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Volume 19 Issue 4 - December 2013

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  • December
  • Toronto
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production of Rigoletto.

production of Rigoletto. She had just completed a day’s photo shoothere (for Flare magazine, she said) along with director Atom Egoyan,in whose new COC production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte she willappear starting in January. “It was just a photo shoot,” she said, “butit was a chance to connect as well; to get a bit of asense of where he’s heading overall with theproduction and his senseof what he will want of mycharacter and of me.”She plays Dorabella inthe opera; New BrunswickbornLaila Claire is Fiordiligi,her sister. For two Canadianredheads constantlymistaken for each otherwhile both were enrolledin the Met’s LindemannEnsemble program thesepast two years, it’s a greatopportunity to work together,especially in a show wheretheir characters can’t keeptheir own boyfriends straight.(In fact Giunta has worked orstudied with with almost allher Cosi castmates — ThomasDanielSerafin.Allen, Tracy Dahl, Robert Gleadow — at one time or another, so itpromises to be a crackling ensemble production. )As for getting Giunta to divulge the particulars of Egoyan’s take onthe opera, she was somewhat circumspect, other than to say that itseems the subtitle of the opera, “The School for Lovers” is probablymore central to Egoyan’s thinking than the title itself. Sounds likeEgoyan to me; we might well be in for a treat (with some controllingcharacters getting their comeuppance via a reversal or twoalong the way.)As for Giunta, circle March 2 as a date to watch. That’s when she’llbe doing a recital for Visual and Performing Arts Newmarket on thatdate, with repertoire ranging from Vaughan Williams to Fauré to JoniMitchell (the latter with her singer-songwriter sister Marley on guitar).For two Ottawa-born sisters with the Rideau Canal in their imagerepertoire “I Wish I had a River I Could Skate Away On” promises to bea rare treat.Michael Patrick Albano: Albano is stage director at the Universityof Toronto Opera School and as such his handiwork is not oftenin the public eye, but “handy work” it is. It was his pen that inkedthe libretto for last year’s runaway success Rob Ford opera at U of T.It’s his direction that will be on view, if you’re quick, for the lastperformance, December 1, of the U of T Opera School production ofDonizetti’s Don Pasquale. And it will be his penmanship under scrutinyagain January 30 (at 5pm) when, as part of the Faculty’s “NewMusic Festival: Encounters,” five miniature operas, written by studentcomposers and all based upon librettos by Albano, will be presented.As resident stage director of the Opera School’s training program atU of T, Albano has staged over 25 operas. Perhaps less well known, hewas for several years Wayne Strongman’s right-hand man in TapestryNew Opera’s groundbreaking composer/librettist “lib/lab” incubatorwhich led to the formation of some of the country’s most interestingcomposer/librettist pairings. It will be interesting to see how manyof these early inspired collaborations feature in “Tapestry Songbook”February 1, when Tapestry (sans Strongman and Albano) puts “thenext generation of opera stars on display” at their Ernest BalmerStudio, in the Distillery Historic District.Toronto Operetta Theatre: Before proceeding to the “Quick Picks”that are an inevitable part of at least giving some kind of a nod to thevast array of interresting subject matter in the opera/music theatrelistings, I want to to give a bit more attention than that to TorontoOperetta Theatre. While I have indicated the extent to which othercompanies have tended to tiptoe around New Year’s Day, the samecannot be said for the whole holiday season. In fact for as long as Ican remember, Toronto Operetta Theatre, under the indefatigabledirection of Guillermo Silva-Marin, has made the last week inDecember and first week in January their own, staging the best of thelight opera repertoire at the Jane Mallet Theatre.This year’s offering is Lehár’s Land of Smiles, commencingDecember 27 and running Dec 28, 29, 31(eve); and Jan 2, 3, 4, 5. In factcalling Silva-Martin “indefatigable” is to sell him short. He is a directorwith an extraordinary sense of the art of the possible, managing notonly to elicit the most from the minimal set decoration possible atthe Jane Mallett, but also bringing an ensemble unity to casts withactors ranging from the luminously professional to the company’sMichael Patrick Albano’s Cosi fan tutte.ChandaVandenhart andRebecca Nelsen.most stalwart part-timers. Derek Bate conducts, drawing astonishingresults from what is usuaslly a pit band (sans pit) with far more alacrityand heft than one would expect, based on numbers. I have yet tocome away from one of their year-end shows without my expectationsbeing exceeded.QUICK PICKS!!Dec 1, 2:30: Recitals at Rosedale. A New Vocal Series: Opera NellaChiesa. Handel: Theodora; Massenet: Manon; Menotti: Amahl and theNight Visitors. Laura Albino, soprano; Laura Tucker, mezzo; AdamLuther, tenor; Timothy Wong, countertenor; Anthony Clevertonand Jason Howard, baritones; and others. Not opera per se, but withperformers who know what opera is!RICHARD LU14 | December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

!!Dec 1, 5:00: Latvian National Opera Fund. Twentieth AnniversaryConcert. Vilma Indra Vitols, mezzo-soprano; Armands Silins, baritone;Elizabeth Sirante, piano.!!Dec 2, 7:30: VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert. Concert and Fundraiserfor Ariaworks. First live performance of the new Canadian opera “Isisand Osiris.” Toronto poet Sharon Singer is the original creator of thiswork which is imbued with her love for the majesty of ancient Egyptand inspired award-winning composer Peter-Anthony Togni to writethe music.!!Dec 7 and 10 at 8pm: Ontario Philharmonic presents NessunDorma, great songs of Italy with Richard Margison, tenor; MarcoParisotto, conductor. December 7, Regent Theatre (Oshawa);December 10, Koerner Hall.!!Dec 14 and 15 at 8:00: A bit of a sleeper, perhaps; Against the GrainTheatre presents AtG’s Messiah. It’s Handel’s Messiah, with impeccablemusical credentials, but in a less-than-usual venue, and by acompany with profoundly interesting operatic chops. One to watch.!!Dec 20, 8:00: Sine Nomine Ensemble for Medieval Music. Nativitas:Liturgical Dramas for the Christmas Season. Medieval French andItalian musical dramas.!!Jan 23, 12:10: University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Thursdays atNoon: Stephanie Blythe Master Class: Opera Arias.!!Jan 24, 7:30: Opera by Request. Carmen. Bizet. Sarah Hicks, mezzosoprano(Carmen); Stanislas Vitort, tenor (Don Jose); Andrew Tees,baritone (Escamillo); and others; William Shookhoff, music directorand piano.!!Jan 28, 12:00 noon: Canadian Opera Company. Vocal Series:The School for Lovers. Highlights from Così fan tutte. Artists ofEnsemble Studio.!!Jan 28, 7:30: York University Faculty of Fine Arts. Beggar’s Opera.Students from music, theatre, dance and digital media collaborateon this immersive adaptation by Gwen Dobie. Wish I’d had time tosay more about this; bil;led as a “modern adaptation” the productiontakes us to “a Toronto jail in 2014, inmates crack open this satirical taleof corruption, social inequality — and some very messy love triangles.Thieves, gangsters, politicians, lawyers ... who can tell them apart?!!!Come visit us in jail, and see how much things have changed — ornot — since the 18th century.”!!Jan 31, 7:30: Opera by Request. Le Nozze di Figaro. Mozart. MichaelRobert-Broder, baritone (Figaro); Jocelyn Halleck, soprano (Susanna);David Diston, baritone (Count Almaviva); Deena Nicklefork, soprano(Countess); Jennifer Routhier, mezzo (Cherubino); and others; WilliamShookhoff, music director and piano.!!Feb 2, 2:00: Canadian Opera Company. Un ballo in maschera.Verdi. Adrianne Pieczonka, soprano (Amelia); Dimitri Pittas, tenor(Riccardo); Elena Manistina, mezzo (Ulrica); Simone Osborne,soprano (Oscar); Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, stage directors;Stephen Lord, conductor.!!Feb 2, 2:30: VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert. Rameau: Hippolyteet Aricie. Allyson McHardy (Phèdre), Meredith Hall (Aricie), ColinAinsworth (Hippolyte), Alain Coulombe (Thésée). JTracy Dahl sings inCOC’s Cosi fan tutte production as Despina.!!Feb 6, 12:00 noon: Canadian Opera Company. Richard BradshawAmphitheatre Dance Series: A Soldier’s Tale. Michael Greyeyes, choreographer/director;Tara Beagan, lyrics; John Gzowski, music.!!Feb 7, 7:30: Canadian Opera Company. Così fan tutte: EnsembleStudio Performance. The fact that several of the stars gracing themainstage production of Cosi were also not too long ago members ofthe opera studio ensemble, emphasises the extent to which this studioensemble performance has become one of COC general director Neef’sbest innovations; putting ensemble members on stage with the fullresources of the company, from chorus to orchestra, at their disposal.Expect to hear more about this particular performance in the nextissue of HalfTones, The WholeNote’s midmonth e-letter. It’s quitesimply not an opportunity to miss.David Perlman, publisher of The WholeNote, steps in thismonth for regular opera columnist Christopher Hoile.thewholenote.com December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014 | 15

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
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