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Opera Canada

Opera Canada Vol. LVIII, No. 4

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.

Our ‘planning an opera season’ feature seems welltimed given the number of 18/19 announcements that continue to flow in. For some years now the opera company PR lexicon has seized on the buzzword ‘flexibility’—of venue, of scale, of musical and presentational style. For me, this trend hit home last May when I attended Opera America’s conference in Dallas. American companies have enthusiastically embraced this ethos, regularly including chamber works in their seasons, mounted in their own black box theatres, or in alternative venues outside their main ‘opera houses.’ In Canada, we’ve been less quick to jump on this bandwagon with a couple of notable exceptions. Calgary Opera just announced their first season under new General Director Keith Cerny which includes a rich variety of chestnuts, chamber works and collaborations with other…

2 min.
opera in the news

Competitions Eight Canadian singers are among the 38 chosen to compete at the Concours musical international de Montréal from May 29-Jun. 7. In the new Art Song division, the Canadians are sopranos Anna-Sophie Neher and Suzanne Taffot along with mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb who also competes in the Aria section. Other Canadians in the Aria division are: mezzo-sopranos Emily D’Angelo, Marie-Andrée Mathieu and Carolyn Sproule; tenor Andrew Haji and soprano Lauren Margison. Opera Canada will be on location, offering daily online coverage of the Art Song Finals on Jun. 3; the Aria Semi-finals on Jun. 4 and 5 as well as the Aria Finals on Jun. 7. Follow CMIM on operacanada.ca. Appointments In February, Metropolitan Opera made two major announcements involving Canadian artists: Yannick Nézet-Séguin is set to become the company’s Music Director in…

3 min.
aria umezawa

When Toronto-native Aria Umezawa started her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance at McGill University, she knew almost instantly that the life of an opera singer wasn’t for her. “What I enjoyed was the process of collaboration,” she observes of her behind-the-scenes love of the art form. “I could spend months in the rehearsal room. I thought maybe I wasn’t meant to be a performer but [instead,] on the other side of the production table.” After discovering her interest in directing, Umezawa wrote to Opera McGill Director, Patrick Hansen, who became a mentor. Hansen gave Umezawa hands-on experience stage managing McGill opera productions, which led to assistant directorship roles and eventually a few scene assignments. “We eased our way into direction,” she explains. That transition led to the co-creation (along with fellow McGill student and…

4 min.
nathan brock

“What am I doing this season? People ask me and I can’t remember. That’s how much stuff comes and goes every month.” Nathan Brock is on a roll at the Hamburgische Staatsoper (Hamburg State Opera), where he has been Kapellmeister since 2015. The multilingual conductor (he speaks Spanish, French, German and Polish) attended the University of Toronto and later, Zurich University of the Arts. A protege of Kent Nagano, Brock has led a number of orchestras in France and Italy, and conducted at Komische Oper Berlin and Royal Swedish Opera, as well as the symphony orchestras of Toronto, Quebec, Edmonton, Nova Scotia, Victoria and Thunder Bay. Balancing new productions and revivals, old works and new, dance and symphonic repertoire, is no small feat. “As a conductor, yes, it’s about focusing on quality…

4 min.
mireille asselin

“Both the beauty and the frustration of a singing career is that you can never stand still and rest on your laurels,” muses soprano Mireille Asselin, in a recent conversation. Now into the second decade of a burgeoning career, it’s time for a little re-assessment and reflection: “I find myself always learning new repertoire, growing my technique, pushing myself in new directions as an artist, and planning into the future.” To be sure, standing still is simply not part of her DNA. When I wrote her first profile for Opera Canada some seven years ago, she was a new member of the COC Ensemble Studio. Even at that early stage of her career, her beautiful voice and engaging stage persona made one sit up and take notice. The COC certainly did,…

9 min.
letter from vienna

For a five-week period from Nov. 16 through Dec. 21, 2017, the Vienna State Opera (VSO) presented a not-so-mini festival within their already jam-packed season called Strauss-Tage (Strauss Days): six operas and one ballet by Richard Strauss. Even though none of the productions were new to the house, it’s the type of ambitious programming only possible at a company like the VSO, steeped in the Straussian tradition, with easy access to star principals and equally important, the ability to cast smaller roles from its formidable ensemble of house singers. Beyond these artistic foundations however, lie a unique set of circumstances in Vienna that make events like Strauss-Tage possible—conditions that would be the envy of any North American opera company—and probably even a few in Europe. In Austria, the performing arts are…