30 TOURS Opera Courses and Oper~ Tours· with Iain Scott -~ • Feb. 2004: - PEARL FISHERS in San Diego . with Bayrakdarian, Schade, and Braun! ' • May-June 2004 - GREAT OPERA HOUSES • Aug. 2004 - VERONA: OPERA MOST GRAND COURSES ' • GREAT OPERA COMPOSERS ( • MORE INSIGHTS INTO GREAT ARIAS • WINDOWS ON "DIE WALKURE" weekend • WAGNER - BEFORE "THE RING" NJJ1~,,!c%Apprecia .tion : ;~_ff~l :·'· ·. •;Ii~:: ... ~:21fiii ".:1; .. ! 12.Great Co11certos I Join Rick Phillips, · host of CBC Radio's Sound Advice, for an informative and entertaining course expl9ring twelve magnificent concertos, from Bach to Bartok Classes begin Wednesday, January 21, 2004, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at the Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor Street West Engaging, educational, enlightening! For more information or to enroll call the RCM (416) 408-2825 The highlights of December and January are two unusual double bills. In December the COC Ensemble willipresen~ J.S. Bach's "Coffee Cantata" with Henry Purc~ll 's "Dido and Aeneas". In January Opera Ontario pairs Francis Poulenc's "La Voix humaine" with Jules Massenet's "Le Portrait de Manon". Except for "Cav" and "Pag" and parts of Puccini's "II Trittico", one-act operas tend to be neglected by prof essional companies. It's a pleasure to see such creative programming. Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas", written in 1689 for Josiah Priest's School for Young Ladies at Chelsea, was the first great opera in English and by Christopher Haile Robert Longo as.the Soldier (Bummerli), and Shannon Mercer as Nadina in Toronto Operetta Theatre's The Chocolate Soldier is among the finest of the 17th cen- designed and directed by Cocteau. tury. Contrasting with the tragic tone In both play and opera, the sole charof Purcell is the light-heartedness of acter known as Elle is continually the "Coffee Cantata", DWV 211 by on the telephone trying with increas J. S. Bach. Opera was certainly not ing despt>ration to get through to her unknown to Bach. Indeed, his Lu- lover, who has clear,ly lost interest theran employers called him to task in her. The work is built on the more than once for making his sa- irony that a means of communicacred works too operatic. His secu- tion has become a symbol of Elle's · lar Cantatas, bearing the label "dram- isolation. This gripping tour de force ma per musica", were -.yritten for for soprano will be sung by Lyne others. -In particular, Bach and mem- Fortin, who wowed audiences in bers of the Leipzig Collegium Mu- "Les Pecheurs des perles" last year. sicum used to practise and play at Diana Leblanc, who has played the Zimmermann's Coffee House ... Per- role of Elle herself in Cocteau 1 s play, haps that's why he chose to set his will direct. friend Picander.' s 1727 satire about While "Le Portrait de Manon" is a father and his coffee-obsessed notamonodramalike"Voix",itdoes daughter to mu~ic. focus on a single male character. It · The double bill will be directed is Massenet's coda to his great opby Dmitri Bertman, who had great era "Manon" of 1884, where we success with it at his Helikon Opera me~t a middle-aged Des Grieux, livin Moscow in 1997. The four per- ing alone with 'his memories of the formances- December 1, 3, 5 and great love of his life. Des Grieux 7-are already sold out. To be put tries to prevent the marriage of his on a waiting list, contact the COC at nephew and Aurore, a girl of low 416-363-8231. birth, who reminds him of Manon, but his contemplation of Manon's The other intriguing double bill portrait changes his attitude. Theodore Baerg sings Des Grieux, Lau is Opera Ontario's pairing of Poulenc's "La Voix humaine" with Massenet's rarely staged "Le Portrait de. the nephew. The Opera Ontario ra Whalen Aurore and Louise.Guyot Manon". Both works had their premieres at the Opera Comique, the January 24, 2004. It then moves to production opens in Kitchener on Massenet in 1894 and the Poulenc Hamilton for performances on January 31, February 5 and 7. For in 1959. "La Voix humaine", Poulenc's setting of Jean Cocteau's play tickets pnone 1-800-575-1381 or else of the same name, was a great success at its premiere in a production visit the Opera Ontario website at , www.operaontario.com. DECEMBER 1 2003 - FEBRUARY 7 2004
I • Toronto Operetta Theatre adds For its winter season the COC a new work to its repertoire in De- presents two blockbusters, Puccini's cember with Oscar Straus's "The "Turandot" and Verdi's final opera Chocolate Soldier" ("Der tapfere · "Falstaff''. "Turandot" stars Eva Ur Soldat"). · banova as the seemingly heartless prin- This fine 1908 operetta based cess, Richard Margison as her suitor on George Bernard _Shaw's "Arms Calaf and Serena Farnocchia as Liu. and the Man" h·as the strange dis- Ratherthanthefamiliarbutgaudycomtinction of being more popular out- pletion by Puccini's pupil Franco Alside germanophone countries than fano, this production will present the within them. "My Hero" is just Canadian premiere of the 2002 com-· the best known of its.series of de- pletion by Luciano Berio based on licious melodies. The bright Puccini's original sketches. "Falstaff'' young cast includes Elizabeth Bee- stars Pavlo Hunka in the title role with ·1er, Keith Klassen, Robert Longo Wendy Nielsen and Judit Nemeth as and Shannon Mercer. the two "merry wives of Windsor". It plays December 27, 28, 30 . The operas play in repertory from and 31 1, 2003 and January 2 and January 21 to February 7, 2004: For 3, 2004. For tickets phone 416- ticketsphone416-872-2262orvisitthe 366-7723. website at www.coc.ca. OPERA oN ov·o by Phil Ehrensaft Last Bows, Done Just Right A lifetime of talent, skills and wis- · ed to mount the premier in h_is home.