Liz Caballero is an American soprano of Cuban origin. Like many successful professional singers she never really planned to be one. Opera wasn’t part of her childhood experience as a Cuban refugee in Southern Florida. Like many young people she sang in school and church choirs and often got to take solo roles but she didn’t have a voice lesson until she was at university. Her break came in 1995 when, on a whim, she entered the Pavarotti International Voice Competition in Miami and made it to the finals in Philadelphia. Pavarotti encouraged her to develop her raw talent which led to stints in young artists programs in Miami and San Francisco and to her current busy career mainly singing Puccini and Verdi roles in US regional houses.
I met with Adam Scime and Amanda Smith of FAWN Chamber Creative today to talk about chamber opera in general and their upcoming show L’Homme et le Ciel in particular. There are several questions that are exercising the minds of many people in the opera community as they try to create in and for the space that lies between the COC and an out of tune piano in a pub and that has value beyond providing performance opportunities for the participants.
There’s probably a rough consensus that the answer lies in “chamber opera” but less unanimity on what that means either in terms of forces employed or repertoire. Equally, there are differing views on where the potential audience is to be found. So where does FAWN sit on these issues?
This week’s listings post is exceedingly dull. Though the season of mince pies and Messiahs will soon be upon us, next week is really quiet. The only event I’m aware off at this point is a concert next Sunday afternoon by the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. It’s at 2pm at Grace Church on the Hill. It will be their first public performance since Dean Burry took over a musical director.
Yesterday I went to a Met “live in HD” broadcast for the first time since The Nose two years ago. It was an interesting and ultimately rather depressing experience. This review really falls into two parts; a review of the production and performance, including how it was filmed for broadcast, and a piece on how the Met is “presenting” the work and how that seems to fit in with its overall HD strategy. The latter may turn into a bit of a rant.
The AGO has a new initiative; AGO Friday Nights. For the price of admission to the gallery one also gets to hear a one hour concert of music programmed by Tapestry’s Michael Mori to reflect something going on at the the gallery. Right now the big exhibition is JMW Turner: Painting Set Free. It’s a decent sized exhibition of works mainly drawn from the later stages of Turner’s career and it’s well worth seeing. The music; half piano, half works for mezzo and piano reflects aspects of the exhibition.
Tap:Ex METALLURGY is the second experiment by Tapestry Artistic Director Michael Mori in engineering a collaboration between opera people and an alien musical form; in this case punk experimentalists Fucked Up. The program consistec of two pieces. Metallurgy A was written by Fucked Up’s Jonah Falco to a dense libretto by Mike Haliechuk and David James Brock. In half an hour it tells the story of a mother and father trying, unsuccessfully, to come to terms with the death of their young daughter. Dramatically it’s quite clever. There’s dialogue and then the performers (the musicians are on stage with the singers) leave one by one until only the mother (Krisztina Szabó) and the violinist (Yoobin Ahn), representing the ghost of the daughter, are left on stage to play out a final duet.
I really liked the “look” of the two pieces from the Glenn Gould School last week so I’m more than happy to share some additional pictures. I like the first one in particular.
Photo credits: Stuart Lowe