8 years ago

Volume 20 Issue 6 - March 2015

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Beat by Beat | On

Beat by Beat | On OperaINTERNATIONAL RESOURCE CENTREFOR PERFORMING ARTISTSThe IRCPA is a forum for artists to exchange ideas, challenges, honeskills and meet colleagues. Current services focus on artists in theclassical, early, jazz, opera, chamber, world, and experimental musicfields. Membership without fee is an opportunity for all to participate.IRCPA invites singers to participate in aTWO-DAY WORKINGENCOUNTER withJOAN DORNEMANNMetropolitan Opera Assistant ConductorFounder / Artistic Director, Israel Vocal Arts InstituteArtistic Director, Canadian Vocal Arts Institute, MontrealMARCH 27 and 28, 2015McLaughlin Studio, Canadian Opera Company,227 Front Street East, Torontoworking together ~ gaining confidence repertoire ~French/Italian artists’ choice ~ observers are welcomeWHO’S WHO IN THE INDUSTRYA forum for artists to speak directly with executives whose decisions Membershipshape Toronto’s musical seasons. Find out how and why those forms anddecisions are made by these art leaders.registrationwww.ircpa.netSUNDAY, MARCH 29, 2-5PMCSI Annex, 720 Bathurst Streetmoderator Alexa Petrenko, with panelists• presenters Chris Lorway, Roy Thomson Hall; Jose Ortega, Lula Lounge;Boris Brott, Opera & Festival Hamilton;• managers Annick-Patricia Carrière, Station Bleue (Montreal);Robert Missen, Bobolink (Toronto);• journalists David Perlman, The WholeNote; Michael Vincent,Musical Toronto;• publicists Linda Litwack, Jane April - more workshops coming up!HOT TOPICS WEEKENDAPRIL 10, 11 and 12Two sessions each day at Paintbox Bistro, Regent Park,Jazz FM, and Canadian Music CentreThe IRCPA acknowledges with thanks the support of our moderator,panelists, volunteers, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council.Canadian Music Centre, Canadian Opera Company, Jazz FM,Paintbox Bistro and The WholeNote.416.362.1422 | www.ircpa.netOf Louise, Helenand Nicole LizéeCHRISTOPHER HOILEOn March 29, Voicebox:Opera in Concert willgive Torontonians achance to hear Louise (1900), themost famous opera by GustaveCharpentier (1860-1956). A stapleof opera houses around the worldfor about 50 years, it is an exampleof the French version of verismothat we encounter more often inJules Massenet’s Manon (1884)and Werther (1892). The opera,with a libretto by the composer,is a portrait of working-class lifeLeslie Ann Bradleyin Paris with its focus on the titlecharacter, a seamstress in love with her neighbour Julien, a youngartist. Charpentier portrays Louise’s life with her family as stiflingand her father’s possessiveness as bordering on pathological. WhenLouise’s parents oppose her marriage to Julien, she runs away withhim, and Charpentier also makes clear that Julien may offer Louiselove but no material comforts. When Louise’s father becomes unwell,her mother blackmails her into returning home. Once he regains hishealth, her father’s old opposition to Julien revives and Louise fleesagain, never to return.The opera was revolutionary for its time in portraying with equalpessimism the grimness of family life and the naiveté of Bohemianlife. The opera’s most famous aria, “Depuis le jour,” is now bestknown through recitals rather than performances. Two issues haveblocked the opera’s continued success. First, it is similar to Puccini’sLa Bohème (1895), even though Louise is a healthy Mimi and hasparents. Second, the opera features 35 named roles versus only 10 inLa Bohème. The opera has had important revivals in London (1981)and in Paris (2008) but the work is still seldom seen. In fact, the onlyother scheduled performance of Louise this year is in July at theBuxton Festival in England, where it will also be performed in concert,albeit with orchestra instead of piano.Louise is therefore a rarity and Voicebox is providing it with a starrycast. Soprano Leslie Ann Bradley sings the title role, mezzo MichèleBodganowicz is the Mother and baritone Dion Mazerolle is the Father.At press time, the tenor playing Julien was still to be announced, sostay tuned! Peter Tiefenbach is conductor and pianist and GuillermoSilva-Marin the artistic advisor. The work will be performed in Frenchwith English surtitles.Fully staged: For a fully staged student production with fullorchestra, one need look no further than Offenbach’s La BelleHélène (1864) at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn GouldSchool of Opera. Performances are on March 18 and 20 at KoernerHall with Uri Mayer conducting. Of particular interest to those whohave been following the alternative opera scene in Toronto will bethe fact that Joel Ivany, artistic director of Against the Grain Theatre,will be directing. Ivany and Against the Grain have gained a followingfor their inventive stagings of opera in unconventional locations –La Bohème in a pub, for example, or Pelléas et Mélisande outdoors ina courtyard.In La Belle Hélène, Offenbach’s satiric portrait of ancient Greeceand Helen of Troy, we should expect more of Ivany’s inventiveness.Via email he told me that the production would take the operetta’ssetting, time of composition and period of performance into account:LISA-MARIE MAZZUCCO28 | March 1 - April 7, 2015

“What we’re attempting todo is to bring our 21st-centurysensibilities to this classicaloperetta (which was originallycalled an opera buffa)by mixing elements of todayinto the traditional context ofthe piece. What people willsee is a show set in antiquity,written in the 19th century,with a 21st-century dialogue(written by Michael Albano)and staging.”When asked what he hopesthe student performers willlearn from his direction, Ivanysays: “I hope that these studentswill take away a greater senseof speaking text. Half of theJoel Ivanyoperetta is spoken dialogue.For opera singers this is greattraining, as often you don’t get the opportunity to act spoken text. Ialso hope that students will be able to take away a sense of developinga character and having that influence choice, intention and interaction.Through this project I also hope that the students will takeaway a sense of their body through movement; how the body interactswith singing on stage and how they aren’t separate but in fact,work together. They’re fortunate to work with choreographer anddancer Jennifer Nichols who is taking them through dance warm-upsand is choreographing set numbers for these singers to dance in.”JudithCHRIS HUTCHESONNicole LizéeTapestry’s Tables Turned: For something completely different,Tapestry Opera is presenting Tap:Ex Tables Turned on March 20 and21. Tap:Ex (Tapestry Explorations) is Tapestry Opera’s annual experimentalproduction that looks to define the future of opera. Thisyear’s installment, Tables Turned, is a boundary-breaking multimediaconcert where opera meets a DJ and turntables. Soprano CarlaHuhtanen, well known from her performances with Tapestry andwith Opera Atelier, joins with pioneering composer Nicole Lizée inreconfigured iconic moments from film and opera.Remixed clips from Alfred Hitchcock films, The Sound of Musicand video recordings of Maria Callas will be projected alongsidethe performers, whose turntables and vocals compete and fuse in alive duet. According to Tapestry, “Tap:Ex, now in its second year, iscommitted to evolution through innovation, exploring modes wherethe traditional genre of opera can assume a living, current form.”Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera andtheatre. He can be contacted at grand oratoriofrom Britain’sVictorian master,C.H.H. ParryNorth American PremierePax Christi Chorale & OrchestraStephanie Martin, Artistic DirectorKoerner Hall box office March 1 - April 7, 2015 | 29

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