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Volume 19 Issue 2 - October 2013

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  • October
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Beat by Beat | On

Beat by Beat | On OperaLarge ScaleLaunchesCHRISTOPHER HOILEIt is not very often that southern Ontario’s three biggest operacompanies launch their seasons in the same month, but that isexactly what is happening this October. The Canadian OperaCompany, Opera Atelier and Opera Hamilton all begin their 2013/14seasons this month making this an unusually strong month for largescaleopera productions.The Canadian Opera Company opens the new season with a newproduction of Puccini’s La Bohème running October 3 to 30. Thisco-production with Houston Grand Opera and the San FranciscoOpera is directed by John Caird, who is perhaps most famous as theco-director of the original English version of Les Misérables. Somemay ask why the old production with sets by Wolfram Skalickiand costumes by Amrei Skalicki is being replaced. This productionpremiered in June 1989 and has been revived five times since then. Iasked COC media relations manager Jennifer Pugsley whether theconsiderations related to the physical decay of the production or werepurely aesthetic. She responded that the decision to mount a newBohème involved both. Twenty-five years of use had taken their toll inwear and tear on the old production. But Houston Grand Opera andSan Francisco Opera were looking to create a new Bohème and gavethe COC a chance to partner with them. The resulting collaboration isstill set in the late 19th century but David Farley’s design will provide“a refreshed aesthetic.”The 12-performance run will necessitate the use of two casts of principals.Mexican tenor David Lomeli had been listed as the Rodolfo foreight of the performances, but in September it was announced he hadto withdraw for health reasons. He has been replaced by AmericansDimitri Pittas and Michael Fabiano, two of the most exciting youngtenors in opera today. Pittas will sing on October 3, 6, 9 and 12while Fabiano will sing on October 16, 19, 27 and 30. There is also athird Rodolfo, American Eric Margiore who will sing October 18, 22,25 and 29.Two sopranos share the role of Mimì — Italian Grazia Doronzio andCanadian Joyce El-Khoury. Doronzio sings on October 3, 6, 9, 12, 18,22, 25 and 29 and El-Khoury on October 16, 19, 27 and 30. El-Khoury,who was born in Lebanon but whose family moved to Canada whenshe was six, will also take on the role of Musetta. She sings that role onOctober 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 22, 25 and 29 while Canadian Simone Osbornesings it on October 16, 19, 27 and 30. FamedItalian conductor Carlo Rizzi conducts allperformances.Right: Joyce El-Khoury as Mimi in the Opera LyraOttawa production of La Bohème, September2012 (with Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo).Abduction from the Seraglioperformers Julia Sedwick, dancer,and Curtis Sullivan (Pasha Selim).In repertory with La Bohème will be Peter Grimes (1945) byBenjamin Britten (1913-76), to mark the centenary of the composer’sbirth. Running from October 5 to 26, this will be the opera’s thirdstaging at the COC and its first since 2003. In one of his signatureroles, Ben Heppner stars as the vilified fisherman Grimes with IleanaMontalbetti as Ellen Orford, the one woman in the village who standsby him. Alan Held, last seen as Jochanaan in Salome and Kurwenalin Tristan und Isolde earlier this year, sings Captain Balstrode, theonly male villager concerned about Grimes. Denni Sayers recreatesAustralian Neil Armfield’s direction of this co-production betweenOpera Australia, Houston Grand Opera and West Australian Opera.The COC has mounted two previous Armfield productions of Brittenoperas — Billy Budd in 2001 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2009.Johannes Debus conducts.506 100 Bloor YEARS St. W. @ 1913 Bathurst, –2013 Toronto32 | October 1 – November 7, 2013

Opera Atelier opens its 2013/14 season with a remount of Mozart’sAbduction from the Seraglio that it first staged in 2008. It runs fromOctober 26 to November 2. Abduction will feature Lawrence Wilifordas Belmonte and Adam Fisher as his servant Pedrillo. (In 2008Frédéric Antoun sang Belmonte and Wiliford sang Pedrillo.) The pairwill try to rescue Belmonte’s beloved Konstanze (Ambur Braid) andher servant Blondie (Blondchen), played by Carla Huhtanen, from theever-watchful Osmin (Gustav Andreassen) and Pasha Selim (CurtisSullivan). Huhtanen, Andreassen and Sullivan all return to the sameroles they had in 2008. David Fallis will again conduct the TafelmusikBaroque Orchestra. Like The Magic Flute, Abduction is a singspielmeaning that thedialogue between ariasis spoken, not sung. Aslast time, the dialoguewill be spoken in Englishand the arias sung inGerman with Englishsurtitles.Opera Hamiltonbegins the new seasonwith its first-ever stagingof Verdi’s Falstaffrunning October 19, 22,24 and 26. John Fanningwill sing the title rolewhile James Westmansings Ford. Lyne Fortinand Ariana Chris singthe title roles of MistressAlice and Mistress Meg,while Lynne McMurtryis Mistress Quickly, Theo Lebow is Fenton and Sasha Djihanian ishis beloved Nanetta. Opera Hamilton general director David Speersconducts and Alison Grant directs. As of last year Opera Hamiltonbegan building its own sets. The size of its new performance space inthe Dofasco Centre is more in line with that of opera companies of asimilar size in the U.S. This means that Opera Hamilton, which previouslyhad always rented productions from elsewhere, for the first timehas the chance to reverse the process and sell its productions to othercompanies. Speers assured me in a telephone interview that Falstaffwould be set in Elizabethan England as Verdi intended.Voicebox: besides these three larger companies, Voicebox: Opera InConcert also begins its new season, its 40th, this month. On October 6it stages a spoof of Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (1786) titled TheStressed-Out Impresario. It stars Voicebox’s own artistic director,Guillermo Silva-Marin, in the title role as the impresario who encountersdifficulties with various singers competing for leading roles whilehe tries to balance schedules and fundraising imperatives. RaisaNakhmanovich is the music director with a cast including Leigh-AnnAllen, Vania Chan, Christina Campsall, Keenan Viau, DomenicoSanfilippo and Sean Catheroy. Like Abduction from the Seraglio, DerSchauspieldirektor is also a singspiel and was specially written byMozart to compete against an opera buffa by Salieri to decide whichgenre was better. Salieri’s contribution, Prima la musica e poi leparole, like the Mozart, is also a meta-opera — that is, an opera aboutopera. It is generally thought that Salieri’s work is superior to Mozart’s,but the main impediment to its success is that its humour dependsso heavily on parodies and references to other now-forgotten operasof the time.Opera by Request has a busy month with three operas in concertin October alone. On October 5 it presents Massenet’s Manon (1884)at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Waterloo. On October 18 it hasAdriana Lecouvreur (1902) by Francesco Cilea and on October 27Tales of Hoffmann (1881), both at College Street United Churchin Toronto.Anyone wishing to venture further afield should know that theGryphon Trio will be performing Christos Hatzis’ highly acclaimedConstantinople (2004) at the Grand Theatre in Kingston on October 9.The multimedia music theatre piece, sometimes called a chamberopera, incorporates projections, stage movement, costumes, choreographyand lighting, and sets texts for two sopranos from both theWestern and Eastern sides of the only city in the world located on twocontinents.Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera andtheatre. He can be contacted at OF ADVERTISERSAll Saints Kingsway 47Amadeus Choir 47Art of Time Ensemble 42ATMA 5Bloor Hot Docs Cinema/Royal Conservatory 32Brian Katz 43Canadian Opera Company 13, 14Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra19Christ Church Deer Park Jazz Vespers31Dim Sum Ensemble 44Elmer Iseler Singers 40Esprit Orchestra 4, 41Essential Opera 48Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra42, 54Exultate Singers 22, 38Gallery 345 35, 41Grand Philharmonic Choir 49Hank Knox/Latitude 45 25Hannaford Street Silver Band 30, 40Heliconian Hall 52I FURIOSI 37James Campbell/Afiara String Quartet 48Ken Page Memorial Trust 17Kindred Spirits Orchestra 46Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber MusicSociety 50Koffler Centre of the Arts 28Liz Parker 56Long & McQuade 33Long & Mcquade/New Horizons 29Luke Fillion 50Marjorie Sparks 55Markham Concert Band 39Michèle Bogdanowicz 45Mississauga Symphony 38Moeller Organs 55Mooredale Concerts 36Music at Metropolitan 23, 35, 42Music Gallery 15Music Toronto 9, 35, 37, 45Musicians in Ordinary 37Nancy Sicsic 56Nathaniel Dett Chorale 23New Music Concerts 36, 45, 72Nine Sparrows Arts Foundation 47Norm Pulker 55NYCO Symphony Orchestra 46Off Centre Music Salons 40Ontario Philharmonic 19Orchestra Toronto 40Orpheus Choir 46Pasquale Bros 53Pax Christi 24Peter Mahon 22Remenyi House of Music 12Rose Theatre 42, 51Roy Thomson Hall 7, 44Royal Conservatory 69Sheila McCoy 55, 56Sinfonia Toronto 20, 43St. James’ Cathedral 18St. Philip’s Anglican Church 31Steinway Piano Gallery 13Steve Jackson Pianos 16Tafelmusik 2, 3, 35Talisker Players 45Tallis Choir 39The Sound Post 16Thin Edge New Music Collective 43Toronto Chamber Choir 44Toronto Consort 13, 39Toronto Masque Theatre 43Toronto New Music Alliance 35, 37, 38Toronto Sinfonietta 54Toronto Symphony 45, 71U of T Faculty of Music 11Visual and Performing ArtsNewmarket 44Women’s Musical Club 38Yorkminster Park Baptist Church October 1 – November 7, 2013 | 33

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