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Opera Canada

Opera Canada

Vol. LXI, No. 1

For 60 years, Opera Canada has been the exclusive voice of opera in Canada and Canadians in opera around the world. Each issue includes insightful features on artists and performing companies, exclusive interviews, performance reviews, lively commentary and news of Canadian creators in major opera centers at home and abroad.

MAGCAN-Opera Canada Publications
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4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.

We are about to begin the most unusual opera season ever. Under normal circumstances, companies across Canada would be unveiling their season opening productions. As the comprehensive cross-Canada reports in this issue suggest, companies have responded to current restrictions in a huge variety of ways. Some will produce all-digital seasons… others are holding out hope for a return to live events in 2021. If anything positive comes out of the enforced pause brought about by COVID-19, it’s the opportunity to take a deep, hard look at the opera industry. This has manifested in two distinct ways: questioning why artists of colour and other marginalized groups are not being given a place at the table, and the stark financial repercussions for artists’ livelihoods. We tackle both of these topics with features on…

3 min.
opera in the news

In Memoriam RICHARD COVELLO May 16, 1931 – July 17, 2020 Richard Covello, Opera Canada’s long-serving, Chicagobased contributor, passed away on July 17, 2020, at 89. A passionate lover of opera and the performing arts, Richard’s byline first appeared in the magazine in the Spring 1973 issue on a review of Lyric Opera of Chicago productions of Berg’s Wozzeck and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. His most recent review, of a Lyric Opera Queen of Spades with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, appeared in the Summer 2020 issue. As a regular contributor throughout the period, he can be credited with a portfolio spanning almost half a century focusing on the Chicago opera scene and the Canadian artistic contribution to it. As soon as Lyric Opera or Chicago Opera Theatre announced their seasons, he liked to call…

10 min.
robert pomakov

After my plans for an in-person interview with the versatile Canadian bass Robert Pomakov fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic, Pomakov served a generous banquet of food for operatic thought during a telephone interview I conducted with him in early June. The 39-year-old artist hails from Toronto, where he attended St. Michael’s Choir School and the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Young Artists’ Performance Academy before studying at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. While still only in his early 20s, he enjoyed success in several major competitions and since then, has built an impressive roster of roles which he sings at the world’s top opera houses. A mid-career highlight came in 2013 at Joliette, Québec’s Festival de Lanaudière where Pomakov performed Heinrich in Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin under the baton of another Canadian…

11 min.
opera canada top 50

When Ruby Mercer founded Opera Canada in 1960, the existing opera business largely amounted to the Canadian Opera Company in the private sector, along with the established teaching institutions and our public broadcaster. The Canadian opera network today is considerably more complex geographically and economically. There’s a roster of performing companies big and small almost from coast to coast, and while the CBC long ago abandoned its role as a producer and sponsor of live opera, the conservatories, universities and commercial teaching programs remain a vital component of the sector. But just how big is Canada’s opera industry? How do the performing companies stack up against each other as businesses? What might be the sector’s overall economic clout? This first edition of the Opera Canada Top50 launches an initiative to address these…

8 min.
florie flourishes

Earlier this summer, I contacted Canadian soprano Florie Valiquette for an interview. At the time, she should have been at Glyndebourne making her debut there as Soeur Constance in a new Barrie Kosky production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. Instead, I found her in her Parisian home near the Marché de la Bastille indulging happily in her passion for cooking. She was preparing a vegan gourmet dinner for a small group of friends, the first in months! “Because of my lifestyle, I started creating my own healthy recipes,” said Valiquette. “I currently live…next to the Marché de la Bastille, where I go twice a week. In my neighbourhood there are many bio food stores and even a vegan baker… it’s almost too tempting. I started filming cooking videos…and I even do…

12 min.
“the sick body cannot be ignored…”

Someday, a composer will announce plans for an opera about the coronavirus and inevitably, a host of questions will emerge: Will it be a Wagnerian-scaled epic, appropriate to the pandemic’s global reach? Or will it be a compact score, conveying the short course of the disease? Perhaps it will have the hardscrabble settings of a verismo opera (think overstretched hospitals and beleaguered nursing homes), or an inward sensibility reflecting the months of anxious quarantine. History tells us that opera is not entirely suited to medical realism. The scene in which a character expires from lung disease after singing about it at length is easy to ridicule. Deaths from consumption (tuberculosis) in 19th-century opera not only tend to romanticize suffering, but, falling in line with patriarchal standards, inordinately afflict remarkable women. Despite these…