Your Daughter Fanny is a 45 minute long chamber opera with music by Alice Ho and libretto by Lisa Moore based on letters written by WW1 Newfoundland VAD nurse Frances Cluett (which can also be found in book form). It was performed yesterday at Heliconian Hall by soprano Caroline Schiller with Duo Concertante, Nancy Dahn (violin) and Timothy Steeves (piano).
I really liked the music. It was the first time I’ve heard a piece by Alice Ho that didn’t include traditional Chinese elements and it was stylistically interesting; rich textured, sometimes astringent, sometimes very lyrical with a very decent, singable vocal line.
This year’s Canadian Children’s Opera Company main stage performance is The Monkiest King. It’s from the team of Marjorie Chan and Alice Ping Yee Ho who collaborated most successfully to create another highly successful Western/Chinese fusion piece; The Lesson Of Da Jee. The inspiration for this one is the antics of Sun Wukong, the mischievous and arrogant Monkey King in the Chinese classic Journey to the West.
It’s been four years since the initial Canadian Art Song Project concert in the RBA. Since then they’ve commissioned a number of works and started a recital series that has included innovative presentations such as the performance of Brian Harman’s Sewing the Earthwormgiven in November. A work premiered that night; Erik Ross’ The Living Spectacle formed the conclusion to yesterday’s concert but first came a series of works performed by students from the University of Toronto.
The first project is to make a recording of Vincent Ho’s concerto for percussion and orchestra, The Shaman, with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Mickelthwate. This piece has been seen in Winnipeg, Toronto and taipei and has received a lot of positive reviews. Full details are here.
In 1937 La Scala held a contest for a new opera. The winning opera should have been La Serenata al Vento composed by Aldo Finzi, a young, but already successful composer. It never played during his lifetime. Finzi was Jewish and the regime wasn’t prepared for a Jew as the heir of Verdi and Puccini. It wasn’t until 2012 that the work premiered at Bergamo. Now Croatian director Sanela Bajric wants to make a documentary about Finzi and his music and, of course, needs to raise the necessary. Full details are here.