Next week

uglyMessiah season gets underway with Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah on Monday.  On Wednesday night, Opera 5 have a seasonal fundraiser at the Extension Room including an ugly sweater comp (Greg Finney at very short odds).  Then on Saturday owing to bizarre scheduling you can take your pick from the ROH’s Così at Bloor Hot Docs or the Met’s L’Amour de Loin at just about any Cineplex Odeon.  Both essentially at lunchtime, for some value of lunchtime.

Upcoming opera in cinemas

Bloor Hot Docs, after something of a hiatus, is showing three Royal Opera House productions in December.  Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, December 3, 12:00 PM Norma (directed by La Fura dels Baus’ Alex Olle) with Sonya Yoncheva in the title role. It was described as “striking and perverse” by The Guardian.  Sonia Ganassi is Adalgisa with Joseph Calleja as Pollione. Antonio Pappano conducts. More info.

Saturday, December 10, 11:00 AM Cosi fan tutte directed by  Jan Phillip Gloger, conducted by Semyon Bychkov. With Angela Brower (Dorabella), Corinne Winters (Fiordiligi), Daniel Behle (Ferrando), Alessio Arduini (Guiglielmo)  Looks like an updated “theatre in theatre” production. More info.

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Where would you go to see opera in cinema?

party2So further to my rant the other day about the ROH and ENO approach to their cinema broadcasts in Canada and the Met’s lock up with Cineplex Odious…

Suppose one were responsible for marketing the Royal Opera or ENO’s product in Canada what would you do?  Personally I wouldn’t worry about signing up loads of suburban and small town fleapits.  I’d go for the where the opera audience is in the downtown areas of the cities that have opera companies and maybe university towns.  I’d also go for the upscale theatres with decent sound and bars with decent beer and that sort of thing.  In Toronto that would be the TIFF Lightbox and Bloor Hot Docs.  Elsewhere I don’t know but I’d like to push the idea with the ROH marketing folks so any ideas on the “right” cinemas in Montreal or Vancouver or even Hamilton would be most welcome.

So much for competition

I have now received the cinemaHD line ups from the Royal Opera House and the ENO.  Basically if you live in Canada you are probably screwed.  The baleful effects of the Met’s exclusive with Cineplex Odious are all too apparent.  If one compares the ROH ballet line up with opera it’s clear.  Whereas you can catch the ballet in just about every major population centre, the opera coverage is, at best, spotty.  There’s nothing at all in Quebec and Ontario is represented by four screens in Waterloo, Kingston, Whitby and Orleans.  It’s not much better elsewhere.  And ENO apparently hasn’t figured out that Canada exists which sucks because I really want to see my favourite crazy lady’s Queen of the Night.

I really wonder about the Met’s motivation.  They talk a great game about extending the audience for opera but then put barriers in the way of anything except their own rather boring product.  I also wonder why on earth Cineplex agreed to an exclusive.  When you pretty much have a monopoly you don’t need to take that shit from the Met.  Without Cineplex they are screwed too.  So it goes.

Hands on Figaro

In the booklet accompanying David McVicar’s production of Le nozze di Figaro, recorded at the Royal Opera house in 2006, there’s an essay by the director in which he raises all kinds of questions about the rise of the bourgeoisie, the nature of revolution and romantic conceptions of love.  He even appears to draw a parallel between Joseph II and Tony Blair. Then he declines to explain how he has embodied all these ideas on the stage and challenges us to “Watch, listen, participate”.  Well I did and I’m none the wiser.  What I see her is an essentially traditional approach; transferred cosmetically to 1830s France but so what?  It’s darker than some Figaro’s but not nearly as dark as, say, Guth.  Curiously, the main “extra” on the disks “Stage directions encoded in the music” tees this up much more clearly than the essay.

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Future ROH broadcasts at the Bloor

mahagonnyFollowing on from yesterday’s Der fliegende Holländer showing at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema I followed up with them about future plans for the ROH opera broadcasts.  Here’s the scoop though dates may change.

June 28th.  Brecht/Weill The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.  This is a new production by John Fulljames with Mark Wrigglesworth conducting.  The cast includes Anne-Sofie von Otter, Willard White and Christine Rice.  It’s going to be sung in English.

July 26th.  Puccini La Bohème.  It’s the old John Copley production dating from 1975 (which in turn replaced an 1896 production) and it was intended to be “traditional” and it is!  Joseph Calleja and Anna Netrebko headline with Dan Ettinger conducting.

August 30th.  Rossini Guillaume Tell.  This is another new production , this time by Damiano Michieletto.  Gerry Finley sings the title role with Malin Byström as Mathilde.  Antonio Pappano conducts.

So, some decent fillers for the traditionally quiet summer season.

The Flying Welshman

BrynAdrianneThe Royal Opera House production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer finally made it to Toronto yesterday with a showing of the film at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.  There areva couple of Toronto connections.  The production was created by Tim Albery, although Daniel Dooner directs this revival, and the Senta is sung by Adrianne Pieczonka who was present with her family and introduced the film.  The Dutchman, of course, is played by hulking Welshman Bryn Terfel who wasn’t there.  He was probably crying into his beer somewhere at Wales coming up short in the Six Nations. Continue reading