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Volume 18 Issue 7 - April 2013

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  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Arts
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  • Singers

Meistersinger, and

Meistersinger, and Siegfried Wagner’s first edition signed piano scoreof Tristan und Isolde.For Gooding, opera is a total work of art. “When I come out of thetheatre,” he says, “I want to savour the production in my mind. I don’twant to see singers out of role. I’m interested in performance withvoices in context.” Like Paradis, Gooding’s recreational travel is plannedaround opera. He also admits he is a Ring junkie, and has seen one ayear during the last 20 years. As an unabashed Wagnerian, Gooding sawall seven performances of the COC’s Tristan, plus the dress rehearsal.And on the subject of collecting, opera fan Matina Kronos has keptall her opera programs. When they got too bulky, she photocopied thetitle page and cast list, and put them into binders. The collection is atreasure trove of opera performances from around the world spanningalmost 40 years. She and a friend went to so many Ring cyclesthat they called themselves the Rhine Sisters. Kronos loves opera forthe drama of the music, but she also has a special place in her heart forsingers. For example, when Ben Heppner won the Met auditions, shethrew him a big party. She is known for adopting singers, like havingthe COC Ensemble members over for dinner.Former editor John McConnell is an “inner workings” fan. His fandommanifests itself by going to performances and reading books likeRudolf Bing’s autobiography because of its insider information. He lovesthe interviews on the Met in HD broadcasts because he gets to see theartist as a person. He’s fascinated by what goes into making a production.One of his favourite opera events was the recent Covent Gardenlive streaming of a day in the life of an opera company. “I’m not interestedin direct contact with a performer,” he says. “I’d rather read aboutCaballé in the audience at the Met, taking out a chicken from her handbagat intermission and eating it.”Ken Moy is a retired United Church minister. He and fellow studentWilliam Littler (of the Toronto Star) joined the extracurricular ErnestMacMillan Club at Britannia High School in Vancouver because theyloved classical music. Through the club, they got to usher at the GeorgiaAuditorium. (They both ended up in Toronto and are still friends.)Moy admits to being influenced by negatives, for example, losing interestin Kathleen Battle when her shenanigans at the Met came to light.“I’m not into facts and details,” he says. “I don’t want to know aboutsingers’ private lives. I just want to see opera. You can’t beat the liveexperience and the warmth of the music.”For semi-retired university professor Wayne Fairhead, operaled to a feast for the stomach. His background is theatre, and combinedwith his love of classical music, opera was an inevitability inhis life. He and five other friends had Saturday subscriptions. Eachchose one opera and designed a meal inspired by the place or timeor theme. The mandate was to create a memorable culinary experience.For example, for Madama Butterfly, Fairhead learned to makesushi and teriyaki chicken. For Salome, the main dish for his MiddleEast dinner was lamb in yoghurt sauce, but he had desperate timestrying to find rose water, which was one of the key ingredients. “Wedid have a spirited discussion and analysis of the opera before dinner,”says Fairhead.As a humorous operatic sideline, one member of the opera eatingclub had two cats called Carmen and Eboli. Another had twodachshunds called Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya. A third had a poodleobsessed with Joan Sutherland. When an LP of the diva was put onthe record player, the dog would come running from wherever hewas in the house and sit beside a speaker.The closest an opera fan can get to opera singers is by being in theopera. Nicole Stawikowski is a supernumerary with the COC. She wasa whore in The Tales of Hoffmann and is one of the nuns in the upcomingDialogues des Carmélites. Stawikowski, a U of T English major, isalso an aspiring opera singer who studies privately. In fact, when shegraduates this year, she is taking time off to concentrate on her singingbefore applying for a master’s degree. She found out about being asupernumerary through a COC tweet.Says Stawikowski: “The leads in Hoffmann were so nice and talkedto me about technique. I’ve already contacted Adrianne Pieczonka andshe’s agreed to talk to me during Carmélites.” Stawikowski also addsthat during Hoffmann, mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal, who has a master’sdegree in science, helped her pass her astronomy exam. “WhenI’m in the wings and I hear the orchestra begin to play,” she says, “I gettears in my eyes because I’m part of it all — the creation of art for thousandsof people.”At 19, U of T biology student Kip Sawyer is new to opera. He startedwith musical theatre then gradually made the transition to opera. Onefactor was reading that Rebecca Caine, star of The Phantom of the Opera,was singing opera. Sawyer now ushers at the Four Seasons Centre, buthe still buys a ticket through the COC’s Under 30 program to see a performance.He calls himself a “listening fan” and never goes backstage.“Voices and their emotional expression call to me the most, particularlysopranos and mezzos,” says Sawyer. “Opera is a voyage of discovery.”Jazz singer Sophia Perlman has spent 20 years with Canadian Children’sOpera Company, first as a singer, and now in charge of schooloutreach. She also directs the CCOC’s two youngest choirs. Perlmanis hoping to plant the seeds for fans of the future by creating originaloperas with the students. “I want to light up their brains as mine waslit up by opera,” she says. “I want to convince them that opera is notjust by dead people. I want to make opera a vital art form for another200 years.”Paula Citron is a Toronto-based arts journalist. Her areas of specialinterests are dance, theatre, opera and arts commentary.10 | April 1 – May 7, 2013 thewholenote.com

KOERNER HALL IS:“A beautiful space for music ”THE GLOBE AND MAILSUNDAY, APRIL 7, 2013 3PMKOERNER HALLCameronCarpenterAt Carpenter’s performances“flamboyant presentation goeshand in hand with unquestionedvirtuosity.” (The New York Times)He will perform his Scandal fororgan and orchestra with theKitchener-Waterloo Symphony,as well as solo pieces andspontaneous improvisationswith audience participation.FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013 8PMKOERNER HALLRoyal ConservatoryOrchestra conducted byTito MuñozHear the RCO perform Stewart Goodyear’sCount Up, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastiqueand Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 withpiano soloist Rudin Lengo, winner ofthe annual Glenn Gould SchoolConcerto Competition.THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013 7:30PMMAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLThe Glenn Gould SchoolNew Music EnsembleBrian Current curates and directs aprogram of cutting-edge contemporarymusic, including Steve Mackey’s Deal,Gyorgy Ligeti’s Kammerkonzert, andAlexina Louie’s Imaginary Opera.FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2013 8PM KOERNER HALLNadja Salerno-SonnenbergwithAnne-Marie McDermottA “breathtakingly daring and originalartist” (The Washington Post), violinistSalerno-Sonnenberg and pianist McDermottpresent “Dark & Light:” Arvo Pärt’s shortSpeigel im Spiegel, Prokofiev’s dramaticSonata No. 1, and Franck's beloved ViolinSonata in A Major.SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2013 3PMKOERNER HALLAlisa Weilersteinand Inon BarnatanMacArthur ‘genius’ Grant recipient cellistAlisa Weilerstein’s “warm, inviting soundand flawless intonation,” (The New YorkTimes) combines with Tel Aviv pianist InonBarnatan’s refined, sensitive, and unfailinglycommunicative playing in a performanceof works by Beethoven, Britten,Shostakovich, and Rachmaninov.SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2013 3PM KOERNER HALLSwedish Chamber Orchestrawith Garrick Ohlssonconducted by Thomas DausgaardPianist Garrick Ohlsson is “masterly” and “uncommonly elegant,”and the SWO is “surprising and fresh.” (The New York Times)An all Beethoven program.TICKETS START AT ONLY ! 416.408.0208 www.performance.rcmusic.ca273 BLOOR STREET WEST (BLOOR & AVENUE RD.) TORONTO

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