7 years ago

Volume 18 Issue 3 - November 2012

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Beat by Beat | Art of

Beat by Beat | Art of SongOn Singers andTheir TeachersHANS DE GROOTAs the latin epigram has it, Poeta nascitur, non fit: “a poet isborn, not made.” Is that also true of singers? Up to a point, yes.When one hears outstanding artists like Karina Gauvin or ColinAinsworth, one senses that there is an innate musicality which wouldsimply have to come out. Yet a young raw talent will not be ready for asolo career, not even Ainsworth (who studiedwith Darryl Edwards) or Gauvin (who whilestill a teenager studied with Catherine Robbin,later with Marie Daveluy in Montreal andPamela Bowden in Glasgow).There are several institutions in Torontoand elsewhere in Ontario that offer trainingto young singers. In the Faculty of Musicat the University of Toronto, Darryl Edwardsis the head of voice studies and LornaMacDonald holds the Lois Marshall chair. Theuniversity directory lists another ten voiceinstructors; they include a very senior figurein Mary Morrison along with well-knownmusicians such as Jean MacPhail and NathaliePaulin. There are also teachers of diction andpianists who provide vocal coaching. Onewill be able to get a sense of what the universityoffers in the Tuesday performance classesfor singers in the Edward Johnson Buildingon November 6, 20, 27 and December 4 atWalter Hall from 12:10pm to 1pm and alsoin the masterclasses with Edith Wiens inWendy Nielsen,right, with KristinaSzabó in theVancouver Opera’s2011 productionof La Clemenzadi Tito.the Macmillan Theatre November 5 from 4pm to 6pm and AdriannePieczonka in Walter Hall (art songs November 14 at 7pm; operaticarias on November 15 at noon).York University also has an extensive teaching program for singers.Catherine Robbin is the director of the classical voice studies programand other teachers include Stephanie Bogle, Norma Burrowesand Janet Obermeyer. On November 20 baritone Peter McGillivray willgive a masterclass from 11:30am to 2:30pm and he will be followedby soprano Wendy Nielsen on November 23 from 11:30am to 4pm.Both events will be at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, AccoladeEast Building.Other strong music faculties in Ontario are those of Wilfrid LaurierUniversity in Waterloo (Kimberley Barber, Leslie Fagan, BrandonLeis, Daniel Lichti) and the University of Western Ontario in London(Gwenlynn Little, Anita Krause, Frédérique Vézina and many others).In London there will be workshops for singers and vocal masterclasseson November 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 in Talbot College, Room 100 at1:30pm, a voice studio recital by Gloria Gassi on November 9 at 6pmand a masterclass with Adrianne Pieczonka on December 1 from noonto 2pm, both events in von Kuster Hall, UWO Music Building.Not all singers go through a university degree in music. IsabelBayrakdarian, who has a degree in engineering, studied withMacPhail, her first and only teacher. MacPhail has a very impressiveteaching record: Wallis Giunta was another of her students and it wasMacPhail who turned Giunta, an aspiring soprano, into a mezzo. Shealso taught Miriam Khalil and, among the most recent generation ofsingers, Erin Bardua, Beste Kalender, Sara Schabas and Taylor Strande.A complaint I have heard from voice students is that academicprograms are often so dominated by the requirements of the curriculumthat there is not enough time for vocal technique or points ofinterpretation. Clearly there is a lot to be said for the sustained pupilteacherrelationship that Gauvin enjoyed with Robbin or Bayrakdarianwith MacPhail. An alternative to study in a university program (orpossibly a supplement) is offered by the Glenn Gould School at theRoyal Conservatory. Here teachers include MacPhail (of course) andmany other distinguished artists such as Ann Monoyios, RoxolanaRoslak and Monica Whicher. Vocal coaching is provided by RachelAndrist and Brahm Goldhamer. Some indication of the quality ofadvanced students will be given this month by an evening of opera onNovember 16 and 17 in Mazzoleni Concert Hall at 7:30pm. (Later thisseason there will be a concert of opera arias and songs on February 2in Mazzoleni Concert Hall as well as the annual staged opera inKoerner Hall on March 20 and 22).What happens after a music degree or a conservatory diploma?Toronto Summer Music and the Toronto Summer Opera Lyric Theatreand Research Centre offer further training as does the graduate diplomaprogram offered by the Opera School at the University of Toronto.Some of the best young singers will be ableto enter the Ensemble Studio of the CanadianOpera Company. The Aldeburgh Connectionand Opera in Concert will always be lookingfor emerging talents; amateur choirs willneed soloists. Yet the road towards a full-timeprofessional career is not always easy, evenfor the most talented singers. One hopes thatnewly emerging singers will not have to go toEurope to have a career as has happened inthe past with Lilian Sukis, James McLean and(until recently) Adrianne Pieczonka.SOME OTHER EVENTSOn November 8 at 2pm Annamaria Eisler willperform a free concert of songs by MarleneDietrich at the Toronto Public Library, 40Orchard Blvd.On November 16 artists of the U of TFaculty of Music with guest AdriannePieczonka, soprano, will present “AnEvening of Song,” a free concert at 7:30pm inWalter Hall.At the Glenn Gould Studio on November 18 Off Centre Music Salonpresents “American Salon: Syncopated City – The Magic of New York,”with works by Sondheim, Gershwin, Bernstein and others, withsoloists Sarah Halmarson and Ilana Zarankin, sopranos, and VasilGarvanliev, baritone.There will be a free concert at Walter Hall at 12:10pm onNovember 22. Lorna MacDonald soprano, with Susan Hoeppner, flute,Stephen Philcox, piano, and Peter Stoll, clarinet, will perform musicby Gaveux, Roussel, Beckwith, Hoiby, Corigliano and Cook.On November 25 at 2pm in Mazzoleni Concert Hall, Carla Huhtanenwill be one of the soloists in a concert performance of Brian Current’sopera-oratorio Airline Icarus. (See cover story.)Also on November 25 Danielle Dudycha, soprano, and Martin Dubé,piano, will perform works by Rachmaninoff, Poulenc, Dvorak, de Fallaand Duparc at Gallery 345 at 8pm.On November 28 John Holland, baritone, and William Shookhoff,ALEX WATERHOUSE-HAYWARD24 November 1 – December 7, 2012

piano, will perform works by Ravel, Donizetti, Dvorak, Mozart andothers at 7:30pm in the Heliconian Hall.On November 29 from 6pm to 8pm the Canadian Opera Companywill hold its second Annual Ensemble Studio Competition in theRichard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.The Messiah season will be upon us in December but the ElmerIseler Singers are anticipating the annual flood by presenting theirperformance on November 30 in the Metropolitan United Churchat 8pm. The soloists will be Leslie Fagan, Lynne McMurtry, ColinAinsworth and Geoffrey Sirett.In Walter Hall on December 2 at 2:30pm the Aldeburgh Connectionwill be giving its second concert of the season with “MadameBizet: from Carmen to Proust.” The singers are Nathalie Paulin andBrett Polegato.On December 2 Carolyn Hague, soprano, and Marie-Line Ross,piano, will perform songs from musical theatre and from the classicalrepertoire in the Heliconian Hall at 2pm.On December 4 the Canadian Opera Company, in its free vocal series,will present arias and duets inspired by the Brothers Grimm in theRichard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at 12 noon.On December 7 at 7:30pm Aurélie Cormier, soprano, and BrunoCormier, baritone, will offer a free recital of French carols and otherChristmas music at the Newman Centre.AND BEYOND THE GTAOn November 8 at noon Patricia Green, mezzo-soprano, will be thesoloist in a free program of love songs by Canadian composers in theGoldschmidt Room, 107 MacKinnon Building, University of Guelph.On November 25 Monica Whicher, soprano, and Judy Loman, harp,will give a concert at Trinity United Church in Huntsville at 2pm.Hans de Groot is a concert-goer and active listener,who also sings and plays the recorder.He can be contacted at by Beat | On OperaMore to the MixThan MainstageCHRISTOPHER HOILENovember sees the continuation of the large scale operas thatopened in October from the Canadian Opera Company andOpera Atelier and adds to the mix fully staged operas fromsmaller companies and opera schools. Enriching the month still furtheris the impressive number and variety of operas in concert — somewith orchestra, some with piano.The operas continuing from October are Johann Strauss’s DieFledermaus and Opera Atelier’s period instrument production ofCarl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz, both of which concludeon November 3. For a fully staged professional opera productionthe next option is Opera York’s staging of Verdi’s La Traviata onNovember 1 and 3 at the Richmond Hill Centre for the PerformingArts ( Mirela Tafaj is Violetta, Ricardo Iannello isAlfredo and Jeffrey Carl is Germont. Sabatino Vacca conducts andPenny Cookson directs. The wood-lined auditorium of the RichmondHill Centre seats only 600 and makes an ideal venue for opera.Opera Schools: For other fully staged opera performances one hasto look to the various opera schools busy preparing the stars of tomorrow.The University of Toronto Faculty of Music Opera Division ( is presenting Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore fromNovember 22 to 25. The work, one of the most popular of all comicoperas, hasn’t been seen fully staged in Toronto since 1999. It tells ofGIOACHINO ROSSINIARMIDAin Italian with English SurtitlesIN TE NSE . V IR TUOSIC . F IE RY.A C A NA DIAN PR E MIERE.Edgar Ernesto Ramírez, Raphaëlle Paquette,Michael Ciufo, Christopher MayellMichael Rose, Music DirectorRobert Cooper, Chorus DirectorSUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2:30 PMGEORGE FRIDERIC HANDELORLANDOin Italian with English SurtitlesDavid Trudgen, Virginia Hatfield, The Aradia EnsembleKevin Mallon, ConductorSU NDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2:30 PMNovember 1 – December 7, 2012 25

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