern Europe's new technologies to wow thesepaying audiences to the max, opera was music's original multimediaexperience.The Metropolitan Opera's new, worldwide High Definition satellitebroadcasts of live performances is only the latest turn in opera'songoing creative penchant for high tech. Take the first commercial"talkie" film: the 1927 premiere of Al Jolson' s The Jazz Singer,right? Wrong.The honour, in fact, goes to a 1907 U.K. filming ofGounod' s Faust, which spread across 22 reels. Likewise in 1937, avery new BBC television service demonstrated the potential of thismedium via a live broadcast of Pergolesi 's La Serva Padrona.Mark Schubin is the technological Merlin who gets the Met performancesup to the the satellites and back. He is also an enthusiastichistorian of cinema and television technology. His research is eloquenton the Met's vanguard operatic high tech role.It was 1901 , he tells me, when the Met pulled off the first recordingsof live opera performances via the new medium of wax cylinders.In 1931 live Saturday afternoon international broadcasts fromthe Met kicked off, becoming a staple for music lovers across theglobe. The Met also pioneered live stereo radio broadcasting in 1973.On the visual front, it organized its first live TV broadcasts in 1948,and, astonishingly, in 1952 pulled of the feat of a precursor of today'ssatellite transmissions - a live cine-cast to 27 theatres. No wonder,then, that when the new Metropolitan Opera House opened in 1966,thick, state-of-the-art television production cables were built into thewalls - infrastructure for the Met's live performance programmingfor the new PBS network. With great foresight, the cables were evenencased in grease, so as to be easily pulled out and replaced whenbetter technology's time came. Alas, when the digital era dawned,the grease had hardened into glue. The depasse cables are there untilthe Met's walls come down.Opera passe muraille. Was it only a few years ago that opera loversacross the planet were bemoaning the possible demise of the weeklyMet radio broadcast when longtime sponsor, poor little Texaco,pulled out? The new general manager of the Met, Peter Gelb, wasable to reverse that sad situation, and then some, with the HD cinemabroadcast initiative that kicked off in the autumn of 2006. Andthe present estimated audience of 100,000 people in sold-out cinematheatres across the globe is very likely just the beginning.Canada, as we shall see in a moment, has provided an especiallyenthusiastic market for the new HD broadcasts. Between a growingnumber ofCineplex venues from Quebec through British Columbia,and Empire venues in the Atlantic provinces, the proportion of Canadiancinema theatres participating in the Met HD broadcasts is considerablyhigher than what is already a hot market in the U.S.But first things being first, let's look at the large aesthetic claimsbeing made for the broadcasts:the Los Angeles Times' contentionArlene Mezzarollethat HD cinema opera is an entirely new art form; or (from the perspectiveof Lake Woe Begone, Minnesota, where nobody has everSanjay Talwar Andrew Mahonbeen known to exaggerate anything) Garrison Keillor's effulgent "aCavell WoodPeter Mahonlandmark triumph comparable to Caruso' s trip to Camden, NJ, in1904 to stick his head in a recording horn and sing 'Celeste Aida' sothat glorious voice could be heard in every town in America."Well, I decided to go to both the live and HD performances ofManon Lescaut, Peter Grimes and Tristan und Isolde to see for myself.And it has been a revelation.LIVE FROM TH E MET continues on page 5828 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM APRI L 1 - MA Y 7 2008

WE ARE All Music's CHILDRENby mJBuellAPRIL's Child ..."Tea wi JI be served - but I'd ratherhave a scotch and soda!"This Briton who followed his heartto a Canadian life rooted incollaboration and our own songs,will never lose his connection toBritten.Think you know who APRIL'schild is? Send your best guess tomusicschildren@thewholenote.comBe sure to send us your mailingaddress, just in case your name isdrawn!Winners will be selected byrandom draw among correctreplies received by April 15 2008.MARCH's Child ... waspianist and composer Ruth Watson HendersonRuth Watson Henderson has an international reputation as one ofCanada s leading composers and as an admired pianist and organist.For her lifetime in music, Ruth has been paid many great tributes bythe music community, receiving numerous awards and a fellowship.Honoring her 60th and 70th birthdays, several fine choirs performedentire concerts of her compositions including the Elmer lseler Singers,the Toronto Children s Chorus and the Oriana Women s Choir of Toronto.Currently the music director at Kingsway-Lambton UnitedChurch in Toronto, and in regular demand to accompany many fineensembles, Ruth is a member of SOCAN, the Canadian Music Centre,the Canadian League of Composers and the Association of CanadianWomen Composers.Earliest nmsica/ memory?In 1936, I accompanied my dad when he sang a song ("When the Bells inthe Lighthouse Ring Ding Dong") at a special church program.Other nmsicians in your family?My mother was an organist and choir director in several Toronto churches.My dad sang in her choirs but was not a professional musician. He did,however, like organ music, and built a pipe organ in our home when I wasgrowing up, so that he could come home and listen to my mother play Bachon the organ for him in the evenings.At the time the picture was taken ...First experiences of making nmsic?Mother started me at the piano before I was 2.At 5 I went to the RCM for lessons withViggo Kihl: the emphasis was all on my developmentas a pianist. I composed 9 short pianopieces when I was 4, but did not continue towrite until much later in life. I was not inspiredto write music seriously until I worked withElmer lseler and the Festival Singers.The point at which you began to think ofyourself as a nmsician?I always knew music was the focal point ofmy life. I looked forward to expressingmyself through music in whatever opportunities came along. Those opportunities weremore limited for awhile when my 4 childrenwere young, but I grew increasingly activeagain as they grew older.Do you remember ever thinking youwould do anything else?Photo circa 1952, at Pinner Park At the beginning of high school I gave up myJunior School,Middlesex,England. piano lessons so I would have more time forschool, closed the piano unti I the end ofSept., then called Alberto Guerrero (my teacher)back to say I couldn't possibly go on withoutplaying. He calmly said he knew I wouldbe back.Face to face with little Ruth in that photo, is there anything you wouldlike to say or ask?Music is a joy that will always be with you in some form. No one can takeaway your love of music. Do you know how lucky you are to be surroundedby music?!!Tickets & Recordings!!CONGRATULATIONSIDOURWINNERSKimber Jonah and Mary Ann MacKenzie each win a pair of tickets for the AmadeusChoir's concert For the Beauty of the Earth (May 3), conducted by Lydia Adams,premiering the winning composition in the Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Competition.Ruth will accompany the choir in a set of her own pieces called, "The Magicof God's World." The concert will also include works by John Rutter and R. MurraySchafer. Guest: the Bach Children's Chorus, Linda Beaupre director. LauraAdlersand Frances Cooper will each receive a wonderful CD- Sing all ye joyful: Music ofRuth Watson Henderson, Elmer lseler Singers, Lydia Adams, Conductor CBCRecordsMVCD 1167.Musics Children gratefully acknowledges the generous and good-humouredparticipation of Anne Kear. the Amadeus Choir, Jessie lseler, the Elmer /selerSingers, and Jim Tennyson.There was always music going on in our home. Friends often came by toplay and sing. I had not started kindergarten and had Jots of time to spend at Know someone whose photo should appear in this contest?the piano.Contact us at musicschildren@thewholenote.comindex of advertisersACADEMY CONCERT S ERJES 38 CHRJST C HURCH D EER PARK 25, 37 LoNG & M CQ UADE 16 PETER M AHON 18 TALLIS CHOIR 45A CADIA UNIVERSITY 49 CONTINUUM CONTEMFORARY M USIC 39 M ARJORJE SPARKS VOICE STUDIO 55 RCM COMMUNITY SCHOOL 53 TORONTO A u-STAR B 1G BAND 20A CROBAT M USIC 57 COSMO M usic 21 M IKROKOSMOS 58 RCM GLENN G OULD SCHOOL 31 T ORONTO ClASSICAL SINGERS 45A DI B RAUN 52 EGLINTON ST. GEORGE'S M ISSISSAUGA C HORAL SOCIETY 44 REACHING OITT THROUGH Music 43 TORONTO CONSORT 32ALDEBURGH CONNECTION 34, 42 UNITED CHURCH 46 M OOREDALE CONCERTS 33 R£MENYI H OUSE OF M USIC 15 TORONTO MASQUE THEATRE 28ALEXANDER )ACOBCHUK 45 ELORA FESTIVAL SINGERS 48 M USEUM OF C HILDHOOD 34 ROEL OlA Y I NVESTMENT A DVISOR 57 TORONTO M ENDELSSOHN CHOIR 43ALEXANDER SINGERS & Pu. YERS 43 EMPIRE THEATRESIDIGJSCREEN 27 M USIC GAUERY 22 ROY THOMSON H AU 4 T ORONTO OPERETTA THEATRE 26Au THE KING'S VOICES 41 ENSEMBLE TRYPTYCH M USIC P AD 58 ROY AL YORK ROAD LJ NITED TORONTO PHILHARMONIA 34AMADEUS CHOIR 44 CHAMEER CHOIR 36 M USIC TORONTO 13, 30, 34, 42 CHURCH 57 TORONTO SCHOOL OF MUSIC 38AMERICAN SOUND C OMPANY 67 ESPRJT O RCHESTRA 2 NEW M USIC CONCERTS 22, 35 SCARBOROUGH B EL CANTO CHOIR 18 T ORONTO SINFONIETTA 53A MICI 33 ETOBICOKE PHILHARMONIC N o STRJNGS THEATRE SHOW ONE 19 TORONTO SYMPHONY O RCHESTRAAMOROSO 51 ORCHESTRA 40 PRODUCTIONS 54 SINE NOMINE 41 6, 71, 72A NALEKTA 65 GEORGE H EINL 16 NUMUS 47 SINFONIA T ORONTO 3 1 T ORONTO Y OUTH WIND ORCHESTRAANNEX SINGERS 35 GEORGETOWN BACH CHORALE 48 OLD MILL I NN AND SPA 25 SINGING Our 56 9, 41ART OF JAZZ 69 GLENVIEIV J'RESBYTERIAN CHURCH 39 OPERA ATELIER 19 SOUND POST 16 U OF T FACULTY OF M USIC 31ASSOCIATES OF THE TSO 40 H ANNAFORD ST. SILVER BAND OPERA By REQUEST 27 SOUNDAXIS 23, 24 ULYSSEAN SOCIETY OF TORONTO 57ATMA ClASSIQUE 5 21, 35 OPERA IS 26 SOUNDSTREAMS CANADA 17 VIA SALZBURG 40B ACH CHILDREN'S C HORUS 46 H ARKNETT MUSICAL SERVICES 20 0RGANIX 7 ST. CLEMENT'S ANGLICAN CHURCH 36 VILlAGE VOICES 46B ELL' A RTE SINGERS 44 H ELICONIAN H ALL 57 ORPHEUS CHOIR 46 Sr. ) AMES' CATHEDRAL 37, 56 VoxwORKS 42CANADIAN O PERA COMPANY 27 JUBILATE SINGERS 32 0SHAIVA D URHAM STEPHEN SA TORY 41 WHOLENOTE ClASSIFIEDS 57CANADIAN SINFONIETTA 32 KALEID CHORAL FESTIVAL 53 SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 49 STEVE 'S M usic STORE 20 WHOLENOTE MARKETPlACE 59CANCLONE SERVICES 58 L' ATELIER GRIGORIAN 63 PASQUALE BROS. 57 SYRINX 33, 45 W OMEN'S M USICAL CLUB 14CATHEDRAL BLUFFS SYMPHONY 39 LIVING ARTS CENTRE 9 PAX CHRISTI CHORALE 41 T AFELMUSIK ] l , ] 2 W ORLDS OF Music 52APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2008 WWW. TH EWHO LENOTE.COM 29

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