ON OPERA and Mail for March 22 and in the Sunday New York Times. by Christopher Haile The companies involved are the Over the years there has been so COC, the Canadian Children's !nuchoperaticactivityinTorontoand Opera Chorus, Opera Atelier, environs in April and May it has felt Opera Ontario, Queen of Pudas if we were in the midst of an op- dings, Soundstreams and Tapeserafestival. Now, thnnks to Opera.ca try New Opera Works. As part of and a grant from the federal gov- the campaign a phone line (l-800- ernment, we really will be. 642-2241) will be set up and not only tickets but hotel, dinner and OPERA.CA (fonnerly known as the transportation packages will also be Professional Opera Companies· of available. Canada) is a nationwide arts advo- The twofold intention, as Baile cacy group that seeks, according to states, is "to make potential cultural Executive Director Micheline tourists more aware of the great McKay, the "sustainable healthy breadth and diversity of operatic ofope:ating" of !ts member 6pe~~ coi_n- ferings in the Toronto area, and to parues and tnes to create a fertile facilitate the creation of a crossover ground for the creation of new . audience". Those who are interestwork(. In ~002, when Op~ra ed in Verdi and Wagner may also ~menca held its annual convention want to check out Lully. Those inm Toronto, Opera.ca _members co- terested in the mini-operas on offer ordinated their plans to showcase for at Tapestry may want to stay for fullthe visitin? delega_tes th~ range of length operas or other new works opera ch01ces av~1lable m _the ~o- on offer. The members of Opera.ca ronto area. According to ~avid B~e, will see how the present campaign General Manager of Opera Atelier plays out, but if it works, they hope andBoardMemberofOper~-~a, ~at that a Spring Opera Festival will expenence made the part1c1patmg become a biennial event. companies aware of the benefits of joint action. ONE REASON that such an event All the members of Opera.ca do can work in Toronto is that each already coordinate their-season sched- opera corr_ipany occ_u~ies a slil51:tly ules to avoid possible duplication. different mche, providing everything Last year after severai companies from the Baroque to the present, and were hurting after steep declines in from chamber to large-scale fonnats. attendance due to the SARS scare, Of the large-scale presentations, Opera.ca applied to all three levels · there's no doubt that the most anticof government for relief. Ultimate- ipated is th 7 C~C's ne~ produ7ti?~ ly, it received a grant to be used to of Wagner s_Die Walkure ~at ~1t1- promote opera in the area. The re- ates the fi:st-ever Canad1~ Ring suit is a Spring Opera Festival from cycle. Unlike 1:1ost ~ew ~g cy April 1 to May 31 that.will be ad- c)e~, the Canad~an ~g will be the vertised in a brochure in the Globe v1s\on not of a smgle director but of four directors and a single designer. Film-maker Atom Egoyan, director of the COC's successful if controversial Salome, directs. Michael Levine, who designed the COC ' s acclaimed Bluebeard's Castle !Erwar IN THEIR OWN WoRDs: CLAIRE HOPKINSON CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8 night. The creative and performing artists we have worked with find the workshop process to be an invaluable tool in envisioning their new work and in the development of their collaborative partnerships. Tapestry's Composer Librettist Laboratory ("LibLab") is about understanding the art of collaboration and not about creating product. In it we encourage the best playwrights, poets, writers and composers of our " time to imagine a highly dramatic music theatre creation that communi cates directly to the audience. There are no set rules for what this form is and what it can evolve into. Opera, in its ultimate form, is the antithesis of TV - it is live, it is immersive and erootional, it grabs people viscerally, and engages all the senses; it is also a shared human event with hun- same rooment in time. As for "rich people", opera ticket prices are generally lower than pro sports tickets, and our Opera to Go at the Distillery prices are about the same as a good book! And last, I remember thnt leading up to Iron Road a few years back you put together a complex "opera in the schools "program thnt had stu- · dents not just appreciating but also creating. Anything similar hnppening now? · Since Iron Road, when our piloted ucation project involved two Toron- to schools, Tapestry has developed an education programme that is sec- and-to-none. While last year's Fac- ing South Education Programme at . tracted quite a bit of attention - from TYO, the Ontario Arts Council, the dreds of people who experience the Lieutenant Governor and the press - 26 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM ·Opera Atelier's spectacular Persee tung, is the designer for all four Ring tenor Mark Lundberg is Otelia, Si-. operas and director of Das Rhein- mona Bertini is Desdemona, John gold. COC General Director Rich- Fanning (interviewed on page 7) is ard Bradshaw conducts. The cast Iago and Kurt Lehmann is Cassio. includes Frances Ginzer as Briinnhil- Opera Ontario Artistic Director Dande, Peteris Eglitis as Wotan, Adri~ iel Lipton conducts and Jeannette anne Pieczonka as Sieglinde and Aster directs. Otelia plays in Hamil Clifton Forbis as Siegmund. ton April 24, 29 and May 1 and in The excitement over the first in- Kitchener on May 7. stallment of the Ring tends to over- FROM APRlL 23_ MA y 2, Opshadow the COC's parallel offering, Verdi's Rigoletto. Adrian Osmond era Atelier revives its magnificent directs the production from the San production of Persee by Jean-Bap Francisco Opera that includes Alan tiste Lully. In 2000 OA became the Opie as Rigoletto, Laura Claycomb first company in North America ever to stage this 1682 masterpiece and it as Gilda, Giuseppe Gipali as the Duke of Mantua and Ayk Martiros- proved a resounding triumph. Marsian as Sparafucile. Julian Kovatch- . shall Pynkoski directs and Herve ev conducts. Niquet again conducts but there are important changes of cast. This time Die Walkilre runs between April the French haute contre Cyril Auvi- 4 and 23 (six performances) with Rigoletto running between April 7 ty sings Persee, Marie LeNormand is Andromede and Thomas Meglioand 24 (seven performances). ranza is Meduse. JUST AS THE PAlRofCOC aper- THESE FOUR WORKS represent as is closing Opera Ontario opens its first ever production of Verdi's grand opera in the Festival brochure. Otelia. Acclaimed American Heiden- The other four companies involved this year's IN side Opera education and outreach initiative expands on the grassroots success of previous programmes and offers even roore creation-based learning to many roore learners. Since January, our talented anirnateur, Andy Morris, has worked with about 300 students at seven Ontario schools - from Toronto to Barrie to Georgetown - helping thei;n to craft their own presentations; based on the stories behind each of the five operas in Opera to Go at the Distillery. And because we have ten creative artists, two directors and three designers involved, those students have had as a resource the guidance and mentorship of real, live composers, writers and dramaturges. · As usual we have provided really great study guides, written by each of the librettists, as reference materials for.teachers and students - actual- ly, everyone in the production, along with our commissioning sponsors, has used them to get better acquainted with the works. New this year are a set of dedicated Web pages that follow the professional production from workshop to opening night. Accessible via our horn: page at · www.tapestrynewopera.com, the Opera to Go/INside Opera Web pages include interviews with the creative teams, set and costume sketches, a production diary and much roore. The education programre concludes on April 5 and April 7 when students gather to present their work to each other, followed by a special perfonnance of Opera to Go at the Distillery. It is always a thrill to see what those young minds have done with the same materials as the professional artists. APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2004 UJ "' " z N UJ u :, "' CQ 0 f- 0 :,: "-
Meuo Krisztina Szabo in Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Sirens/Sirenes' production. will present opera on a smaller scale. by Opera.ca 's Canadian Opera Creation Program. The full production The smallest scale, perhaps, is Tapestry New Opera Works' second is part of the Spring Opera Festival season of short operas entitled Opera To Go with seven performances 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm. and takes place May 15-and 16 at from April 1 ~ 7. Each of the five is a Last year Soundstreams offered an complete work with a running time international festival of opera for no longer than 15 minutes. children. This year it brings us The first of the five, lee Time by SomerFest with new productions of composer Chan Ka Nin and librettist Mark Brownell (the team who two works by Harry Somers unseen since their premieres more than 25 created Iron Road), takes us to the years ago. From May 26-29 is a "kiss 'n' cry" section of a Canadian double bill of Somers' opera The skating rink where a coach rips her Death of Enkidu and his ballet The protegee apart. Mother Everest by Merman of Oiford co-presented with composer Abigail Richardson and Dance Theatre David Earle and the librettist Maijorie Chan is about the Pierrot Ensemble. From June 2-4 is first woman to climb Mount Everest without oxygen and the Sherpa a double bill of Somers' The Fool and German composer Viktor Ullman's The Emperor of Atlantis pre guide who questions her motives. Rosa by James Rolfe (composer of sented by Histrion Productions. Beatrice Chancey) and librettist Can1- yar Chai is about a man who has On June 3-4 Queen of Puddings is been searching for his wife ever since offering a workshop production of she ran away after the death of their a new Canadian opera, The Midnight child. Brush by composer Koji Nakano and librettist Kico Gonzalez a libretto by Paul Bentley, who has Court, written by Ana Sokolovic to Risso deals with painter Francisco recently achieved fame as the librettist for Poul Ruders' The Handmaid's Goya and the mystery of his Maja paintings. And The Two Graces by composer Sean Ferguson and librettist Alexis Diamond is an opera buffa based on an historical encounter in 1593 between Irish pirate Grace O'Malley and Queen Elizabeth I of England. The perfonners appearing in various combinations in the five wm;ks are baritone Ian Funk, tenor Martin Hounnan, soprano Tamara Hummel, mezzo-soprano Lynne McMurtry and soprano Xin Wang. Banuta Rubess directs all five and Wayne Strongman conducts. AT lPM on March 28, the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus will present a preview of excerpts from their own contribution to the SpMg Opera Festival. This is The Hobbit by Dean Burry, a work supported APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2004 Tale. The story is based on a satiric Irish epic by Brian Merriman writte;;n about 1780. The cast will include Krisztina Szabo and John Kriter. The Spring Opera Festival marketing initiative, extensive as it is , covers only a portion of what is on offer during the same period. Royal Opera Canada, for example, will be presenting Verdi's Aida at the Liv.ing Arts Centre in Mississauga April 24-May 1 and at the Toronto Centre for the Arts May 6-15. Toronto Operetta Theatre has since 1985 carved out a special niche in Toronto's music theatre scene. From April 23-May 2 it presents that masterpiece of Golden Age Viennese operetta, Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr. The starry cast includes Laura Whalen, Mark DuBois and Keith Savage. TOT Artistic Director Guillermo Silva-Marin directs and Derek Bate conducts. Besides the fully staged works listed above, there are also notable performances of opera in concert. On April 16-17 the Toronto Consort presents Calisto by Francesco Cavalli. The Venetian work from1651 is a carnivalesque retelling of the god Jupiter's pursuit 0f the titular nymph Otello I Mark Lundberg Iago I John Fanning Desdemona I Simona Bertini Cassio I Kurt Lehmann Emilia I Elizabeth Turnbull Lodovico I Joseph Rouleau Conductor I Daniel Lipton Otell Hamilton Place I April 2• The Centre In The Squa 8pm performances CALL NOW FOR TICKE ·, Hamilton 800-575-138 Kitchener-Waterloo 800 www.operaontario.c disguised as the goddess Diana. Suzie LeBlanc sings Calisto and David Fallis conducts. On Saturday, May 8 a Calyx Concerts opera-in-concert production of Madama Butterfly will be held at 8:00 pmat Humbercrest United Church in Toronto, with Narelle Martinez as Butterfly, Rebecca Haas as Suzuki, Stuart Howe as Pinkerton and Stephen Horst as Sharpless. Stuart Hamilton is the host and narrator and Brahm Goldhamer provides the piano accompaniment. As SHOULD BE· abundantly clear from the array of offerings, the April May period in the Toronto area has developed into a kind of de facto opera festival on its own. Yet, most cultural tourists from south of the border and even within Canada tend to be aware only of the largest players in Toronto's opera scene. Therefore, Opera.ca's plan to promote this period as a Spring Opera Festival should have wide-ranging positive effects. If it succeeds in its goal of raising public awareness about the breadth and diversity of the operatic riches in Southern Ontario, it will have benefited not just the member companies in particular but the cultural community in Southern Ontario in general.