Euryanthe

Weber’s 1823 “Grand-heroic opera” Euryanthe doesn’t get performed very often.  It’s not hard to see why even though Christof Loy’s production for the Theater an der Wien filmed in 2018 has some interesting features.

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Carmen at the Opéra comique

Bizet’s Carmen premiered at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1875.  In 2009 it was revived there in a production by Adrian Noble.  That production was filmed for TV and has now been released on disk.  Having watched it I’m asking myself whether it’s an attempt in some way to “recreate” something similar to the 1875 experience.  Alas, there’s nothing in the documentation to help with this question either way but two things intrigued me. The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique is in the pit which suggests an attempt to get a “period sound”.  Secondly, the spoken dialogue is not the version I’m accustomed to and there’s quite a bit more of it.  Is this, perhaps, the original 1875 dialogue?

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Newtubes

It seems like less on-line “opera” content is being produced as Europe prepares to return to theatres and Canada holds it breath.  A few things are ongoing though and there’s fun new content from Natalya Gennadi and friends with HBD!Project April.  More fine singing and stunning graphics. 

There’s also Isolation Series: Wash, Dry, Reset from Opera Revue featuring the mordant wit and musical talents of Dani Friesen, Alexander Hajek and Claire Harris, plus dish detergent and popcorn.  Both are on Youtube on channels Natalya Gennadi and Opera Revue respectively.

“Traditional” La Bohème?

Richard Jones’ production of Puccini’s La Bohème recorded at the Royal Opera House in 2020 is, at first glance, a highly conventional “traditional” La Bohème.  There’s no subtext.  The story unfolds strictly in line with the libretto.  And yet there’s something going on that raises it above the level of the typical canary fanciers’ La Bohème.  Ultimately I think it’s a combination of avoiding sentimentality or glitz or glamour and really focussing on the characters and the relationships between them.  It seems that the revival direction team of Julia Burbach and Simon Iorio and the cast have really worked on this.

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CASP composer mentorship programme

J_PlessisThe Canadian Art Song Project (CASP) has announced that Laurence Jobidon (right) and Jesse Plessis (left) are the inaugural mentees in the Chung-Wai Chow and John Wright Art Song Mentorship Programme for Composers; a new CASP initiative designed to support emerging composers working in the field of Canadian Art Song. They will be working with mentors Luna Pearl Woolf and Jocelyn Morlock, respectively.

L. Jobidon (headshot)Over the course of the next year, Laurence Jobidon will be working with Luna Pearl Woolf on her project that sets the poetry of Blanche Lamontagne; the first French-Canadian woman poet to publish under her own name, while Jesse Plessis will be working with Jocelyn Morlock on a project entitled Time’s Kiss that will interweave texts by Rabindranath Tagore, Anne Carson, and Geneviève Plessis.

Full details on the programme and the selected composers can be found here.

Black and white Barber

Laurent Pelly’s 2017 production of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Théatre des Champs Élysée  is classic Pelly.  The sets and costumes are very simple and essentially monochrome.  The sets in fact are constructed from flats painted as music paper.  The black, white and grey costumes are more or less modern and pretty nondescript.  But, in the classic Pelly manner, the action is fast paced and convincing.  There’s lots of synchronised movement and the physical acting and facial expressions are a bit exaggerated.  I toyed with the word “cartoonish” but that’s a bit crude if not entirely inaccurate.  The overall effect is positive.

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In other news…

confluence_mandala_sJust a couple of “listings”:

Confluence are repeating most of their season during May.  All concerts are free of charge, “premiere” at 7:00 pm on the Confluence YouTube Channel and will remain available for viewing for 48 hours.

  • Monday, May 10th – Walter Unger Salon; Aging and Creativity
  • Wednesday, May 12th – Something to Live For; A Billy Straythorn Celebration
  • Friday, May 14th – Mandala; the Beauty of Impermanence
  • Sunday, May 16th – Tuesday May 18th – The John Beckwith Songbook (3 concerts)
  • Thursday, May 19th – Gracias a la vida; Celebrating Astor Piazzolla and Mercedes Sosa

Full descriptions of each concert are here. I reviewed them all first time up so if you want to know what I thought it it’s easy enough to find. Continue reading

SOS: Sketch Opera Singers 2

SOS2 was at least as good as the first instalment.  Krisztina Szabó came in as replacement for Simone McIntosh who is back on the west coast and showed that she’s at least as crazy as anyone else involved in this show (even Keith Klassen and that’s saying something).  Highlights include Korin Thomas-Smith auditioning for Papageno and being asked to sing everything from Sarastro to the Queen of the Night, Krisztina as a manic photographer, the previously mentioned ABBA-nera, Teiya Kasahara breathing COVID on Keith Klassen and lots more rather dark virus humour.  All sorts of people chipped in with cameos and/or music, Michael Mori and Keith Klassen directed with Jennifer Tung and Juliane Gallant providing music direction.  Technical quality is excellent and it’s free.  It’s only 30 minutes long so there’s no excuse for not watching.  It’s available here.

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Rigoletto on the lake

I’m rather a fan of the productions on the lake stage at Bregenz.  It can be a bit hokey and the productions, though spectacular, aren’t usually particularly deep but they are fun to watch.  The 2019 production of Verdi’s Rigoletto might just be the best I’ve seen.  It takes spectacular to new heights, it’s got some interesting ideas and the performances are very good indeed.

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PSA – Highlands Opera Studio

hosHighlands Opera Studio is launching a series of digital recitals over the summer (now to the end of July) featuring past artists from the programme.  Singers and participants include Catherine Daniel, Sara Schabas, Samuel Chan and Bruno Roy among others.  There are 13 30-40 minute concerts and it’s ticketed; $10 per concert or $100 for a season pass.  More details on the concerts and ticket info is here.