February 2023

february2023Here’s what I’m looking forward to in February plus a few gigs I can’t make:

  • February 1st and 2nd the Chicago Symphony and Riccardo Muti are performing at Koerner Hall.  It’s a rare opportunity to hear a top orchestra in the wonderful Koerner acoustic but it’s probably sold out already.
  • On February 3rd the COC opens a run of Richard Strauss’ Salome with Ambur Braid in the title role and a stellar supporting cast.  Hard core Braid fans (and that includes me) know that this is a role she was born to sing.  It’s an Atom Egoyan production and he’ll likely tweak it but here’s a link to my review of the 2013 run.
  • February 6th sees the return of the Quilico Awards; a competition for the singers of the Ensemble Studio.  That’s at 5.30pm in the RBA and it’s free.

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On to the arias

And so to the aria competition.  Twenty four singers in three sessions are competing for twelve places in the semifinals.  It’s piano for the first round but after that it’s the Maison Symphonique and the OSM.  As with the art song competition I’ve tried to keep my session reports free of hindsight.  This one was written between the afternoon and evening sessions last night.  It will be followed by a report on yesterday evening and tomorrow should see the post on the third session and the judges decisions.

First up in afternoon was Canadian mezzo Carolyn Sproule.  She kicked off with Strauss’ Wie du warst!, followed it up with Printemps qui commence from Samson et Delila and finished up with Ah! Quando all’ara scorgemi from Maria Stuarda.  It was all pretty good.  She’s a genuine mezzo with power enough and she got more dramatic as the set went on.  I thought it was maybe a little under-characterised but compared to much of what came later it was positively thespian.

AriaQuarterFinals-2

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