There have been a series of interesting announcements about composers and commissions from the Canadian Opera Company recently. First is the announcement that Ian Cusson is to become composer-in-residence from August 2019. Cusson is part Métis and, readers may recall, featured as half of a memorable evening kicking off the new Confluence concert series in October. There’s an initial commission announced too. He will work with Colleen Murphy on a piece for “families and young people” that weaves elements of myth into a contemporary urban setting.
There have also been changes in the line up of the main stage commissions at the COC. La Reine-Garçon, first announced in 2015 and originally scheduled as an Ana Sokolovic composition for next season , is moving forward as a co-commission with the Opéra de Montréal with Julien Bilodeau as composer and Michel Marc Bouchard as librettist. Target date is now 2023.
Meanwhile Ana will compose a new opera; The Old Fools, with Paul Bentley as librettist. The piece is based on a Philip Larkin poem of the same title about his fear of aging and death. Seems like a market oriented approach. This one is scheduled to premier in 2021.
And in non COC news, Soundstreams have announced a new piece for performance in April 2019 (April 9th/10th/11th at The Great Hall). It’s a series of seven songs; one for each deadly sin, and each composed and performed in a different vocal style/tradition. Participants include Elizabeth Shepherd, Aviva Chernick, Robin Dann, Christopher Mayo and Analia Llugdar.
Finally, there’s a semi-staged version of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory coming to Trinity St. Paul’s on March 2nd featuring a range of young singers from the Domoney Artists Management stable. Singers include Caitlin Wood, Marjorie Maltais, Asitha Tennekoon and Clarence Frazer with Nicole Bellamy at the piano.