8 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 7 - April 2011

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THE OPERA EXCHANGE ADULTS FACULTY FULL-TIME STUDENTSFREE for U of T STUDENTSARIADNE AUF NAXOSFrom A to ZInternational and local expertslead an in-depth explorationof the themes, music and storyof Strauss’s opera Ariadne aufNaxos, followed by a paneldiscussion with membersof the COC’s creative team,including conductor Sir AndrewDavis, and soprano 416-363-8231Presented in partnership with:SATURDAY, MAY 14, 20119 a.m. to 11 a.m.Coffee 8 a.m.Walter Hall, Faculty of MusicUniversity of Toronto80 Queen’s Park, Torontowith Alison Keith (U of T Classics),Bryan Gilliam (Duke UniversityMusicology) and members of theCanadian Opera CompanyFACULTY OF MUSICThe Concert Opera Group Darryl Edwards, Artistic Directorpresents:Highlights from Richard Wagner’sJ. Patrick Raftery: TannhäuserJoni Henson: ElisabethPeter McGillivray: WolframConstantine Meglis: LandgraveKatarzyna Sadej: VenusClodagh Earls: ShepherdJ. Patrick Raftery, Music DirectorChristopher Mokrzewski, PianistFriday May 13th, 7:30 p.m.Runnymede United Church432 Runnymede Road, TorontoTickets at or at the door Adults, Students/Seniorsand a new work by Ana Sokolovic,composer of Queen of Puddings’The Midnight Court.As mentioned at the outset,entering the lists this month withRudolf Friml’s isthe brand new company, WishOpera, founded by soprano ToniaCianciulli. Last March, WishOpera made its debut with concertsof opera arias at the Sandra Faireand Ivan Fecan Theatre at YorkUniversity. A production of Don announced for June thatyear never took place. CianciulliWish Opera FounderTonia Cianciulli.loved the York University venue but realized that to be successfuldining options before and after the show. Luckily, she came acrossthe John Bassett Theatre located in the Metro Toronto ConventionCentre. The little-known venue is “a real gem” in Cianciulli’s words.Self-contained, with its own entrance onto Front Street, it has 1330seats, an orchestra pit and adjacent rooms for receptions. niche in Toronto’s opera scene and creating a following, but she feels“Wish Opera has something different to offer that will appeal notjust to opera lovers, but people in the fashion industry, the designindustry, art, photography – we’ll have something for everyone.”Wish Opera “seeks to promote and nurture and gain awareness forCanadian talent in all mediums.”For , Cianciulli has assembled a wide-ranging groupof artists and designers including Charles Pachter and aboriginalartists Maynard Jonny Jr. and Bernice Gordon, whose artworksprojected on stage will provide backdrops for the action. Gordon isalso contributing a hand-carved totem pole and serves as an advisorin revising the 1924 book by Otto Harbach and Oscar HammersteinII to make it more sensitive to aboriginal people. Finally, ratherthan calling Malabar to rent costumes, Cianciulli wants to makeaudiences aware of current Canadian designers. Thus, the show willfeature fashions created by young Quebec designers Denis Gagnonand Marie Saint Pierre along with Girl Friday, Cabaret, BreeynMcCarney and Natasha Lazarovic. The furnishings and chandelierswill also be provided by Canadian companies.Cianciulli says the idea of fully-staged opera came from conductor Kerry Stratton, who lovesthe music. Before he emigrated to the U.S., Friml was a pupilRockies about the love between a French Canadian girl and anEnglish Canadian miner, was a great hit in New York and London.and Jeanette MacDonald, it became the archetypal image of Canadafor many non-Canadians. There has likely not been a professionalstaging of the work since a production at the Shaw Festival in 1981.The Wish Opera production will be directed by Lesley Ballantynewith French Canadian mezzo Maude Brunet in the title role andtenor Todd Delaney as her lover. The cast also includes singersOlivier Laquerre, Michael York, Deborah Overes, Sarah ChristinaSteinert, Anne Marie Ramos, Dan Mitton and actor SundanceCrowe. As part of its community outreach, Wish Opera sponsors theattendance of children to special performances, donates a portion ofall ticket revenue to the Hospital for Sick Children and sends artiststo perform at Sick Kids’ in-house theatre. For tickets and moreinformation visit or call 1-877-700-3130. ThoughApril may already be crowded with opera, Cianciulli knows thatthere are still not enough opportunities for Canadian singers at home.If Wish Opera can provide those opportunities and make Canadiansmore aware of all the artists in their midst, it will have performedan invaluable service. Its next project is Gounod’s on October 28 and 29 this year. We wish them all the best. Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera and theatre.He can be contacted at thewholenote.comApril 1 - May 7, 2011

Beat by Beat / Early MusicMasques to MassesSIMONE DESILETSLast season, I attended an absolutely beguiling production of adouble bill: two Molière comedies, Le Bourgeois Gentilhommeand Le Malade Imaginaire, performed as masques, with acting,dance, and their respective music by Lully and Charpentier playedby a period instrument orchestra. Though presented in 21st centuryToronto, these pieces had all the charm, wit, inventiveness andsparkle that one could imagine in 17th century French comedy. Thepresenting company, Toronto Masque Theatre, has another pair ofmasques upcoming: the story of Orpheus and Euridice as told in the17th century by M.A. Charpentier and in the 21st century by JamesRolfe (music) and André Alexis (text).I posed a number of questions to TMT artistic director LarryBeckwith. Here’s a little of what he told me:So what is a masque? “music theatre that involves some combination of the performing arts– music, dance, poetry – and pieces that explore a common theme orstory from different points of view.”Your three artistic directors(Beckwith, Marie-NathalieLacoursière and DerekBoyes) are a goldmine ofcomplementary talents!How did you find each otherand get together to producemasques? “I’ve knownMarie-Nathalie Lacoursièrefor close to 15 years nowand think she’s an absolutegenius. She was in thegreat Elaine Biagi-Turner’snetwork of dancers andwe worked together a fewtimes, back when I playedwith Arbor Oak (baroquetrio). In addition to being aMarie-Nathalie Lacoursièrein Toronto Masque Theatre’sNovember 2010Masque of the Muses.meticulous dancer, she has a deep knowledge of music and theatre,really goes for it. I met Derek Boyes on an Opera Atelier tour toSingapore about 12 years ago and we hit it off. He’s a very specialactor. There’s a powerful humanity to all of his work. We work verywell together. I feel tremendously lucky to be working with them ona regular basis!”PHOTO TARA MCMULLENPerformances fromcurrent and paststudents ofMargot’s studioCome celebrateMargot’s many yearsof contribution in theflute community! suggested donation416 293 1302csimonlee@gmail.comsamantha.flutist@gmail.comMARGOT RYDALL’s40th Faculty Anniversary GalaThursday, May 26, 2011 @ 7:30 pmHeliconian Hall (35 Hazelton Avenue) thoughts on how masque is, and is not, related to opera? “I thinkmasque is very closely related to what opera was in its beginnings.Thinking of Monteverdi’s Orfeo (another amazing version of thestory) of 1607, you have a strong literary base, lots of room for dancingand an intimate and charming setting. Of course, most peoplenow think of opera as being very grand and larger than life, whichalso relates to one of the goals of masque, which is to take the audienceout of their own lives for a little while and beguile them with acombination of art forms.”How have Toronto audiences responded to your productions? “I amamazed and delighted at the extent to which Toronto has embracedTMT. Our audience continues to grow and we offer gentle educationaltalks and material to give them a context for what they areseeing. At the end of our seventh season, we look back and arevery proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and look forward toin the plans!”Masques of Orpheus takes place on May 5 and 6 (there’s aApril 1 - May 7, 2011 17

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