8 years ago

Volume 5 Issue 9 - June 2000

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ti 2 I have been given

ti 2 I have been given an artist for an interview, they said he speaks French, but oh, like a Spanish cow - do you say that in English? lying through their teeth. When somebody like Dmitri Hvorostovski or Placido Domingo comes, my phone rings off the hook. And I only have so many media comps, and I have to say no. (She looks troubled at the thought of missing a potential connection.) Me: Do you go for the ethnic market? Francine (looks a little shocked): I call it grass-roots. Yes, of course, first of all. For Sirens/Sirenes I have already contacted all the French media. I know Spanish and Ukrainian and all kinds of journalists. But you have to be careful! We were promoting a Ukrainian troupe at Roy Thomson Hall. Our press release used the spelling that they gave us, Kyev, but that is the Russianized spelling. Here in Toronto the Ukrainians use the old spelling, Kiev, and I was very lucky that a Ukrainian journalist came to me and said, 'Do you know that you are insulting the Ukrainians here using that spelling?' and I didn't know, but we changed it! Me: So, if you were publicising my concert, what would you do? Francine: Well, first I would meet with you. I need to know what you expect, what you have, I need to find the hooks that I can use to generate interest. Then I would decide who to pitch it to, and the timetable would follow that. If we are trying for coverage in monthlies, that means longer lead time. WholeNote, that can go fairly late, but say Chatelaine, three months in advance everything is put to bed. I would send out listing information as soon as I have it, two to three months in advance, more if I can. The press release goes later, I sent out the press release for Queen of Puddings' Sirens/Sirenes on May first, the show opens June 15. That goes by fax, that is what is expected. .... What is your concert? Me: Our harpsichord company, Claviers Baroques, is presenting a harpsichordist, Tatiana Zenashvili, for a concert on June 8 and a masterclass on June 10. Francine: What is special about her? Me: Well, she is Professor of Harpsichord at Moscow State Tchaikowsky Conservatory. She's currently at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois on a Fullbright Scholarship. Her main job there is to present concerts and she has a HUGE repertoire. Jn fact, we 're thinking of taking requests! Francine (laughs): There, you could be a publicist! Me: Do you tailor the press release to the publication? Francine: No, everyone gets the same. The release is supposed to be all the facts, and I never lie - that's the rule. After that I would follow up with phone calls to specific media people, with more information that will give them some angle of interest. I use e-mail, too, sometimes someone who never returns a phone call you can e-mail and they answer right away. If you want the cover of What's On you need amazing visuals. It's not complicated, I did it based on instinct for a lot of years, then I came to realize, hey, maybe I know more than I think I do. You have to know how to write, you have to know how to approach people, you have to have good visuals. Sometimes I don't get a feature, I get a photo. That's worth a lot! Me: Do you like your work? Francine: It's fascinating! I said earlier it was difficult, that I didn't sleep nights, and publicity is so exhausting, you're always chasing after your own tail. But I am always meeting the most interesting people and great artists and I have made many friends doing this. I like to see myself as the person who makes things happen, the catalyst. There is a group of people who put together a show, there is the media, and then there is the public. I have to find the right path through the media so that the people who will enjoy the show will find out about it and come to see it . Dawn Lyons' previous Behind the Scenes columns can be found on the WholeNote website at POSTSCRIPT: OUR READERS WRITE Opera Centre? Why not the Ford Centre? I keep hearing about the COC needing a new Opera House. While I agree that the Hummingbird Centre is not an ideal venue, the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts comes pretty close. So, has this even been discussed as an option? The Ford Centre has a visually beautiful and acoustically good main hall in the Apotex Theatre. With no seat in the auditorium further than 100 feet from the stage, the needed intimacy for performance exists in the hall . With a large adjustable orchestra pit, there should be no problems in putting any appropriate number of musicians in place for a wide range of operas .. The George Weston Recital Hall has already proven itself as an outstanding venue for opera in recital. With its 1000 + seats and near perfect acoustics The Recital Hall is a shining gem of a hall that will very shortly be going to waste in a city that calls itself "World Class" In addition to the two venues mentioned above, the very intimate 200 seat Studio Theatre is also a very nice venue for recitals and workshops. With flexible seating and large floor area, the Studio Theatre can also double as a small rehearsal hall. This would be in addition to the very large rehearsal hall found on the second floor of the Ford Centre. Should the COC ever need to do any recordings of performances, each one of the three halls is already wired to a central control studio . Permanent conduits run to the loading dock for the Apotex Theatre and the George Weston Recital Hall providing easy set-up of a large mobile studio. I feel that the city of Toronto should take a serious look at turning over the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts to the COC before embarking on building another theatre in a city that already has an excess of theatres. Charles R. Kaiser Theatre Technician Newmarket Theatre Address letters to Readers Write: 60 Bellevue Ave Toronto M5T 2N4, or (416) 603-3787 (fax) or

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