LSM Newswire

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jeanne Lamon appointed to Order of Ontario


Jeanne Lamon appointed to Order of Ontario
Toronto, January 24, 2014 … Jeanne Lamon, Music Director of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, has been appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest official honour. The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, invested Lamon along with 24 other appointees, including renowned film director David Cronenberg, influential leader and innovator Penny Collenette, pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. James Rutka, and TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling, at a ceremony held yesterday afternoon at Queen's Park.
“I'm grateful and humbled to have been awarded our province’s highest official distinction, The Order of Ontario, for my work at Tafelmusik. It is a great honour to be among such an illustrious group of people, and I am deeply touched to have been nominated by Jim Fleck and Dr. Michael Baker,” says Jeanne Lamon.
The appointees to the Order of Ontario were chosen for their contributions to the arts, law, science, medicine, history, politics, and philanthropy. Created in 1986, the Order of Ontario recognizes the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field.
“Our province is richer for the contributions of these distinguished individuals. Through drive and determination they have pushed boundaries and serve as truly outstanding examples for all Ontarians,” said the Honourable David C. Onley. 
Under Lamon’s artistic direction since 1981, Tafelmusik has achieved an enviable international stature and is considered “one of the world’s top baroque orchestras” (Gramophone Magazine). During Lamon’s tenure, Tafelmusik has grown from its modest beginnings to the world-renowned, cutting-edge period ensemble it is today, reaching millions of people through extensive touring, critically-acclaimed recordings, broadcasts, new media, and artistic/community partnerships.
“I am thrilled that Jeanne Lamon has been appointed to The Order of Ontario.  She is an exceptional music director and musician who is doing so much to develop the next generation of world-class musicians.  This honour is well-deserved, and I couldn’t be happier for her,” said Tafelmusik Board Chair, Andy Kenins.
Described as "a toweringly influential figure in the musical life of Canada" by the Canada Council for the Arts, Jeanne Lamon began to specialize in baroque violin in the early 1970s, during her studies in Amsterdam with Sigiswald Kuijken. From 1972 to 1981 she was engaged as concertmaster of many period orchestras, both European and North American, and in 1980, Lamon was invited to Toronto by Tafelmusik’s founders, Kenneth Solway and Susan Graves, and was appointed Music Director in 1981.
In 2000, Lamon was named to the Order of Canada. She has won numerous other awards and distinctions, including the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Toronto Musicians’ Association, honorary degrees from York University and Mount Saint Vincent University, the Muriel Sherrin Award, the Prix Alliance, the Joan Chalmers Award, the Canada Council's Molson Prize, the Toronto Musicians’ Association’s Musician of the Year Award, the Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition, and the Betty Webster Award for Musical Leadership.
In October 2012, Lamon announced that she plans to step down from her role as full-time music director in 2014, ending what will be a remarkable 33-year tenure at the helm of one of Canada’s most successful international performing arts organizations. During the search for her successor, Lamon will assume the role of Chief Artistic Advisor in the 14/15 and 15/16 seasons, and will dedicate herself to developing the next generation of period performance musicians.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Claudio Abbado nous a quittés


Claudio Abbado nous a quittésCommuniqué de Michael Haefliger
Lucerne, le 20 Janvier 2014. C’est avec une grande tristesse que nous avons appris le décès de Claudio Abbado, ce matin. Pour le LUCERNE FESTIVAL, la disparition de ce grand musicien, né à Milan le 26 juin 1933, marque la fin d’une longue et riche collaboration artistique qui a été jalonnée de succès depuis ses débuts avec l’Orchestre Suisse du Festival, à l’été 1966, et a atteint un sommet à l’été 2003, lorsqu’il a fondé le LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA. Cet « orchestre des amis », comme il l’avait lui-même baptisé, a élevé aux nues notre manifestation – peu de festivals ont la chance de connaître un tel destin : rapidement, la brillante phalange s’est hissée au premier plan dans le paysage éclectique des orchestres symphoniques, marquée du sceau artistique de son fondateur et de son esthétique ancrée au plus profond de la culture. Loin de toute bureaucratie, Abbado a réussi dès le départ à réaliser avec son orchestre une parfaite symbiose entre dévouement artistique et excellence de l’interprétation, faisant de chaque concert un moment unique détaché des contingences temporelles. Chaque fois, l’événement musical semblait devenir éternel, grâce notamment à l’amitié profonde et naturelle qui régnait entre le chef et les musiciens.
Abbado mettait au premier plan son talent pour faire de la musique de chambre, sa passion de la « musique ensemble ». Un orchestre n’est pas un grand échafaudage ou une masse musicale, mais une réunion de formations de tailles variées qui se retrouvent dans leur diversité sous la houlette d’un primus inter pares pour arpenter ensemble un chemin musical. De cela, Abbado était intimement convaincu, lui qui avait commencé sa carrière musicale dans l’univers de la musique de chambre.
Et si le credo musical d’Abbado trouvait ses origines dans la musique de chambre, donc dans ce que la musique a de plus intime, ce credo était profondément ancré dans son « école de l’écoute ». Ce n’était pas un adepte des grandes phrases, un homme à faire de longs discours en répétition. Son travail avec l’orchestre se caractérisait au contraire par une écoute mutuelle dans le calme, et par la certitude que l’on atteindrait en concert le sommet absolu de l’interprétation qu’il façonnait. Nous n’avons pas oublié les grands moments de sérénité musicale que nous avons vécus à Lucerne avec ses superbes interprétations des symphonies de Mahler et de Bruckner.
C’est avec un concert magnifique et profondément émouvant que Claudio Abbado a mis un point final à sa carrière artistique le 26 août 2013, à Lucerne, en dirigeant la Neuvième Symphonie de Bruckner, une œuvre inachevée. On était si loin de penser, à cette soirée inoubliable, que ce serait peut-être son dernier concert, tant il nous paraissait comme transfiguré dans ce moment de sérénité ineffable. Malheureusement, ce qui était alors impensable est devenu réalité.
« Voyageurs, il n’y a pas de chemin, mais il faut marcher. » Cette phrase, découverte sur le mur d’un monastère de Tolède par le compositeur Luigi Nono, qui fut des années durant le compagnon de route d’Abbado, pourrait renvoyer symboliquement à la vie de celui-ci. Une vie qui ne fut pas déterminée par des chemins tout tracés, mais s’est réalisée en avançant et en faisant ouvertement l’expérience du nouveau. Voyager, explorer sans chemins apparents, chercher sans cesse le nouveau et l’inconnu, c’est précisément ce qu’a fait Abbado, et il l’a fait jusqu’au dernier instant de sa vie fascinante et si bien remplie.
Ainsi l’un des plus grands artistes de notre temps est désormais arrivé au bout de son chemin terrestre. Le LUCERNE FESTIVAL souhaite lui exprimer ici ses remerciements les plus sincères pour tout ce qu’il nous a donné de magnifique, d’inoubliable, d’ineffable dans les quarante-sept années qui viennent de s’écouler. Nous resterons fidèles au chemin qu’il a tracé, à son credo artistique, et garderons à jamais le souvenir de sa personne et de son art.

Michael Haefliger, Directeur LUCERNE FESTIVAL

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Friday, January 17, 2014

FOUR RISING STARS TO JOIN CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY’S 2014/2015 ENSEMBLE STUDIO

For immediate release: January 15, 2014
FOUR RISING STARS TO JOIN CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY’S 2014/2015 ENSEMBLE STUDIO

Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, welcomes four talented new Canadian artists for the 2014/2015 season. Soprano Karine Boucher, tenor Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure and bass-baritone Iain MacNeil were among the nine finalists featured in the third annual Ensemble Studio Competition in November 2013. Boucher, Fortier-Lazure and MacNeil were top prize winners at the competitive vocal showcase which was the feature event of the COC’s inaugural Ensemble Studio Competition Gala, Centre Stage, an evening dedicated to the discovery and celebration of the next generation of opera stars. In addition to the three opera singers, the 14/15 Ensemble Studio welcomes pianist Jennifer Szeto.

The four artists join the Ensemble Studio in August 2014 and become part of an illustrious program that, since its inception in 1980, has launched the careers of over 180 Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors, including Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Ben Heppner, Joseph Kaiser, Allyson McHardy, Wendy Nielsen, Simone Osborne, David Pomeroy, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó.

Members of the Ensemble Studio receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals. In addition, they appear in principal roles in a special Ensemble Studio performance of a COC mainstage production, give several concert performances through the COC’s Free Concert Series and perform in the COC’s annual Glencore Ensemble Studio School Tour, which introduces young audiences throughout Ontario to the world of opera and the performing arts.

All the new and returning artists of the Ensemble Studio open the 14/15 season of the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with Meet the Young Artists in September 2014. The series runs from September 2014 to June 2015 and features the members of the Ensemble Studio in several recitals of diverse repertoire over the course of the season. Complete details of the 14/15 Free Concert Series season will be announced later this year.

In November 2014, Ensemble Studio members participate in the COC’s annual Glencore Ensemble Studio School Tour, providing school-aged audiences throughout Ontario with an introduction to the world of opera. Complete details of the 2014 Glencore Ensemble Studio School Tour will be announced in the fall of 2014.

The 14/15 Ensemble Studio members also sing the lead roles in their own performance of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville on May 15, 2015 with the COC Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of the same creative team as the mainstage cast: COC Music Director and conductor Johannes Debus and production team Els Comediants. All tickets for this performance are accessibly priced at $25 and $55.

ABOUT THE NEW MEMBERS
Karine Boucher – Soprano Karine Boucher is the first prize and audience-choice award winner of the COC’s 2013 Ensemble Studio Competition. Born in Québec City, Boucher is a current member of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. She received her master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in opera performance from the Québec Conservatory. In 2011 she was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is a grant recipient of the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation. Credits include Annina in La Traviata, Inez in Il Trovatore and Kätchen in Werther (Opéra de Montréal); Miss Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief and Micaëla in Carmen (Atelier lyrique); and Damon in Acis and Galatea (Arte Musica). In 2014, Boucher will sing the role of Mimì in the Jeunesses Musicales tour of La Bohème.

Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure – Tenor Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure won second prize at the COC’s 2013 Ensemble Studio Competition. Originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, he is pursuing a master’s degree in classical singing at the University of Montreal, where he also completed his bachelor’s degree. Fortier-Lazure has participated in young artist training programs with the National Arts Centre, Centre d’Arts Orford and Académie Internationale d’été Nice. Credits include Pélleas in Pélleas et Mélisande (Nova Scotia Opera Company and Atelier d’Opéra, University of Montreal); Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites (Atelier d’Opéra); Beppe in Pagliacci (Opera Lyra Ottawa – Silver Cast); Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don Curzio/Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro and Mr. Gobineau in The Medium (University of Ottawa Opera Productions); and Guard in Manon and Prince of Persia in Turandot (Opera Lyra Ottawa).

Iain MacNeil – Bass-baritone Iain MacNeil took third prize at the COC’s 2013 Ensemble Studio Competition. A native of Brockville, Ontario, MacNeil is currently completing an opera diploma at the University of Toronto and received a bachelor of music degree from Dalhousie University. Credits include Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni in scenes from Don Giovanni and Dulcamara in scenes from L’elisir d’amore (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy); Bobby in Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny-Songspiel, Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, Brewer in Comedy on the Bridge and Tom/John in The Face on the Barroom Floor (Dalhousie Opera Workshop). In 2013, he participated in the Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival.

Jennifer Szeto – Calgary-born Jennifer Szeto is a graduate of McGill University, and is currently an apprentice pianist/coach with Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. She recently served as staff pianist at the Institut Canadien d’Art Vocal in Montreal, an apprentice pianist/coach at a St.-Andrews-by-the-Sea opera workshop in New Brunswick, and staff pianist at the Cowtown Opera Summer Academy in Calgary. In 2012, she was an Emerging Artist with the Green Mountain Opera Festival in Vermont and, in Toronto, played for the Metro Youth Opera’s production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. For Opera McGill, she served as répétiteur for Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Puccini’s La Bohème. Other recent engagements include presenting one-act operas in English at the 2012 Halifax Summer Opera Workshop. In 2011 she attended the prestigious Franz Schubert Institute in Austria and served as music director for the Metro Youth Opera Company’s production of Così fan tutte.


2013/2014 ENSEMBLE STUDIO GRADUATES
COC General Director Alexander Neef extends the company’s congratulations to soprano Sasha Djihanian, soprano Claire de Sévigné, baritone Cameron McPhail and pianist Michael Shannon, who graduate from the Ensemble Studio program at the end of the 2013/2014 season. Before leaving the program, these young artists can be heard in several performances during the remainder of the 13/14 season.

The Ensemble Studio performance of the COC’s mainstage production of Così fan tutte takes place on
February 7, 2014. In this special presentation of Mozart’s wry romantic comedy, Sasha Djihanian is Fiordiligi, Claire de Sévigné is the conniving Despina. Cameron McPhail sings the role of Guglielmo.

On May 20, 2014 at 12 p.m., as part of the COC’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, join the graduating artists in a special farewell concert, Les Adieux. The singers and pianists will perform a program of music featuring their favourite art songs and arias.

Other opportunities to see the graduating artists on the COC mainstage include Djihanian as Pedro in Don Quichotte.



OTHER 2013/2014 ENSEMBLE STUDIO PERFORMANCES
The spotlight shines on the rising stars of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio when they take to the mainstage of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on February 7, 2014, and present their own special performance of Mozart’s wry romantic comedy, Così fan tutte, directed by Atom Egoyan and conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus. Tickets are accessibly priced at $25 and $55, and available online at coc.ca, by calling COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office, located at 145 Queen St. W.

Ensemble Studio members also perform in five more recitals during the 13/14 Free Concert Series season in the
Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

  • January 28, 2014 at 12 p.m.: The School for Lovers: Highlights from Così fan tutte – highlights from Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

  • February 20, 2014 at 12 p.m.: Collaborations – singers from the young artist programs of the Canadian Opera Company and l'Opéra de Montréal join forces in a program of arias and ensembles.

  • March 13, 2014 at 12 p.m.: Opera Interactive – a lively interactive concert featuring favourite operatic arias and sing-along choruses.

  • April 3, 2014 at 12 p.m.: Love Song Waltzes – a celebration of love, life and music in a performance of Brahms’ tour-de-force for four voices and two pianos: Liebeslieder Walzer (Love Song Waltzes).

  • May 15, 2014 at 12 p.m.: War and Peace: Handel, Bach, Albinoni – an exploration of the themes of war and peace through some of the most exquisite chamber works and arias of the Baroque era.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Colleen Sexsmith has generously sponsored Karine Boucher

The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Foundation, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.


About the Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006, and is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada. For more information on the COC, visit its award-winning website, coc.ca.
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For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager, tel: 416-306-2303, e-mail: jenniferp@coc.ca
Kristin McKinnon, Assistant Publicist, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail: kmckinnon@coc.ca



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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ann Summers Dossena honored in New York

CANADIAN ARTS MANAGER ANN SUMMERS DOSSENA
PRESENTED WITH INTERNATIONAL AWARD IN NEW YORK

CONTINUES DEDICATION TO PERFORMING ARTS
THROUGH THE ORGANIZATION SHE FOUNDED:
INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE CENTRE FOR PERFORMING ARTISTS

New York, January 16, 2014 – Toronto and Rome-based Ann Summers Dossena, of the artist management firm Ann Summers International and founder of Toronto’s International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, was presented last night with the International Citation of Merit at the 66thannual New York congress of the International Society for the Performing Arts (www.ispa.org).

The award – a sculpture – is presented for “unique lifetime achievement that has enriched the international performing arts through distinguished service within the profession.” The citation in the official ISPA program reads, “Cross generational and cross regional, Ann Summers Dossena has arguably promoted/developed more artists and arts leaders than any one individual alive today.  Her commitment to the performing arts has spanned 60 years – it is an honor to acknowledge her contribution.” 

This year’s ISPA conference attracted more than 400 members, from 185 cities, representing 52 countries.

Summers Dossena is the first Canadian to receive this honor, since the award was launched in 1996.  Past honorees have included such illustrious names in the performing arts as Maestro José Antonio Abreu, founder of Venezuela’s acclaimed El Sistema; Sir Clive Gillinson, CEO  and artistic director of Carnegie Hall; Harvey Lichtenstein, who built the Brooklyn Academy of Music into a showcase for such cutting edge performances as the New Wave Festival;  acoustician and theatre designer Russell Johnson; artists’ manager and consultant Edna Landau; singer Miriam Makeba; Mexico’s Palacio de Bellas Artes;  and the late Iranian-born opera director Lotfi Mansouri, one time director of the Canadian Opera Company. 

The honor comes two years after Summers Dossena was presented with the first Manager of the Year Award by NAPAMA – her colleagues in the North American Association of Performing Arts Managers and Agents.  It is also a few months since announcing her retirement after 55 years in artists’ management, in October 2013.

In accepting the International Citation of Merit from ISPA, Summers Dossena saluted the organization, noting “We have all grown through our exposure to the diversity of our members, and our meetings in various cities and countries.”  Quoting American philosopher and lecturer Oliver Wendell Holmes, she added, “‘Man’s mind (and women’s, too), once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.’”

Ann Summers Dossena has made it her life’s work to open minds to the arts while expanding opportunities for performing artists. After a lifetime of innovation and initiating programs primarily in the music world, she is dedicating herself to the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (www.ircpa.net).  She founded the non-profit, charitable organization in 1983 (incorporated in 1985), with the stated goal of “Turning potential into accomplishment” for emerging artists.

Summers Dossena sees an IRCPA home and its programs as filling a crucial need, particularly for classical singers and dancers, whose careers tend to be shorter than most, as well as for instrumentalists.  “Who do you know that must pay for a job interview?” asks Summers Dossena.  “Or wait two years for a first job?  Yet, these are the challenges. Rental of a space for an audition, and hiring a pianist are costly. Add to this the fact that employers, such as orchestras, opera companies and concert series, book their artists two to three years in advance. 

“Emerging professionals need a place to come together, exchange ideas, gain confidence, be mentored by working professionals who can pass on their career experiences, set short and long term goals, and to know they are not alone in their endeavors,” adds Summers Dossena.  

The IRCPA focuses on the first three-five years of an artist’s career, after their training.  As well, it is there to help artists in mid career, and later, in retirement.

Amongst IRCPA programs are Encounters with Employers, which offer young artists advice about their employability or allow them to explore new directions without risk to their career. Career Moves give insights to the workings of the arts industry, and aid in planning and career development.

The IRCPA’s most recent project was the Canadian Day event in Rome in July 2013, in which 13 artists made their Rome debut performances. 

Celebrated Canadian singers, sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka and Isabel Bayrakdarian, and tenor Colin Ainsworth are among the alumni of the IRCPA. 

The IRCPA is currently seeking both space and the funding to sustain it, so that these programs and others can occur on a regular basis.  More information is at www.ircpa.net.

Ann Summers Dossena is an honorary life member of the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), founding member of the North American (formerly National) Association of Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA), and a member of the League of American Orchestras, Orchestras Canada, Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA), the CCI Network (Ontario Presenting Network), Canadian Italian Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, Team Italia Canada, and the Canadian Club of Rome.  She is also the author of the book Getting It All Together (1985, Scarecrow Press), a second edition of which will soon be released.

Ann Summers Dossena

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Canadian Opera Company Unveils 14/15 Season

Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company unveiled a season dominated by the most important, respected and talked-about artists working on the operatic world stage today at a public launch of its 2014/2015 season at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

The company’s 64th season is comprised entirely of COC productions, featuring three new productions, developed in partnership with other premier opera companies, and revivals of three classic COC works that have defined the company’s reputation for artistic excellence and innovation. The COC presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff in a new COC production, a revival of its beloved production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a new COC creation, the revival of its acclaimed staging of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre, Gioacchino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in a new COC production, and the return of the COC’s iconic double-bill of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung

For the 14/15 season, the COC has undertaken a restructuring of its subscription pricing. The introduction of new value-pricing options offers subscribers an unparalleled level of affordability, making attending the full COC season more accessible than ever before. This new special value pricing for all six operas will be available on most levels of the Four Seasons Centre including the Orchestra, Grand Ring box, and Ring 3 levels. Six-opera subscriptions for the 14/15 season are available now in these select sections for $169, $399, $499 and $799, representing a saving of between 50% and 60% on individual ticket prices.

“The 2014/2015 season is one that I’d describe to audiences as an unforgettable journey of musical, sensory and artistic discovery, delivered by some of the most talented emerging and established stars operating on the world stage. This season features a line-up of the finest opera companies and artists working today, and that is a testament to the international draw of this company,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “We have made going to the opera next season as affordable to the community as possible. The level of talent coming to our company is extraordinary and we really believe that as many people as possible should be given every opportunity we can give them to experience these artists on our stage.”

Neef adds, “I’m particularly proud that the 14/15 season is comprised entirely of productions owned or co-owned by the COC. Our three new productions have been created with the world’s best opera companies and the three revivals are essential pieces in the company’s history. Ultimately, an all-COC season reflects the new artistic paradigm we’re in, in the consistency and quality of our works.”

Among the companies and festivals that the COC has partnered with for the 14/15 season to develop the newest productions to enter its repertoire are Festival d’Aix-en-Provence; Opera Australia; Bolshoi Theatre; Houston Grand Opera;  Metropolitan Opera; Opéra National de Bordeaux; Netherlands Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Teatro Real Madrid; and Teatro alla Scala.

The COC is bringing some of the world’s best artists and most compelling storytellers to its mainstage for the 14/15 season, many of whom are considered to be among the defining singers, conductors, directors and designers of their generation. Among those making their company debuts are singers Andrea Carè, Amanda Echalaz, Christine Goerke, Cecelia Hall, Jennifer Holloway, Kelly Kaduce, Serena Malfi, Heidi Melton, Patricia Racette, Johan Reuter, Stefano Secco and Alek Shrader; director Dmitri Tcherniakov; and conductors Michael Hofstetter and Patrick Lange. The COC also welcomes the return of a number of acclaimed Canadian and international artists including singers Frédéric Antoun, Jane Archibald, Russell Braun, Dwayne Croft, Gregory Dahl, Elizabeth DeShong, Gerald Finley, Clifton Forbis, Ekaterina Gubanova, Joshua Hopkins, Kyle Ketelsen, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Simone Osborne, John Relyea, Michael Schade, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó; directors Robert Carsen, Atom Egoyan, Robert Lepage, Brian Macdonald, and the production team of Els Comediants; conductor Rory Macdonald; and designers Susan Benson, Michael Levine and Michael Whitfield. COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts three of the company’s productions this season. All performances take place in the company’s home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, and feature the internationally renowned COC Orchestra and Chorus.

The COC’s 14/15 season opens with an opera hailed as the crowning achievement of Verdi’s career, Falstaff. This new COC co-production with Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Teatro alla Scala; Metropolitan Opera and Netherlands Opera has already delighted audiences in London, Milan and New York, described as “a wonderful show” (Telegraph), “enchanting” (New York Times) and “Verdi’s masterpiece has rarely seemed so rich or life-affirming” (Opera News). Master director Canadian Robert Carsen (2013’s Dialogues des Carmélites, 2011’s Iphigenia in Tauris, 2011’s Orfeo ed Euridice) sets the action of this operatic tale based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor in a lovingly-rendered 1950s England. COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his first Falstaff, taking the COC Orchestra and Chorus through the innate lyricism and artistry of Verdi’s score that captures all the joy, wisdom and profound humanity of Shakespeare’s comic invention. In the title role of Sir John Falstaff is internationally acclaimed, Grammy- and Juno Award-winning Canadian baritone Gerald Finley. Described as “an opera singer of distinction” by the New York Times, Finley makes his long-awaited return to the COC mainstage in a highly anticipated role debut as the lovable lecher Falstaff, who clings to his supposedly noble roots, even as he steals, cheats and deceives his way into an ill-advised scheme involving two gentlemen and their wives. Internationally acclaimed Canadian baritone Russell Braun (2014’s Roberto Devereux, 2012’s Il Trovatore and Love from Afar) is Ford, Falstaff’s nemesis. The two wives determined to teach Falstaff a lesson are played by two rising stars: South African soprano Amanda Echalaz, who sings Alice Ford, and Ensemble Studio graduate, South African-Canadian mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal (2012’s The Tales of Hoffmann, 2011’s Iphigenia in Tauris). Acclaimed Canadian mezzo-soprano Marie-Nicole Lemieux (2005’s Rodelinda and Tancredi) is Mistress Quickly, reprising the role she sang to great acclaim in London and Milan. Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Simone Osborne (2014’s A Masked Ball, 2013’s La Bohème, 2012’s Gianni Schicchi, 2011’s Rigoletto and The Magic Flute) is the lovesick Nannetta and Canadian tenor Frédéric Antoun (2013’s Dialogues des Carmélites, 2011’s The Magic Flute) sings Fenton, her amorous suitor. Falstaff is sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM and was last performed by the COC in 2004. It returns to the opera company’s mainstage for seven performances on October 3, 9, 12, 14, 25, 29, November 1, 2014.

Also in the fall is the COC’s beloved production of Puccini’s heartbreaking masterpiece of love, longing and loss, Madama Butterfly. This exquisite production by Canadian theatrical legend Brian Macdonald, designed by Susan Benson with lighting by Michael Whitfield, has become a Toronto favourite, playing to sold-out audiences at its 1990 premiere and subsequent revivals in 1994, 1998, 2003 and 2009.  Two great American singing actresses share the feature role of Cio-Cio San: Patricia Racette and Kelly Kaduce. Racette’s portrayal of the beloved heroine touched millions in the recent Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast and has been declared to “rightly stand among the great Butterflies of her era” (Opera News), while Kaduce’s riveting portrayal “demolishes stereotypes. This is no conventional Butterfly-as-victim, but a woman of consequence” (Santa Fe Reporter). Singing the role of Cio-Cio San’s beloved Pinkerton are Stefano Secco, praised for his “gorgeous, nuanced Italianate tenor singing” (Opera News) and Andrea Carè, one of the most important artists among the new generation of Italian tenors. Internationally acclaimed American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong (2011’s Cinderella) is Suzuki, Cio-Cio San’s devoted servant. Two of the finest baritones of their generation, American Dwayne Croft (1993’s The Marriage of Figaro) and Canadian Gregory Dahl (2014’s A Masked Ball, 2012’s The Tales of Hoffmann) share the role of the American Consul, Sharpless. A rising star in the generation of young conductors, German Patrick Lange makes his COC debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Madama Butterfly is sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM and runs for 12 performances on October 10, 11, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31, 2014.

Mozart’s darkly witty masterpiece about the master of seduction, Don Giovanni, is brought to blistering life in a new game-changing COC co-production by Moscow-born director Dmitri Tcherniakov with internationally acclaimed Canadian baritone Russell Braun (2014’s Falstaff and Roberto Devereux, 2012’s Il Trovatore and Love from Afar) in the title role. Named Best Director at London’s inaugural International Opera Awards in 2013, Tcherniakov makes his COC debut with one of his deeply considered, unconventional and piercingly honest productions that the Financial Times hailed as “a thrillingly accomplished Don Giovanni that caught us off guard.” In bringing the operatic tale of literature’s most famous womanizer, Don Juan, to life, Tcherniakov plumbs the psychological possibilities of this work. The characters have become part of one extended family, who are, in one way or another, brought into the thrall of the mesmerizing title character. As Don Giovanni, Braun reunites with Tcherniakov and reprises the role he sang for Teatro Real Madrid in 2013. He leads a dream cast that includes renowned Canadian soprano Jane Archibald (2012’s Semele, 2011’s Ariadne auf Naxos) as Donna Anna, one of Don Giovanni’s conquests; and one of the leading Mozart tenors on the stage today, Canadian Michael Schade (2013’s La clemenza di Tito, 2012’s Die Fledermaus, 2011’s The Magic Flute), as Don Ottavio, Donna Anna’s fiancé. Lauded American mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway is Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni’s wife. Renowned American bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen (2011’s Cinderella) reprises the role of Leporello, Don Giovanni’s relative, following performances of this production with Teatro Real Madrid and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus for the first time is accomplished and highly lauded German conductor Michael Hofstetter. Don Giovanni was last presented by the COC in 2008 and returns in a new COC co-production with Teatro Real Madrid, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Bolshoi Theatre. Don Giovanni is sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM and runs for 10 performances on January 24, 27, 30, February 1, 3, 6, 12, 14, 18, 21, 2015.

Wagner’s Die Walküre returns to the COC mainstage for the 14/15 season with the company’s critically acclaimed production by renowned Canadian director Atom Egoyan (2014’s Così fan tutte, 2013’s Salome). First presented by the COC in 2004 and then in 2006 as part of the COC’s full Ring Cycle, which inaugurated the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, this critically acclaimed production has been described as “powerful and moving” (Globe and Mail) and “as thoughtful and poetic as it is gripping” (National Post). Canadian Michael Levine (2013’s Dialogues des Carmélites, 2011’s Rigoletto) designed the “striking to behold” (Opera) sets and costumes. A star-studded cast is featured in this masterwork about a passionate, forbidden love ignited in a war of gods and mortals, and a warrior goddess who risks everything to preserve the future. One of the most exciting dramatic sopranos in the world, Grammy Award-winning American Christine Goerke, makes her first appearance with the COC in a role debut performance as the mighty Valkyrie Brünnhilde. She’s joined by American Clifton Forbis as the half-mortal Siegmund, who reprises the role he sang to rave reviews at the COC in 2004 and 2006. Highly sought-after Danish baritone Johan Reuter makes his COC debut as Wotan, king of the gods. American soprano Heidi Melton, hailed as “the Wagnerian voice we have been waiting for since Flagstad and Nilsson” (La Presse), makes her COC debut as Sieglinde, Siegmund’s lover and his unknown twin sister. COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his first Die Walküre, leading the COC Orchestra through a score that features some of the most powerful music ever conceived. Die Walküre is sung in German with English SURTITLESTM and runs for seven performances on January 31, February 4, 7, 10, 13, 19, 22, 2015.

Toronto audiences will discover love has a sense of humour with the COC’s new production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville from the Spanish theatre troupe Els Comediants. The group came to international prominence in 1992 with the spectacular fire ceremony they designed for the closing of the Barcelona Olympics, and they wowed Toronto when they brought their unbounded vitality to the recent COC presentation of Cinderella. In The Barber of Seville, the Spaniards take on Rossini’s greatest comedy about a barber who helps a nobleman win the woman of his dreams. Their cubist-inspired set plays with scale and proportion, while bursts of day-glo colour and innovative lighting conjure a fantasy world hovering between fairytale and vaudeville. The wily barber Figaro is sung by Canadian Joshua Hopkins (2013’s La Bohème), “an outstanding young baritone with a virile, vigorous yet velvety sound and an immediately evident dramatic authority” (Globe and Mail). Count Almaviva, the young suitor that Figaro assists, is American Alek Shrader, noted as “possibly one of the most exciting young tenors on the planet” (Seen and Heard International). The role of the young and charming heroine Rosina is shared by two exciting mezzo-sopranos poised on the threshold of international careers, Italian Serena Malfi and American Cecelia Hall. Leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus through Rossini’s veritable hit parade of a score, filled with showstoppers and sparkling tunes, is Scottish-born Rory Macdonald (2010’s Carmen), one of Britain’s most talented, dynamic young conductors. The Barber of Seville was last presented by the COC in 2008 and returns in this COC co-production with Houston Grand Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux and Opera Australia. Sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM, The Barber of Seville runs for 13 performances on April 17, 19, 21, 26, 29, May 2, 7, 9, 13, 15*, 19, 21, 22, 2015.



*ENSEMBLE STUDIO PERFORMANCE OF THE BARBER OF SEVILLE ON MAY 15, 2015
The young singers of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio perform Rossini’s The Barber of Seville on May 15, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. on the mainstage. This special performance stars Ensemble Studio members with the full COC Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Barber of Seville conductor Rory Macdonald and artistic production team Els Comediants. For casting, please visit the COC website at canadianopera.ca. Tickets are accessibly priced at $25 and $55 per person.

The COC’s iconic double-bill of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung returns to the company’s mainstage to close the 14/15 season. The 1993 premiere of Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung by director Robert Lepage (2009’s The Nightingale and Other Short Fables) was a watershed moment for the COC, establishing it as one of the world’s most visionary and compelling opera companies. Lepage’s spectacular and surprising integration of movement, light and theatrical sleight-of-hand, features set and costume design by Canadian Michael Levine (2015’s Die Walküre, 2013’s Dialogues des Carmélites, 2011’s Rigoletto) and lighting design by American David Finn (2006’s Ring Cycle, 2005’s Macbeth). The COC subsequently garnered world-wide acclaim in presenting this production on the company’s inaugural visits to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Edinburgh International Festival, Melbourne International Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival. Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung is now presented for the first time at the Four Seasons Centre. Bartók’s only opera features superstar Canadian bass-baritone John Relyea (2012’s The Tales of Hoffmann) as the inscrutable Duke Bluebeard whose castle holds untold secrets. Russian Ekaterina Gubanova (2014’s Don Quichotte) one of the finest mezzo-sopranos in the world, is Judith, the bride who unlocks the rooms of her mysterious husband’s castle. Schoenberg’s monodrama about a woman who descends into madness stars virtuosic Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó (2012’s Love from Afar, 2010’s Idomeneo, 2006’s Ring Cycle) in a role debut performance as the Woman. COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts both operas for the first time when he takes to the podium to lead the COC Orchestra through these visceral and haunting scores. Bluebeard’s Castle is sung in Hungarian and Erwartung is sung in German, both with English SURTITLESTM. The double-bill was last presented by the COC in 2001 and returns for seven performances on May 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 23, 2015.

All repertoire, dates, pricing, productions, and casting are subject to change without notice. For more complete casting and creative team information, please see the production pages at coc.ca.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The COC’s new production of Falstaff is generously underwritten in part by BMO Financial Group
The COC’s production of Madama Butterfly was originally underwritten by John A. Cook
The COC’s new productions of Falstaff, Don Giovanni and The Barber of Seville are supported by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund
The COC’s production of Die Walküre was originally made possible by Kolter Communities
The Barber of Seville Production Sponsor: CIBC
Presenting Sponsor of SURTITLES™: Sun Life Financial
Official Automotive Sponsor of the COC at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts: Mercedes-Benz Canada
The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Foundation, Hal Jackman Foundation, and other generous donors.


TICKET INFORMATION
Now on sale, subscriptions to the six mainstage productions for the COC’s 14/15 season range from $148 to $2,050, and may be purchased online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office, 145 Queen St. W., Toronto. Special value pricing is available on most levels of the Four Seasons Centre, including the Orchestra, Grand Ring box, and Ring 3 levels. Prices include HST. Special pricing is also available for seniors and children in all subscription series.

Single tickets to all of the COC’s 14/15 season productions are available to the public as of August 25, 2014. Single tickets prices range from $12 to $339 (includes applicable taxes). Tickets are available online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office, located at 145 Queen St. W.

For more information on specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, standing room, Opera Under 30 presented by TD Bank Group, student groups and rush seating, visit coc.ca.




About the Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America.  The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America.  Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention.  The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists.  The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world.  Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006, and is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada.  For more information on the COC, visit its award-winning website, canadianopera.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager, tel: 416-306-2303, e-mail: jenniferp@coc.ca

Kristin McKinnon, Assistant Publicist, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail: kmckinnon@coc.ca

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Performing Taiwan ~ Free showcase brings exciting Taiwanese artists to iconic Toronto venues

Free showcase brings exciting Taiwanese artists to iconic Toronto venues  

For Immediate Release, TORONTO, ON, January 7, 2014 Performing Taiwan, a free showcase with eight events in downtown Toronto Jan. 22-25, gives Ontario audiences a rare and unique opportunity to experience the rich variety of Taiwan's dynamic contemporary arts scene.  

Like Toronto and Canada, Taiwan is an international crossroads, a place where diverse cultures and the past, present and future intermingle and coexist. Its artists draw upon a rich history of tradition and values but are not bound by them, creating works that look outward and have a global perspective - and appeal. Performing Taiwan is a contemporary cultural showcase that will challenge preconceptions of the island's culture with a mix of emerging and established artists in a variety of formats spread over four days:   

Distinguished Authors:  
CHI Ta-wei and SHIH Shu-Ching
Chi (Membrane) writes and thinks like no one else on this strange planet - science fiction meets queer lit from a devoted translator of Italo Calvino. Shih (City of the Queen) is an influential cultural figure in Taiwan and Hong Kong who writes searingly and perceptively about the relationships between colonizer and colonized. Jan. 22, 2 pm, East Asian Library, Robarts Library, University of Toronto

Indie Rock Sensations:   
1976 and Bearbabes  
Listening to the music of 1976, formed in Taipei in 1996, is like taking a tour of Taiwanese rock over the past two decades - with Morrissey and Robert Smith as your guides. Bearbabes' post-rock sound - a web of hypnotic warmth and vocal whispers, with aggressive twin guitars and driving rhythms - has put them at the forefront of Taiwan's independent music scene. Jan. 22, 9 pm, Horseshoe Tavern; Jan. 25, 5:15 pm, Harbourfront Centre - Lakeside Terrace 

Folk Rock Activist:  
Sheng-Xiang & Band  
Deeply rooted in traditional Hakka mountain culture, Sheng-Xiang sings about real life - and modern threats to that life - in every rural community. The full band's latest recording, the powerful I-Village, won album of the year, the grand jury prize and musician of the year at the 2013 Golden Melody Awards. Jan. 23, 8 pm, Glenn Gould Studio; Jan. 25, 4 pm, Harbourfront Centre - Lakeside Terrace 

Contemporary Puppet Theatre & Modern Dance:  
Short One Player Theatre and Dance Theatre XX /
Tussock Dance Theatre
  
Short One Player, a company at the leading edge of a new generation of Taiwanese artists, brings its distinctive tabletop puppetry to Toronto, performing the poetic and universal story of The Little Child. Dance Theatre XX & Tussock Dance Theatre present Lament of the Exile by choreographer Xiao-Xiong Zhang; acclaimed for his originality and integration of art forms, Zhang blends dance, literature, photography and arts installation to explore the cultural ambiguity of those cut adrift in a world of disappearing boundaries.  Jan. 24 and 258 pm, Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre 

21st Century Cinema:  
Docs & Feature Films: Jan. 23, Harbourfront Centre - Studio Theatre 
1:30 pm - A Year in the Clouds: The story of the Tayal people, who turned a 2,000 year old forest into an eco-tourism attraction - and then did something remarkable with the profits.  
3:15 pm - Song of the Forest: A documentary that shows the beauty of Taiwan's forest ecosystem and its alternating history of preservation and damage. 
4:30 pm - Taipei Factory: A collaborative project pairing four young Taiwanese directors with directors from Chile, France, Iran, and South Korea to co-create four short films about their collective and imaginative impressions of Taipei.  
6:00 pm - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?: Taiwanese American director Arvin Chen takes the ingredients for a repressed-love tragedy - a married man questioning his sexual orientation - and turns them into a swirly delight of subtle comedy and smiling color. 

Performing Taiwan is supported by the Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. (Taiwan), organized by the Taipei Cultural Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, and curated and produced bySoundpool Productions of Toronto. The showcase is part of theCanadian Arts Presenting Association's (CAPACOA) 26th annual conference, "The Culture of Curiosity," which will bring 250-plus delegates and select international presenters to the Intercontinental Toronto Centre Hotel and various Toronto venues from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25 


Learn More: 

· For more details and updates about Performing TaiwanContemporary Cultural Showcase, check out www.performingtaiwan.com

· To find out more about the CAPACOA conference, click here: www.capacoa.ca

- Electronic Press Kit available for down load via Dropbox, click here: Performing Tiawan

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