6 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 6 - March 2014

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • April
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Symphony
  • Bloor
  • Orchestra
  • Arts
  • Concerts
  • Choir

Tapestry changes guard:

Tapestry changes guard: On January 28, Tapestry Opera announcedMichael Mori as its new artistic director. Mori has been workingalongside Tapestry founder Wayne Strongman for the past two years todeepen his understanding of opera creation and the challenges facingthe company and the sector. Strongman has said, “It is very satisfyingto hand over the artistic reins of Tapestry to Michael Mori, whois a colleague of like aesthetic and human values. You can imagine thepride as I watch the achievements of Tapestry being celebrated andcontinued with fresh energy and insight.”Opera Hamilton sad end: Amid all this positive news, theannouncement that sent a shudder through the Ontario opera worldcame on January 8. On that date Opera Hamilton announced that itwould be ceasing operations and that it would cancel its upcomingperformances of Popera on January 11 to 18 and Carmen from April 19to 26. Co-chair and treasure Peter Uffelmann stated: “We simply donot have the financial resources to continue.” He added, “We hadhoped a large donation from an individual would arrive in time, butregrettably it did not materialize, and in the absence of any otherfunding, the Board had no choice but to cancel the rest of the seasonand cease operations.”Readers will recall that between 1992 and 1994 Opera Hamiltonexpanded to become Opera Ontario to include performances inKitchener. That expansion, however, did not prove economicallyviable and Opera Ontario went bankrupt. In 2008 Opera Hamiltonre-emerged from the ruins of Opera Ontario and switched its performancevenue from Hamilton Place to the more congenial DofascoCentre, where Theatre Aquarius performs. It still had a large accumulateddeficit and was unable to pay the orchestra for what would proveits final production, Verdi’s Falstaff in 2013.In The Hamilton Spectator, Leonard Turnevicius stated what manywere feeling when he wrote, “It’s a sad end to an organization thatover the years has featured some of this country’s finest singers, establishedartists plus the up-and-comers as well as a number of internationalimports, but also conductors, directors and designers, the(From left) GeoffreySirett, ErnestoRamirez, andLaura Albinonames of whomwould fill anentire page of thisnewspaper.”From its inception in 1980 to its last production in 2013, OperaHamilton provided not only live opera for the residents of the Niagarapeninsula, but a way for Toronto inhabitants to augment the offeringsof the COC. The company presented several productions of operasthe COC has so far never staged – like Verdi’s I due Foscari in 1989and 1994, Verdi’s Nabucco in 1992, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah in2000, Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs des perles in 2002 and 2013 andDelibes Lakmé in 2003 – and some it is likely never to stage like theunusual double bill of Poulenc’s La Voix humaine and Massenet’s LePortrait de Manon in 2004. Opera Hamilton provided a way to hear anumber of Canadian singers just before their careers took off and incidentallyhired a number of established opera singers from Quebecwho seldom or never appear at the COC. In January Opera Hamiltonco-chair Dennis Darby said, “We’re hopeful that maybe somethingwill emerge in the next few months and we’ll re-emerge.” We can onlyhope that just as Opera Hamilton survived its near-death experiencein 2008 it can do so again, otherwise Ontario audiences and emergingartists will have lost an invaluable cultural asset.200th Anniversary of Verdi’s BirthVOICEBOXOPERA IN CONCERTGuillermo Silva-MarinGeneral DirectorThe Cunning Little Vixenby Leoš JanáčekTHE GLENN GOULD SCHOOL OPERA 2014WED., MAR. 19 & FRI., MAR. 21, 2014 7:30PMKOERNER HALLUri Mayer, conductorArtists of The Glenn Gould School vocal programperform The Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček,a delightful comic opera about a mischievouslittle fox.TICKETS START AT ONLY ! 416.408.0208273 BLOOR STREET WEST(BLOOR ST. & AVENUE RD.)TORONTOin Italianwith English surtitlesGIUSEPPE VERDIMichael Rose, Music DirectorErnesto Ramírez, Laura Albino,Geoffrey Sirett, Guillermo Silva-MarinThe VOICEBOX Chorus,Robert Cooper, Chorus DirectorSun. March 23 at 2:30 pm416-366-7723 | 1-800-708-6754 | www.stlc.com18 | March 1 – April 7, 2014

GGS Vixen:On a more positive note, March is unusually filledwith opera productions, most of them in concert, yet still a meansof offering audiences a way to hear a wider range of works and forsingers to display their skill. The only fully staged opera on offer inMarch is the Glenn Gould School’s production of Leoš Janáček’s comicopera The Cunning Little Vixen (1924) on March 19 and 21 at KoernerHall.Toronto has not seen this beautiful work since the COC presentedit in 1998. The opera is conducted by Uri Mayer and directed by RuthMadoc-Jones and will be performed in English with English surtitles.Voicebox Stiffelio: For those still celebrating the bicentennialof the birth of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), Voicebox: Opera inConcert is the perfect choice. It is presenting the unjustly neglectedopera Stiffelio (1850) that Verdi wrote in tandem with Rigoletto. Thecontemporaneous subject matter about a Protestant minister with anadulterous wife, so scandalized the political and religious powers ofthe day that Verdi eventually withdrew the work and his autographcopy went missing. In 1992 the Carrara family gave access to theircollection of Verdi’s papers to scholar Philip Gossett, who discoveredthe autograph copy among them. This led to the first complete performanceof the score by the Metropolitan Opera in 1993, and it will bethis version that Voicebox will perform on March 23. The title rolewill be sung by Ernesto Ramirez, his wayward wife by Laura Albinoand her lover by Geoffrey Sirett. The cast will be led from the piano byMichael Rose.Opera by Request has an especially busy March with performancesof Don Giovanni on March 7, La Bohème on March 8 andMassenet’s Werther on March 29. All three will take place at theCollege St. United Church in Toronto and all three will be accompaniedon the piano by the indefatigable William Shookhoff.Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera and theatre.He can be contacted at MansellPresentsA Music Series unlike any other14April 2014 through to November 2014Beat by Beat | Jazz NotesDuke, Bill CliftonNot ForgottenJIM GALLOWAYIt’s time to celebrate The Duke and I don’t mean John Wayne. I domean Duke Ellington and the annual Duke Ellington Society fundraising concert at 8pm on Saturday April 26 at Walter Hall in theEdward Johnson Building, Queen’s Park Crescent, featuring MartinLoomer’s Orange Devils, a 14-piece band specializing in Ellington’searly period. This is an important event in the jazz calendar celebrastingthe music of perhaps the greatest all-round musical figureof the 20th century. I know that I’m getting ahead of myself since theconcert doesn’t take place this month, but over the years this has beena sold-out event and if you are interested in attending the concert –and you should be – it is better to buy your tickets now. Ticket price is available by contacting Alan Shiels at 416-239-2683Net proceeds go to the Duke Ellington Society Scholarship Fund.Gone But Not Quite Forgotten: I have a CD review of Bill Clifton inthis month’s issue but would like to make some additional commentson this highly talented pianist. He was born in Toronto in 1916 andbegan his musical training at the Royal Conservatory. He was a realtalent and he knew both fame and fortune throughout the 1940s and50s. He earned the respect of jazz legends including pianists Bill Evansand Oscar PetersonHe eventually moved to the States where he worked with a numberof the “name” bands including Benny Goodman, Ray Noble, WoodyHerman and Paul Whiteman. Able to play in any key he was activein the studios including CBS where he accompanied all kinds ofperformers.After World War II, two new competing recording formats cameonto the market and gradually replaced the standard 78 rpm –remember them? They were the 33 1⁄3 rpm (usually referred to as just33 rpm) and the 45 rpm (sometimes referred to as “singles” or “sevensingles” based on the content they could accommodate and the diameter,in inches, of the discs). The 33 1⁄3 rpm LP (for “long play”) formatwas developed by Columbia Records and marketed in 1948.I mention this because it so happens that Bill Clifton was among thefirst musicians ever to make a long-playing record. In 1948 Columbialaunched a series of “Piano Moods.” Twenty albums were eventuallyreleased. With the advent of the CD, Mosaic Records selected the jazzTickets and passes available onlinewww.organixconcerts.ca416-769-3893Kerry Beaumont - April 25, 7:30 pm Shawn Potter - June 20, 7:30 pmOur Lady of Sorrows, 3055 Bloor St. West All Saints' Kingsway - 2850 Bloor St. WestWitold Zalewski - May 16, 7:30 pm Rhonda Sider Edgington - Sept. 19, 7:30 pmSt. Paul’s Anglican, 227 Bloor St. East Holy Trinity Anglican - 10 Trinity SquareJames David Christie - June 6, 8:00 pm Elisabeth Ullmann - Oct. 19, 4:00 pmSt. Basil's (U of T) - 50 St. Joseph Street Our Lady of Sorrows, 3055 Bloor St. WestNosetti Memorial Concert - Nov 12, 7:30 pmMaxine Thevenot, Eugenio Fagiani and Omar CaputiSt. Paul's Anglican, 227 Bloor St. March 1 – April 7, 2014 | 19

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