Movies, TV & Music
Opera Canada

Opera Canada Vol. LIX, No. 3

For 50 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.

‘Tis the season for opera companies across the country to announce their 19/20 plans—the first time opera fans get to see which operas, singers, productions and directors will be coming to their local theatres. As of writing, companies in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Montréal and Toronto have released their 19/20 details, as well as the 2019 Festival d’opéra de Québec. In general, most are sticking to tried and true repertoire, with an abundance of Traviatas, Barbers and Rigolettos on the roster. (A notable exception being Pacific Opera Victoria’s Il trittico and Flight.) Tellingly, the Canadian Opera Company’s six opera season is comprised entirely of works one would broadly characterize as ‘19th century’—the oldest being 1816’s Barber and the newest, 1926’s Turandot, still very much representing the tail end of the Romantic opera…

3 min.
opera in the news

In Memoriam With the passing of Neil Crory, Canada’s classical-music community mourns someone whose work in the decades around the turn of the century was especially important and influential. On his retirement in 2011, he was Senior Music Producer for the CBC, though the bald title covered a breadth of technical and creative expertise. In long days “at the office” (his term), he juggled the roles of concert producer, record producer, impresario, programmer, researcher, writer, editor, creative director, music advisor and consultant. Never one to seek the artistic spotlight, he pursued his roles behind the scenes with relish and was tireless in his efforts to present the artists and groups he worked with at their best. It’s a testament to his grace, diplomacy and understanding that his professional network over time…

8 min.
artists on stage

Asitha Tennekoon The first time I met Asitha Tennekoon, we were backstage after a Bach Magnificat in Ottawa in December. I had wanted to introduce myself to Tennekoon, an engaging young Sri Lankan lyric tenor who has called Toronto home since 2014. As we were chatting, the conductor interrupted to ask if we were related (I’m bi-racial; my mother is from India). I brought up the incident when I saw Tennekoon again in January in Montréal, where he was rehearsing the role of Luis Griffith in Terence Blanchard’s jazz opera Champion at Opéra de Montréal. Tennekoon laughed and shook his head. “In 2010 I was singing Tamino in the Magic Flute at BayView (a summer festival affiliated with a well-heeled cottage community in northern Michigan),” the 33-year-old singer recalled over brunch at Leméac,…

9 min.
letter from brno

Every two years since 2008, the city of Brno, Czech Republic’s second largest urban centre, has hosted the Janáček Brno Festival. The 2018 edition (Nov. 17-Dec. 5) ambitiously presented Leoš Janáček’s (1854-1928) complete works for the stage amongst a plethora of ancillary performances. In order to achieve this gargantuan task, opera companies and soloists were invited from throughout Europe to Brno, utilizing multiple venues across the city. The Festival is truly international in scope, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world—I noticed members of Janáček societies from the UK, Denmark, the US and the Netherlands—as well as proud local audiences. Opera productions ranged in scale from full-on spectacle to pared-down ‘modern,’ offering a full range of theatrical experience. What makes the pilgrimage extra special is Janáček’s intrinsic connection to Brno. It…

8 min.
letter from thiré

In the Vendée, 100 km south-east of Nantes, France lies an enchanted garden in the town of Thiré. It is both vast and intimate, surprisingly wild but meticulously tended, and for the last two weeks of August, music arises from every thicket along its pathways. I had the privilege this past summer to visit this idyllic spot during the “Festival dans les Jardins de William Christie” and I am still under its spell. This rural area on the west coast of France has survived tumultuous times. From the Hundred Years War of the late Middle Ages to the Vendée uprising during the French Revolution, the region has been a battlefield for much of its history. It has also inspired operas such as Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, Massenet’s Thérèse and Hérold’s Le pré…

7 min.
letter from zürich

Opernhaus Zürich attracts a well-dressed crowd, with beautiful architecture, top-notch service, and a very elegant auditorium. The house also features an eclectic array of inspiring and sometimes challenging offerings on its stage, works which are both familiar and not, in theatrical presentations that push ideas about what opera can and even should be in the 21st century. The house—with its neo-classical exterior, gold/burgundy jewel-box-style auditorium and superlative acoustics—has hosted numerous premieres, including Berg’s Lulu (1937), Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler (1938), and Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron (1957). In 2014 it beat out Metropolitan Opera and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden to win Opera House of the Year at the International Opera Awards. As with most everything in this lovely Swiss city, it’s pricey but also high quality, and very classy: sip a…