Your chance to be an opera star

Signal boosting for the good folks at Against the Grain…

Against the Grain Theatre, Opera Columbus and Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity seeking members for virtual chorus extravaganza

Singers across the globe encouraged to submit videos to be considered for groundbreaking musical experiment

TORONTO — Against the Grain Theatre, along with co-producers Opera Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Alberta, are developing Christoph Willibald Gluck’s most famous work, Orphée et Eurydice (Berlioz version). Premiering in 1762, the opera was in the vanguard, changing the way that the musical form was experienced. This interpretation of the opera—while staying true to the music and feel of the Baroque original—will place the work firmly in the 21st century with new electronic orchestration, baroque burlesque dancers, sopranos singing from silks, and aerial dancers. Most importantly, the co-producers are seeking singers of all types who are interested in becoming part of the production’s virtual chorus.

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Hvorostovsky dead at 55

2422-hvorostovsky_1The death of Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky was announced a couple of hours ago.  It’s no secret that he had been suffering from brain cancer for some time but, still, 55 is far too young.  I’ll remember him for one of the oddest recitals I’ve ever been to.  Not that his performance was odd, rather it was excellent, but because his “fan club”, which appeared to be made up of Russian women of a certain age, were the noisiest people I have ever seen in Koerner Hall, on or off stage.

I’ll also remember him for the recording of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin which may well be the very best to come out of the Met HD series.  He had an interesting and not unproblematic life.  You can read all about it in Anthony Tommasini’s thoughtful obituary in the New York Times.

Bicycle Opera in Hamilton

bear_on_bikeThe full schedule of events around Bicycle Opera Project’s weekend in Hamilton in conjunction with the Hamilton Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre have now been announced.  We are looking at the weekend of July 15th/16th and the details are as follows:

Saturday, July 15th
2:00 pm  |  Hamilton Labour History Bike Tours (registration link)
6-8 pm  |  Handmade Marketplace at WAHC
8 pm  |  Sweat (link to tickets)

Sunday, July 16th
10:30 am  |  Hamilton Labour History Bike Tours (registration link)
12-2 pm  |  Handmade Marketplace at WAHC
2 pm  |  Sweat (link to tickets)

It’s all pay what you can.  Registration in advance is required for the bike tours. Full details on the tour and Sweat are here.

Met HD line up for 2017/18

I missed this when I wrote up the Met season this morning but the HD cinema season has been announced too.  The line up includes all four new productions but also repeats of La Bohème and L’elisir d’amore.  Outside of the new stuff there’s nothing exciting but then that’s pretty much the story on stage too.  Here’s the line up.

October 7th 2017 – Bellini – Norma

It’s the new McVicar production which sounds utterly traditional though no doubt we’ll get an over sized axe and a few human sacrifices.  This is one of the shows where both Sondra Radvanovsky and Joyce DiDonato appear which would seem to be the main attraction.  Carlo Rizzi conducts.

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The new Norma

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On stage at the Met 2017/18

The Metropolitan Opera has announced its 2017/18 season.  It’s quite heavy on warhorses.  La Bohème, Tosca and Turandot each get fifteen performances and there’s plenty more standard fare in there.  Once again, there’s nothing pre Mozart and the only nods to modernity are a revival of Elektra (six shows) and a new production of Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel (eight shows).

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The Exterminating Angel at the Salzburg Festival.  Photo: Monika Rittershaus

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Jordan de Souza on the rise

Jordan de SouzaJordan de Souza, late of the COC and Tapestry, continues to make news.  Having recently joined the Komische Oper Berlin as Studienleiter, he will, from the 2017/18 season, be the Kapellmeister (but not GMD).  I think (my knowledge of German musical semantics being imperfect) that this represents a step up from Assistant Conductor to Chief Conductor with a policy role but stops short of implying overall control of musical policy.  Apparently the Komische is still looking for a GMD.  For those who might be able to wring more out of it than I, here is the article from Musik Heute (auf Deutsch).

ETA:  A kind German correspondent provided further information on the semantics of “Kapellmeister” as it generally applies in German houses (i.e. may not be 100% correct for the specific case of the Komische).  So, Kapellmeister is basically the second resident conductor of an opera orchestra after the GMD, without (usually) being in any real sense an “assistant”to the GMD though possibly a “deputy”. Generally the Kapellmeister takes on a number of repertoire productions per season and perhaps also new productions and/or concerts.

Sweet prince

192996050Just been checking out the Glyndebourne 2017 season announcement.  Not that I’ll be going or anything but one production did catch my eye.  There’s a new Hamlet opera from Brett Dean and Matthew Jocelyn to be directed by Neil Armfield and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski which sounds promising enough but look at this cast: Allan Clayton (Hamlet), Sarah Connolly (Gertrude), Barbara Hannigan (Ophelia), Rod Gilfry (Claudius), Kim Begley (Polonius), John Tomlinson (Ghost of Old Hamlet).  There had better be a DVD.

Oh yes and they’ve unearthed yet another previously (more or less) unheard of Cavalli.