Virtual Rubies

Like everything else the 2020 Rubies, Opera Canada‘s awards show, is going virtual this year.  It’s going out as a video, produced by Taylor Long of the COC, which will premier at 8pm on November 23rd.  Joyce El-Khoury hosts and Ben Heppner narrates the honouree videos, and then Barbara Hannigan, Michael Schade and Yannick Nezet-Seguin contribute  ‘acceptance’ speeches. Plus there’s a tribute to this year’s posthumous honouree, tenor Edward Johnson.  There are also performances by Russell Braun, Rihab Chaieb, Midori Marsh and Matt Cairns recorded in the studio with pianist and singer co-located. The show will be shown via OC’s Youtube channel.


There’s much more about the honourees and their careers on the Opera Canada website:


Quiet Streets St ClairBack in the summer Opera Canada asked a number of us to right a piece on our local opera scene and what was happening there that went beyond rewriting companies’ season announcements and updates.  So in July I interviewed the leadership of seven local companies ranging from the COC to Opera 5 (thanks to all the lovely people who gave me their time).  That article appeared in print in the most recent Opera Canada magazine.  It’s now available on the website.   Bear in mind that it was written back in August and that some things have happened since then.  Nonetheless I was pleased to be able to offer up what I think was asked for, which was something reasonably analytical and strategic.

The latest Opera Canada

Vol-58-2-Front-Cover.jpgThe latest issue of Opera Canada arrived in my mailbox yesterday.  It’s the first issue produced by Gianmarco Segato as editor and there are a few noticeable changes.  The general structure and look is the same but there are some new bylines.  I noticed Sara Schabas has a rather good piece on Marie Clements.  I’d bet a fiver that Sara is the youngest contributor to the mag in a while.  There’s also an article by Dean Burry on the Canadian Children’s Opera Company tour of Brundibár to the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary including a trip to Terezín.  The obituaries include, sadly, Émile Belcourt who I saw sing Loge at ENO back in the 70s in the memorable run of The Rhinegold conducted by Reginald Goodall.

There’s lots more including my contributions; a piece profiling Marion Newman, plus reviews of a live performance, a CD and a DVD.  And finally, there’s mention that Alexander Neef saw Gerry Finley in Reimann’s Lear in Salzburg.  He couldn’t could he?  No he couldn’t.  Does to dunk head in cold water…

Signal boosting for Opera Canada

ocOpera Canada magazine, to which I’m a contributor, has a new Editorial Director.  Gianmarco Segato, formerly with the COC, is taking over from Wayne Gooding who has been doing the job for an amazing 20 years.  I think it’s a great choice.  Anyhow, one of the goals going forward for OC is to build it’s on-line presence.  That’s a long term project but there are things on social media that one can check out already.  They are:


Check them out.

James Rolfe – Breathe

Breathe - Front Cover_300This review first appeared in the print edition of Opera Canada.

This new CD of music by James Rolfe on the Centrediscs label contains three works for voices and a small “early instruments” ensemble. Two; Europa and Aeneas and Dido, were written as companion pieces for Toronto Masque Theatre performances of the similarly titled works by Pignolet de Montéclair and Purcell. The third, Breathe, was written for Trio Mediaeval and the Toronto Consort.

Breathe is a setting of words by Anna Chatterton and Hildegard of Bingen on the theme of the four elements. It feels quite meditative with high voices (Suzie LeBlanc, Katherine Hill and Laura Pudwell) weaving patterns with the band. It’s rhythmically inventive, almost jazzy in places but always quite ethereal.

Continue reading

Opera Canada Fall 2015

OCFall2015CoverThe Fall 2015 Opera Canada is out.  No performance reviews by me in this one but I do have a profile of countertenor Daniel Cabena and reviews of three CDs; Adrianne Pieczonka singing Wagner and Strauss, Bud Roach singing Italian renaissance songs accompanying himself on guitar and a rerelease of Peter Maxwell Davies’ Resurrection.  Lots of good stuff by other people too of course!


OCCoverSpring2013The latest edition of Opera Canada is out and I have an article in it.  This is not exactly my first foray into print but it is the first time I’ve published anything about opera.  (Previous articles have appeared in various political and business journals and the current WIP is aimed at the Journal of Oncology Practice).  Anyway, my piece is a review of a semi-staged performance of Handel’s Orlando.  The real reason to buy the thing though is Lydia Perović’s (She of Definitely the Opera) article on the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.

orlandoClick on the thumbnail for my article.