I was beginning to think that I was not reviewing as many video recordings as in the past. It’s actually true but unsurprising since I rarely dip into the back catalogue anymore focussing almost entirely on new issues, which any case have slowed since there has been much less to record. So, yes, I’m down from about 60 per year to 43 in the last twelve months but there’s a twist. Increasingly my video reviews have been appearing in the print edition of Opera Canada. So 8 of the last year’s 43 didn’t appear here. I thought I’d just publish a list, by edition of the magazine, with a one sentence review of each disk in case anybody felt it was worth digging them out. So…
My review of Opera in Concert’s streamed version of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur is now up at Opera Canada.
My review of UoT Opera’s Opera in Miniature; A Festival of One Act Operas is up on the Opera Canada website.
My “Final Word” article which appeared in the last print edition of Opera Canada has now been published on-line. It looks at how audience experience of on-line content during the pandemic may impact the marketing and production strategies of both larger and smaller opera companies.
There’s an interesting new project on Youtube from Natalya Gennadi and Catherine Carew. It’s called HBD! Project and the idea is to produce a short themed video each month featuring composers whose birthdays fall in that month. The February pilot is online and it’s a bit different from other “shows” in similar vein that I’ve come across. This one features a song by Alban Berg sung by Natalya with a fluffy puppy, music for cello and piano by Jean Coulthard played by Alice Kim and Hye Won Cecilia Lee and Rodney Sharman’s Tobacco Road sung by Catherine. So what’s new you ask (apart from the puppy)? It’s the graphics with Mozart in a party hat, animated Emily Carr paintings and a look for the Sharman that could double as the witches’ scene in Macbeth. Yes it’s a bit weird but oddly compelling.
My review of Tapestry’s show from the weekend; Lovesongs – A Saxophony is now up on the Opera Canada website.
Photo: Dahlia Katz
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:
Back 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.
My review of Johann Strauss’ The Gypsy Baron performed by Toronto Operetta Company is up on the Opera Canada website.