8 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 7 - April 2011

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We Are All Music’s

We Are All Music’s ChildrenApril’s Child Marie BérardMJ BUELLWho is May’s Child?The Diva wears diapers, and is justwalking, but already has a smile anda handbag that say “watch out forme – I’m going places!” This elegantheight, register, and an acclaimedinternational career“La Donna e mobile” indeed! Shewill inhabit many favourite Verdicharacters – best known, perhaps forLeonore in Il Trovatore.Her Un ballo in maschera debutwas in 2010 (Lyric Opera, Chicago –her other hometown) but clearly hercostume jewellery began in babyhood.In 2010, she made her Aida debut ina production which did NOT featureballgowns.To date she has performed onlyone role with the Canadian OperaCompany, although has lived nearToronto for 10 years and is married toa Canadian.Think you know who our mysterychild is? Send your best guess provide your mailing addressjust in case your name is drawn!Winners will be selected by randomdraw among correct replies receivedby April 20, 2011.Photo taken 1970, nearChicago, Illinois.Concertmaster of the Canadian OperaCompany Orchestra, and previouslya member of the Toronto SymphonyOrchestra, Marie Bérard is also a chambermusician, soloist, recording artist and a passionateteacher. Bérard is a member of TrioArkel as well as the ARC Ensemble whichhas tours extensively (Europe, China, USA)and had had two Grammy Award nominationsfor their recordings on the Sony label.The ARC Ensemble has a Koerner Hallcoming up on April 26. Over the course of aingwith The Art of Time Ensemble, Amici,ArrayMusic, and New Music Concertsto name just a few. Bérard also holds theposition of associate concertmaster of theMainly Mozart festival in San Diego.Born and raised in Trois-Rivières,Quebec, Marie Bérard attended high schoolat Collège Marie de L’Incarnation, a privateschool run by very musically enlightenednuns for kids with musical talent. “I didn’thave to take Physics so I could practiseduring school hours. Of course now I knownothing of Physics …” She came to Torontoto study at UofT with David Zafer didsummer programs withLorand Fenyves, SydneyHarth and Nathan Milsteinas well as the NationalYouth Orchestra.Do you remember the child-hood photo being taken? Notclearly but I remember sewing that funnyjumper-dress! It was taken at a family gatheringat my aunt’s house.Your earliest musical memory? Coming homefrom school for lunch every day to the soundof my mom playing a recording of Brahms’violin concerto with Christian Ferras.Listening to my dad come home from workand practise every day was a determiningfactor in developing the idea that music isjust part of life, it’s what you do and it’s themost natural thing.Other musicians in your family? Everyone isa musician! My dad (in the picture with me,pianist, graduate of the Conservatoire, mymom is a wonderful singer, a contralto, themost amazing of female voices, my sisteris a hugely talented cellist and I have anaunt who has had a very successful seriesof house concerts for the past 30 years. Mybrother doesn’t play anything but at heart,he’s probably also a musician!What is your first memory of singing (yourselfor anyone else)? I have a very precious cassetterecording of myself singing “J’ai perdule do de ma clarinette” at around age 5! Read the full interview at PIERRE RACINEPublicity, press kits& image consultingfor performers416.544.1803www.lizpr.comCONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS! HERE’S WHAT THEY WON –Lise Ferguson: a pair of tickets to Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos (April 30-May 29).Sir Andrew Davis’s Canadian Opera Company conducting debut features Adrianne Pieczonka,Richard Margison Jane Archibald and Alice Coote (also COCdebuts); and of course our wonderful COC Orchestra with MarieBérard! Directed by Neil Armfield. Mary McClymont: a pair oftickets to Musical Offerings (May 15). Marie Bérard is the guestof ESPRIT Orchestra for a concert which includes GubaidulinaOffertorium (concerto for violin and orchestra, 1980) centered aroundthe royal theme of Frederick the Great from Bach’s A Musical Offering(BWV 1079). Also: Pauk’s Portals of Intent; Harman’s Coyote Soul (worldpremiere & Esprit Commission) and Gougeon’s Phenix. Noah Watsonwins Two Roads to Exile: String Sextet – Adolf Busch; String Quintet– Walter Brunets. Chamber music by two composers of very differentbackgrounds who experienced equally different exiles: the result ofNazi persecution which destroyed their careers. Both tonal pieces aregorgeously shaped and coloured on this disc, demonstrating how theydeserve a new life in the post-serialist 21stcentury. (John Terauds) Nominated for a 2010Grammy award in the best chamber musiccategory (RCA Red Seal 88697 644464490 2).Music’s Children gratefully acknowledges Joan, Phil, Randy, Amanda, Duncan and Svetlana,the COC, ESPRIT, and the ARC Ensemble.60 thewholenote.comApril 1 - May 7, 2011

Book ShelfPAMELA MARGLESLotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journeyby Lotfi Mansouri with Donald ArthurNortheastern University Press344 pages, photos; .95 director of the Canadian Opera Company,he wrote a sunny memoir called An OperaticLife. Now, almost thirty years later he hasfollowed up with this far more detailed, butdecidedly bittersweet, chronicle of his life.It’s a candid and probing look at the worldof opera. And it’s especially compellingbecause, right from his lonely, privilegedearly years in his native Tehran, Mansourihas led a thoroughly fascinating life.Mansouri certainly left his mark on theCOC, as he proudly points out, calling the chapter apteronhistwelvetwelveyears in Toronto “From Provincialism to World-Class.” Under hisleadership, the COC Orchestra and the COC Ensemble were estab-and the CBC began broadcasting COC performances on radio andtelevision. But his most far-reaching legacy – he credits his wifeMidge with the original idea – is the invention of Surtitles, whichhave revolutionized the way opera is presented throughout the world.Mansouri set up a Canadian Composer’s Program, though it wascancelled by his successor, Brian Dickie. He produced R. MurraySchafer’s Patria 1 Patria II, quite a differentopera altogether), and commissioned Harry Somers’ Mario and theMagician. So it’s not just discouraging, but downright perplexing toa composer for A Streetcar Named Desire (André Previn’s scorewas a great success for him later in San Francisco). After StephenSondheim(!) turned it down, “I checked out Canadian composers,of course, but most of them were academic navel-gazers … Mycomposer had to understand smoky jazz and genteel decay. With allrespect, Toronto could never inspire that kind of music – Canadiansare too hygienic.”Though his time in Toronto was “exciting, joyous and highlycollaborative,” his frustrations over trying to get a new opera housebuilt here drove him to the San Francisco Opera in 1988. Althoughhe had spent a good deal of his directing career there, he had noinkling of the far more insidious frustrations that awaited him. Theearthquake that wreaked havoc on his early seasons was nothingcompared to the betrayals that eventually forced him out.The issues weren’t merely personal. It was his traditional approachto presenting opera, which for Mansouri meant “to readbetween the lines without neglecting to read the lines,” that wasattacked by those who wanted to see a director’s personal stamp on aproduction. Mansouri, who started as a singer, felt his own work asa director was being written off as not just old-fashioned, but, evenmore disturbingly, as lightweight. So at the heart of this book lies aplea for staging operas by using the score as the starting point, notthe director’s vision.Mansouri is a born storyteller. Among his many delightful anecdotes,my favourite tells how the irascible conductor Otto Klemperer,who had been hideously rude to Mansouri, fell asleep with his headon Mansouri’s shoulder during a dress rehearsal. “No amount oftraining can prepare anyone for a situation like that.” At least hekeeps laughing – and making us laugh – in this wonderful memoir.Finding Your Voiceby Brian W. HandsBastian Publishing146 pages, illustrations; $16.95It seems inevitable for singers to sufferfrom vocal problems at some point, whetherit’s merely a cold, or something lingering,like nodules on their vocal chords. If theyhappen to be in Toronto, they are likelyDr. Brian Hands, whose practice includessingers from the Canadian Opera Companyas well as visiting recitalists. When Handstreats a singer, as he explains in this conciseguide to vocal care, he looks not just at thevoice but at the singer’s whole lifestyle andgeneral health. Since he sees the voice as and emotional state. This holistic approach might be too probingfor a singer who is just trying to get through a performance. Butfortunately this book is full of advice about dealing practically withall kinds of problems.“Think of yourself as a vocal athlete,” Hands advises, consideringprevention as much as treatment. So that means avoidingparties because of the temptations to talk too loud, eat and drinkways to train or discipline children or pets.”As a doctor, Hands treats the voice divorced from its ability tomessa di voce as a vocalexercise rather than the expressive device singers value. But it’s thisall “voice users,” not just singers, but actors, broadcasters, lawyers,auctioneers, teachers and therapists, as well as anyone interested inhow the voice works. Pamela Margles can be reached at 1 - May 7, 2011 61

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