And now for something completely different…

THE WAR BRIDE poster FINALI’m not going to get to see this (obv!) but I am intrigued as it’s a concept I’ve not come across before.  Next Saturday (November 10th) Mexican-American composer, Nathan Felix, will use headphones to present his new opera titled, The War Bride, at Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival in San Antonio Texas. There will be two performances starting at 7:30pm and 8:30pm in Hemisfair Park. Felix is known for his guerilla style approach in presenting classical music in unconventional spaces and The War Brideis given no exception, with a performance outside along the riverwalk at Hemisfair Park. 

 The War Bride is based on the memoir of Felix’s late grandmother, Jean Groundsell-Contreras, who married Joe Contreras during World War II in Great Britain. Joe, from Mexico, gained naturalization via serving in the US Army and after the two exchanged vows Joe remained in Germany, as Jean crossed the Atlantic pregnant and alone on the S.S. Saturnia in 1945. Jean eventually settled along the border in Nuevo Laredo with Joe joining her in late 1946. Felix recounts Jean’s tale by using the riverwalk to depict her journey across the Atlantic ocean, the Mississippi river and the Rio Grande river but he also uses the river as a metaphor for hope, division and to shed light on immigration. Jean will be played by sopranist, Elise Miller alongside baritone, Jeremiah Drake and tenor, James Dykman. Drake and Dykman will play a multiple characters in the opera including former British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain and former US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Continue reading

CMIM schedule and broadcast info

I think I now have the complete schedule and broadcast information for the Concours musical internationale de Montréal édition Chant 2018.

Tuesday May 29th, 3pm and 7.30pm: Art Song First Round

Wednesday May 30th, 3pm and 7.30pm: Aria First Round

Thursday May 31st, 7.30pm: Aria First Round

Friday June 1st, 3pm and 7.30pm: Art Song Semifinal

Sunday June 3rd, 3pm: Art Song Final

Monday June 4th, 7.30pm: Aria Semifinal

Tuesday June 5th, 7.30pm: Aria Semifinal

Thursday June 7th, 7.30pm: Aria Final, Prizes, Gala

Everything up to and including June 3rd takes place at the Salle Bourgie at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  The Aria semis and final take place at the Maison Symphonique at the Place des Arts.


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Assorted news and signal boosts

genderneutralHere’s the news that’s arrived in my inbox this week.

Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts announced that from 2019 the DORA awards will be gender neutral.  In categories where there has traditionally been “Best Performance by a Male” and “Best Performance by a Female” there will now be a single “Best Performance” award.

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Looking ahead to May

marion nSo it looks like January is finally over and that means we can look ahead to next month.  Things are definitely winding down.  There’s the last Opera Pub of the season on the 3rd at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club.  The Vancouver Symphony is appearing with Bramwell Tovey at Roy Thomson Hall on the 26th with the highlight being Marion Newman singing Ancestral Voices; a piece Tovey wrote for her.  Also that evening the Canadian Children’s Opera opens a two performance run of Alice Ping Yee Ho’s new piece The Monkiest King. That’s at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

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The voice competition of the Montreal International Music Competition is not just awarding prizes to singers.  There’s also the $10,000 ‘John Newmark’ Award for the best collaborative pianist. There are twelve competitors, all under 35:


They join the 38 singers already announced.  And I’ll be there too.  I’m now fortunate enough, courtesy of MICM, to be able to be there for the whole of the song and aria competitions and I’ll be providing regular updates and, probably, live social media coverage throughout the events.


The line up for the vocal section of the Montreal International Music Competition has been announced.  There are 38 singers; all under 35.  They are drawn from 22 countries and include 8 Canadians.  There are two competitions; art song and aria.  The former is, of course, with piano accompaniment, the latter, at least in the latter stages, with orchestra.  I’m hoping to be in Montreal for the closing stages of the aria competition in the first week of June so watch this space.  Here is the line up:


More details can be found here.