Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas - COC's Magic Flute

Oh what a sumptuous idea - a new production of the Magic Flute - check out the teaser below to see the cool costume design sketches by designer Myung Hee Cho:

Can't wait to get mine!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

COC Noon Concerts this week!

Sondra Radvanovsky took the stage yesterday at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre for a free noon hour concert.  The Free Concert Series is a 10-month celebration of creativity and diversity that takes place in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. I was sorry to miss it however, Joseph So has raved about it on the La Scena Musical Blog.

For more Vocal Series events, check out the concert tomorrow at noon (Thursday, December 16) where Canadian mezzo Krisztina Szabo will take the stage with the Queen of Puddings Music Theatre in A Tribute to György Kurtág.

Friday, December 10, 2010

COC Ensemble goes NORTH!

One of the things I didn't get to do while a member of the COC Ensemble was perform in a school tour (I was 9 months pregnant with my first baby that year and we all thought a pregnant Hansel wouldn't work very well!!!) so I was intrigued (and just a little bit jealous) when I got this press release from the COC:

Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour Travels a Combined 9,068 km

The Canadian Opera Company’s Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour completed its most ambitious tour of elementary schools to date on December 5, 2010, with the casts and crews of two productions travelling a combined 9,068 km in Ontario and Québec, and giving a collective 47 performances since November 8, 2010. This fall, the COC presented its acclaimed operas, Isis and the Seven Scorpions, by Canadian composer Dean Burry, and Cinderella, a combination of Jules Massenet’s and Rossini’s musical scores, as part of the school tour.    
At the behest of Xstrata Nickel, the School Tour Title Sponsor, the Inuit communities of Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq in the Nunavik region of northern Québec, near Xstrata Nickel's Raglan Mine, were added to the list of destinations, taking the school tour farther north than it had ever been before. The trip to Raglan Mine was documented in a series of blog posts on Parlando, the COC blog.

School Tour Facts:
  • The casts and crews of both shows travelled a combined total of 9,068 km and gave a collective 47 performances 
  • The Raglan mine is 600 km north of the tree line, at the 62nd parallel.
  • The region surrounding the Raglan mine is is sub-arctic permafrost.
  • Nunavik's population is about 10,500 people. Cinderella was performed for approximately 400 children and community members, or almost 4% of the population.
  • 150 employees of Raglan mine attended the Ensemble Studio's recital program of operatic arias.
  • Only 11 passengers could be accommodated by the plane that flew the Cinderella cast and crew to Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New BACH Summer Festival in Canada

Gerald Fagan, Artistic Director  and Friedhelm Hoffmann, Chairperson,  are delighted to announce the inaugural Bach Music Festival of Canada, South Huron Ontario!
The Bach Music Festival of Canada, South Huron Ontario has been established to create a weeklong festival featuring music of Bach and his compatriots. This international music festival will have its debut in July 11 - 17, 2011. 
Confirmed Guests Artists Include:
Lara St John Solo Violin Concert Recital and Master Class
Trio Alla Grande Guitar Trio Concert and Master Class
‘The Art of the Aria’     Bach Aria Symposium with renowned Basso Thomas Paul (Juilliard)
CHORAL – YOUTH TREBLE VOICES: Festival Conductor Brenda Zadorsky
CHORAL - ADULT: Festival Conductor Gerald Fagan
Gerald Fagan Singers (London Canada), conductor Gerald Fagan
Harvestehuder Kammerchor (Hamburg Germany), conductor Claus Bantzer
Regional choristers are encouraged to join in the Festival by actively participating as a week long member of the Mass Youth Choir with a final concert on Friday July 16 or the Mass Adult Choir, culminating in a concert of the B-Minor Mass on Saturday July 17! You can join with your choir or as an individual. Choristers from around the province will gather to share their love of music, and we hope you will join us too! 
Numerous concerts, recitals and masterclasses are scheduled throughout the week for audiences, scholars and musicians! Drawing upon the wealth of talent from Southwestern Ontario as well as welcoming musicians from around the world, this Festival is guaranteed to provide music lovers with numerous opportunities for sharing in the celebration of Bach and his compatriots.
Social events, regional tours, and shared meals will ensure a well-rounded experience for both adult and youth participants.
Special Early Registration rates are set to encourage you to send your registration in early. Please look at the dates and forward your registration, to take advantage of these special prices.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Bach Music Festival of Canada, July 2011!
Louise Fagan, Executive Producer l.fagan@rogers.com 519 851 0393

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Very Model of a US President

I just couldn't resist...What happens when the President is accused of not living up to the country's expectations?  He breaks into song!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vancouver Song Institute 2011 Programs

"One of the most inspiring experiences of my life. VISI integrates the creative music-making process with literary, theatrical, philosophical, and even scientific approaches - an ideal program for intellectually curious and passionate singers and pianists. The generosity and expertise of the world-renowned faculty, the friendly and supportive atmosphere, and the musical community of beautiful Vancouver all encouraged my artistic endeavour."

We are pleased to announce our VISI 2011 programs for singers, pianists, scholars, composers, and writers. VISI is dedicated to the exploration of new horizons in Art Song. Alongside intensive masterclasses and coachings with internationally renowned faculty artists, participants can explore classes in dramatic recitation, staging, song musicology, cultural history, and related workshops. Our diverse programs blend rigourous artistic tradition with innovative approaches to creative collaboration and a range of dynamic performance opportunities.

In addition to our annual Theatre of Art Song/Collaborative Piano Studies June 4-25 3-week program for singers and pianists, we are offering several new courses in 2011:

SONGFIRE Theatre Apprentice program June 4-25 - a full production of newly-created works for Art Song Theatre, the form developed at UBC/VISI with Artistic Director Rena Sharon, UBC Theatre Professor Tom Scholte, and Professors of Opera Gayle Shay (Vanderbilt) and David Walsh (University of Minnesota).

French Mélodie Immersion June 15-25 - a 10-day course of intensive studies in the repertoire, its style, its language, and its history, led by Mme. Rosemarie Landry and M. François Le Roux (Centre de la Mélodie Française) with Bruno Laplante, Francis Perron, and Dr. Sima Godfrey (UBC French Literature).

Song Scholarship and Performance June 4-18 - a two week collaborative course for performers and scholars who are interested in deep research of song interpretation, guided by some of the experts in the Art Song realm. Musicologist/Collaborative Pianist Dr. Benjamin Binder (Program Director) is joined by distinguished colleagues Dr. Deborah Stein directing Theory studies and Dr. Cameron Stowe directing Performance studies, with numerous renowned faculty guests.

Art Song Lab Dates TBA - a collaborative workshop for composers, poets, and performers in the interpretation and performance of their new works.

Arts of Conscience June 13-18 - a 6-day course for young artists interested in serving their community and the world through art.

Collaboration Weekend Symposium June 10-12 A gathering for professionals and students interested in discussion of the Collaborative processes for singer/pianist duos, with special guest Margo Garrett, Professor of Collaborative Piano at Juilliard and a host of other artists.

Courses for Song-Lovers VISI's daily array of lectures and masterclasses are all open for general audience. In addition, we have workshops in diverse song traditions, andVISICHOR, our Choral workshops directed by Kevin Zakresky, Assistant Conductor of Vancouver's celebrated Chor Leoni.


Participants can choose the program that fits their career or learning path while enjoying the interdisciplinary events that weave all the strands together.

Professional colleagues are welcome to attend all VISI sessions at drop-in daily rates, and to participate in our forum discussions about Art Song Pedagogy and Performance Practices.

"An experience I will not forget, an education I will always remember - profound - in the truest and deepest sense."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

E-Gre Competition: Voice 2011

This just in from the uniquely Canadian Voice Competition - The Eckhardt-Grammate:

This is just a reminder that the deadline for application for the 2011
Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition in Voice is approaching.  All
applications and supporting materials must be submitted by November 15,
2010.  The competition will be held April 29 - May 1, 2011.

For the first time this year, ALL repertoire written after 1950 is eligible
and does not need approval from Artistic Director Megumi Masaki.

More information on the Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition, along with
application forms, can be found at http://web.me.com/egrecompetition.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Musical Theatre Degree Program in Canada?

A parent of one of my students sent this article by Richard Ouzounian of The Toronto Star to me....since we all have so many students wanting to pursue the Music Theatre genre and with the RCM and Conservatory Canada providing examinations in this repertoire, it would seem like the natural progression would be to offer a university degree in the subject - something the Americans have been doing for years (think Oklahoma where the likes of Kristen Chenoweth and Kelly O'Hara got their training).

A new musical theatre company will be launched in Toronto in 2011, founded by 20 of the brightest lights in the country and modelled along the lines of Soulpepper Theatre, the Star has learned.
Adam Brazier, Louise Pitre and Dan Chameroy are just some of the members of the group, although a wide assortment of other stellar names are supposed to be involved, including Canadian Tony Award winners and nominees who’ve appeared on London and New York stages.
This would be the first artist-run company in North America, if not the world, run on a large scale and devoted exclusively to the art of musical theatre.
...There will be a strong educational element, with the new collective working closely with one of the GTA’s major universities toward providing a musical theatre degree program.
Read the whole article on The Star website and let me know if you have heard any details yet!

UPDATE January 11, 2011: A year ago CBC announced that "Theatre 20, an artist-run collective that includes stars such as Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!), Colm Wilkinson (Les Misérables) and Ma-Anne Dionisio (Miss Saigon), aims to increase opportunities for Canadian talent close to home so artists don't have to always head to the U.S. to continue working."  They are launching their Inaugural Season on January 23, 2012!  Check out their website for more information at www.theatre20.com.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vocal Gymnastics in the Form of a Bumblebee

Because I couldn't help it.....

COSI in Italy: Summer 2010

The Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) has developed an undergraduate-friendly program for 2011.

COSI 2011 is undergrad-friendly!

So few of the Canadian opera programs are making room for undergraduates, despite the young singers' ready willingness to participate! There is a need for recommendable places for my own students (though we remain grateful for the ones that are recommendable!). We have therefore adapted COSI to serve both the advanced, career-ready singers, and the undergraduate singers who are building their skills, learning roles, getting their stage legs, and developing a sense and stylistic abilities.

We have really fortified COSI's capacity and curriculum for undergraduate singers this summer.

Excellent coaching, lessons, loads of solo performing opportunities in our courtyard and piazza concerts (at least 8 of those!), Italian lessons, master classes, and chorus work in Don Giovanni, L'Elisir d'Amore, and Petite Messe Solennelle. That's not even to mention the exposure they get to experienced young artists, the COSI Voice Competition for Young Singers, and our superb international faculty. This is a powerhouse program!

Auditions are in Toronto on December 4 &5 and Queen's undergrads may alternatively submit an informal DVD.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Where to find your next Bach Cantata

I have been meaning to share this information since I blogged about the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library!  This is the go-to place on-line for everything Bach including pdf downloads of scores.

The Bach Cantatas Website (BCW) is a comprehensive site covering all aspects of J.S. Bach's cantatas and his other vocal works. The BCW contains discussions and detailed discographies of each cantata and other vocal works, performers and general topics. The BCW also contains texts and translations, scores, music examples, articles and interviews, and over 7,400 short biographies of performers of Bach's vocal works and players of his keyboard and lute works, as well as of poets & composers associated with Bach. There are also other relevant resources such as the Lutheran church year, database of chorale texts & melodies and their authors, detailed discographies of many Bach's instrumental works (solo keyboard, lute, Art of Fugue, Musical Offering, etc.) and piano transcriptions and their performers, reviews and discussions of Bach’s instrumental works, books and movies on Bach, terms and abbreviations, schedule of concerts of Bach's vocal works, Bach Festivals & Cantata Series, guide to Bach tour, Bach in arts and memorabilia, thousands of links to other relevant resources. The BCW is an international collective project, being compiled from various postings about the subject, most of which have been sent to the Bach Mailing Lists.

Make sure you check it out!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Measha here, Measha there, Measha EVERYWHERE!

With pop-star-like marketing and a voice like velvet, Measha Brueggergosman is surely owning the Canadian opera market these days!  Last night she opened the International Vocal Recital series at Roy Thompson Hall.  This weekend, she appears as part of the Queens Performing Arts Series.  So...for those of you who missed the drive to TO, get your tickets and hear her Sunday, November 7 in the intimate Syddenham United Church at 8pm performing works from her newest CD Nights & Dreams.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

French Resources for Singers

During the past few years as a teacher of singing at the university level, I have found that singing in French has been one of the most difficult mountains to climb for young singers.  Whether it is the complexity of harmony of some of the repertoire, the visual cluster of vowels to make one sound (think "aux", "eaux", etc), the frustration in dropping the [n] or [m] in a nasal sound or a general struggle to connect vowel sounds, French can be a nightmare to a young singer! It would seem that even in Canada where French is our other national language, we don't seem to have it in our ear.

Well, look no further for a wonderful source in the French Vocal Diction website created by French-American mezzo soprano Claudine Carlson.  You can download 145 different french texts that are recited in a slow, easy to imitate manner.  

I hope that with this site and other resources (like the Hal Leonard's The Vocal Library that include a CD of text and accompaniment tracks) singers will be better able to manage the challenges of the French language!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Spotlight on Repertoire: Allerseelen

In honour of All Souls Day, here is the great Kiri Te Kanawa and Sir George Solti performing Allerseelen by Richard Strauss with poetry by Hermann von Gilm zu Rosenegg.

Place on the table the fragrant mignonettes,
Bring inside the last red asters, and let us speak again of love,
as once we did in May.

Give me your hand, so that I can press it secretly;
and if someone sees us, it's all the same to me.
Just give me your sweet gaze,
as once you did in May.
Flowers adorn today each grave, sending off their fragrances;
one day in the year are the dead free.
Come close to my heart, so that I can have you again,
as once I did in May.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Canadian Soprano Lyne Fortin in Master Class

Canadian soprano Lyne Fortin will present a masterclass on Sunday, November 14th from 1pm to 4pm at the Conseil des Arts de Montréal's Studio de musique, 1210 Sherbrooke East (formerly the Montreal Central Library).

The details:

The class starts with a 25 minutes warm-up for everyone. 

Lyne will then work with 5 singers, 30 minutes each. 
Fees: $20 to attend, $50 to participate.
$20 Deposit is necessary to reserve your place.

For more information:  masterclass_fortin@hotmail.com

Lyne Fortin is one of Canada's leading sopranos, with appearances with L'Opera de Montreal in the title roles of Agrippina, Thais, La Traviata and Romeo et Juliette, Elvira in Don Giovanni, Mimi in La Boheme, Antonia in Les Contes d'Hoffman, Leila in Les Pecheurs des Perles, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Olga in Fedora, Gilda in Rigoletto,and Micaela in Carmen, Vancouver Opera as Mimi, Leila andMicaela, Opera Saskatchewan, Calgary Opera and Edmonton Opera as Violetta in La Traviata, Opera de Quebec as Donna Anna inDon Giovanni, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Gilda in Rigoletto, Mimi,Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, and Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, and Opera Hamilton and Edmonton Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Edmonton Opera as Violetta and for all three heroines in Les Contes d'Hoffman, and Opera Hamilton as Violetta, Leila and La Voix Humaine. Last season, she will return to Montreal and to Opera Ontario as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. In recent seasons, she made her role debut in the title role of Carmen for the Edmonton Opera, and return to L’Opera de Montreal and Opera de Quebec as “Stella Starlight” in the spectacle Starmania..and Erwartung for Opera de Quebec. This season, she will return to Calgary as Donna Anna.

Robert LePage in Conversation at MacLeans

I had the unbelievable good-luck to understudy director Robert LePage's staging of Schoenberg's one act opera Erwartung when I was an Ensemble member at the Canadian Opera Company back in 2002.  This was a remount of a show that has been seen all over the world and won huge critical and audience success.  Recently LePage unveiled the first part of his ambitious production of Wagner's Ring Cycle for the MET. Check him out in conversation with Brian Johnson in MacLean's magazine this week.

Here is an excerpt that highlights the patience and time needed to really "cook" a great opera project!

Q: How many projects have you got going?
A: There are a lot of things cooking, but they’re long-term projects. People think I have something opening every month, but it’s not true. I work for two weeks on a project, then let it cook for six months while I work on something else. I try to spread [them] over many, many years. The reality of opera forces you to do that. Singers are booked five or six years in advance. I have some projects booked up to 2016 because of that. Then there are big international gatherings and they want you to do an opening ceremony. That’s another five or 10 years. In the meantime, I try to do more humble theatre productions.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Dilemma of the BIG Voice

An article appeared today in the New York Times called "The End of the Great Big American Voice".  A well researched and thorough first-look at the what many have been saying has been happening for years...where have all the big voices gone?

American vocal training has long been bruited as the best in the world and is supposed to be better than ever. Yet there has been no commensurate rise in great new talents. One clear measure of the problem is the system's inability to deal effectively with large voices .... It seems to favor lighter, flexible voices that can perform a wide range of material accurately, rather than the powerful, thrilling, concert-hall-filling voices on which live opera ultimately relies for its survival.

The conservatory system where most students start out is self-perpetuating; many of its instructors went right from graduating to teaching without acquiring any stage experience. Many teachers are therefore less accustomed to the acoustics of a big opera house than to the intimacy of a voice studio, where sheer volume can sound alarming - not at all like the smaller-scaled, lighter voices on contemporary CD's (like Cecilia Bartoli's or, worse, Andrea Bocelli's). Big voices also take longer to mature, and by the time they do, those lucky enough to possess them may be considered too old to get a foot in the door. Many competitions, for example, are open only to those in their early 30's or younger.

If you are a singer, a teacher of singers or the head of a music program you must read the whole article. How can we accommodate the singer that might slip through the cracks of our late 20th C model of vocal training? How can we encourage unique artists that are not just singing technicians?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coaching...for life!

Last week I received an interesting email from a graduate of the Bachelor of Music Program at University of Toronto.  I thought her creativity for expanding her career as well as building a niche business was inspiring. Here is what she sent me:

How Do You “Communicate To Connect”?

Are you:
  • An individual striving for increased professional and personal success?
  • An emerging professional who is developing your career?
  • A performer who seeks that ultimate “in flow” connection with your audience?
  • A team or ensemble leader who wants to empower your group to reach for extraordinary results?
  • A teacher looking for creative ways to motivate and uplift your students?

Margaret Macmillan is a musician, manager, leadership and performance coach and founder ofListen for Music! Leadership and Career Coaching who uses her creative energy, warmth and passion to build positive connections with others.  She is an Executive Coach recognized by the International Coach Federation.

“As a piano chamber musician and performance coach for many years I learned to connect with others by using intuitive listening on many levels for the expression beneath words, by building teamwork and leadership in ensemble playing and by empowering fellow musicians to overcome performance anxiety and reach for personal success.

Now I include 28 years of experience as a manager and leader in the non-profit environment to offer creative professionals an opportunity to embrace a supportive thinking partnership based on mutual trust, respect and value.  This is a positive communication experience that will support and inspire you to highlight your unique strengths, design personal strategies for success and to reach with confidence towards peak performance opportunities in all aspects of life.

Allow me to join you on your path to building strong, creative and positive connections in your life.  Convenient one-on-one telephone meetings and workshops are available.  Contact me for a complimentary consultation.”

 You can check Margaret out on the web at www.listenformusic.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Banff Centre call for auditions

Canada’s Premier Opera Training Program
Program dates: July 3 – August 21, 2011
Application deadline: November 12, 2010
Kelly Robinson — program director
David Agler — music director/conductor
Other faculty to be announced.
Opera as Theatre gives emerging and established opera singers the opportunity to prepare main stage roles with coaching from internationally recognized teachers and pedagogues. Operas are supported by celebrated creative teams, original sets, costumes, props, and are accompanied by the Banff Festival Orchestra. The program also provides numerous ancillary opportunities for perf ormance, including opera in concert, recital, cabaret, and vocal chamber music.
Financial assistance is available.
2011 Productions
Lillian Alling — a new opera by Canada’s foremost opera-creation team — composer John Estacio and librettist John Murrell, co-commissioned by Vancouver Opera and The Banff Centre.
Cosi fan tutte
For more Information please contact:
1.403.762.6180 or 1.800.565.9989

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tenor Blaine Hendsbee: Master Class @ Queen's

Queen's University School of Music is pleased to welcome Dr. Blaine Hendsbee, Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. 
Dr. Hendsbee has sung often with virtually every opera company in Canada and has a repertoire of more than 60 roles, which span the entire operatic repertoire. He is as much sought after as an interpreter of 20th century operas as he is for his sharply etched portrayals of the great character tenor roles in the standard operatic literature. 
Recent Canadian performances include the title role in a concert version of The Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach), the world premier of Erewhon (Applebaum) for Pacific Opera Victoria, The Magic Flute (Mozart) at the National Arts Centre, and The Emperor of Atlantis (Ullmann), which toured the Maritime provinces conducted by the late Maestro Georg Tintner. 
Dr. Hendsbee's video credits include The Making of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio (BRAVO), a film version of Bach's Coffee Cantata entitled More Than a Thousand Kisses (Prometheus Productions), and a new media video production of The Bald Soprano (PBS). His performances are often heard on CBC's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. He is also a regular guest soloist with symphony orchestras from coast to coast. 
When:  Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Time: 1:30-3:30
This event is free to the Queens Community and the general public.  This master class is part of the mandatory studio class attendance for all undergraduate BMUS singers.
All are welcome!

RIP Dame Joan Sutherland

While the death of Dame Joan Sutherland is not breaking news, I felt I would be remiss if I did not post my tribute to one of the greatest voice of the 20th Century.  Her Queen of the Night was an example of her unique and powerful sound that has yet to be matched.

From the bottom of my soprano heart, I say thank you Dame Joan for your voice!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The 3rd Instalment of COAA

It was recently announced that The Canadian Operatic Arts Academy is accepting applications for its third summer of opera training.  Located at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario, the deadline application is October 28 with auditions in November.  They will be hearing singers in tandem with the Atelier Lyrique - training ground of the Montreal Opera.  They also announced:

We are also delighted to announce a new collaboration with the Istituto Musicale Luigi Boccherini of Lucca, Italy.  This partnership will create an academy in Lucca modelled after COAA beginning in 2011.  More details will be released soon.
Sounds promising!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Job Posting: Voice Instructor at Queens Conservatory in Kingston

This just in from the Queen's Conservatory of Music in Kingston, ON:

Queen’s Conservatory of Music
seeks a dynamic, part-time Voice Instructor
Queen’s Conservatory of Music (QCM) is a non-credit, community music program housed at Queen’s University School of Music. Since its inception in September 2007, QCM has quickly developed into a vibrant centre for anyone who has a passion for music.  QCM offers a wide range of educational opportunities to people from both Queen's and the greater Kingston community.
The ideal VOICE INSTRUCTOR will be comfortable working with students of all ages at a variety of levels.  Flexibility in teaching both the classical and musical theatre repertoire is required.  The QCM teaching year runs September through June, with possibility of extension into the summer months. The successful candidate will start at his/her earliest convenience, and ideally not later January 2011.  
  • Bachelor of Music degree with a major in voice performance or voice pedagogy.  
  • Minimum 3 years teaching experience
Certification in specific pedagogical methods is an asset but is not required
Employment with QCM is contractual, as a casual staff position at Queen’s University.  It is not a faculty appointment, and it does not guarantee employment with Queen’s School of Music. Rate of pay is hourly, and commensurate with experience. Scheduling will be based on room availability, with a preference given to weekday after-school/evenings and Saturdays.
Applicants invited for an interview should be prepared to do a teaching demonstration, and discuss their pedagogical approaches.  Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and two references with contact information to:
Karma Tomm, Director 
Queen’s Conservatory of Music
39 Bader Lane
Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6
Please direct questions to Karma Tomm at 613-533-6000 x 79069 or tommk@queensu.ca

Friday, October 1, 2010

Canadian Opera Company gets street-cred on Opera Chic blog

Canadian Opera has made it to the pages/screen of opera blogger Opera Chic.

On occasion of Sondra Radvanovsky's Aida debut for the company's first production of Verdi's grand opera in 25 years, The Globe and Mail's Style section gets all fashion-y, proving that Canadians don't throw tuxedo jackets over Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys for opening nights (obligatory Canada/hockey joke).  

Go Canada - a hockey AND an opera nation!


One of my favourite blogs to read is Coloratur...aah!  (yes, I've shattered glass!). A young up-and-coming coloratura soprano making it in Europe and now the US and incredibly, has been able to remain anonymous (to my knowledge) on the web.  I really love her direct, American candour about what it takes to be a singer and most recently, her rant about singing Queen of the Night.

...how many different ways can you freak a Koenigin out right before she has to sing DER HOELLE RACHE?! The ONE aria in the show that EVERYONE knows? and the REASON that we get hired for the role? ie- the PERFECT F's! Really? You want me to enter on a revolving what? And go into what trap door halfway through the aria? With dancers underneath me making noise with props that they have to use DURING the aria? Oh- awesome, because I just thought that you wanted me to sing it without feeling like I have to throw up. That would be nice.

Check her out because I know you will laugh out loud AND get a fresh perspective on this crazy business of being a singer!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finding Scores the quick way

For someone who prides herself in being (somewhat) techno-savvy, I can't believe I missed the boat on this one!  A student came to her lesson yesterday with reams of music - nice, clean copies of Mozart, Chausson and the like.  When I asked her where she got it, she said "on-line".  Well, duh...why didn't I think of that? All that public domain music out there to be sorted and organized and, wait for it, Petrucci Music Library has done it for you! Here is what they have to say about themselves:

Our goal is to create a virtual library containing all public domain music, as well as music from composers who are willing to share their work with the world without charge.
The Petrucci Music Library also encourages the exchange of musical ideas, both in the form of musical works and in their analysis. Feel free to post your analysis of a particular piece on the "discussion" pages, or join our forums for interactive discussion with the community.

I'm sure you already knew about them but if you didn't, their web address is www.imslp.org  They will be your life saver when you can't get to the library!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Auditions for Advanced Singers

Over the past five years, there have been a number of Canadian programs for advanced singers popping up on the radar.  I have linked a few below that have upcoming deadlines:

The Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) was started and is run by my colleague Dr. Darryl Edwards.  This program is a fantastic opportunity to perform and do intensive study on the Italian language.  Deadlines are fast approaching so check this out soon!  Dr. Edwards has also done an excellent comparison of programs that Canadian singers are eligible for in Canada and across the US that look at cost, location, performing opportunities etc. Needless to say, COSI is not just excellent value but a unique program for Canadian singers!

I have blogged about Opera on the Avalon before which was started by my former classmate soprano Cheryl Hickman.  This program is located in St. John's, NFLD which provides a stunning backdrop to a rigorous daily routine.

Opera Nuova has been around a bit longer and has created great opportunities for many of our young professional Canadian singers.  At the other end of the country in Edmonton, AB you have the option of a four week or six week program.

I will post more programs as I receive the information!

And finally....Welcome Back!

Well we have made it through the first few weeks of this new university academic year so WELCOME BACK!  A special welcome to all freshmen everywhere who finding their way in a new environment with new teachers, a new school and a new place to call home for the next four years!

I am looking forward to this year in particular as I commute for the first time between two very fine but different schools - Queen's University and the University of Toronto.  Additionally, I am looking forward to an exiting blogging year. Whether you are my student or not, this blog is for you - it is the conversation that extends beyond the lesson and hopes to encourage and inspire you to listen more, attend more concerts, learn more music, ask more questions, and get MORE from your learning.

I will be keeping a regular Spotlight on Repertoire section, will post auditions and performance information and sometimes just pose questions to start a discussion.  Feel free to respond whether to agree or challenge so that we all learn MORE!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Aida: A complex role steeped in tradition

American (and Canadian resident) soprano Sondra Radvanovsky talks about her role and COC debut as Aida this fall this COC General Director Alexander Neef:

For whatever reason they don't video cast the complete interview but suggest you go over to the podcast section to listen to the rest of the interview.  What a tease!!!

Here is Radvanovsky singing in the Classical 96 studio last year:

Monday, September 13, 2010

It happens even to the best of them...

The curse of Toronto has apparently hit Canadian tenor Ben Heppner again.  John Terauds writes in the Toronto Star yesterday:
At a long-awaited solo recital at the Four Seasons Centre on Saturday afternoon, Heppner — considered one of the great heroic tenors of his generation — had to concede defeat before he could finish the second half of a 60-minute performance.
So you young singers....get your technique in order now when you don't have the pressure of the world watching!

Here is Heppner singing Strauss' Zueignung:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Canadian Auditions

As a subscriber I am always getting updates from YAP Tracker **about upcoming auditions for YAP programs in North America and beyond.  I am pleased that more Canadian companies are submitting their information to this amazing website!  Check out the following upcoming auditions:

The Canadian Opera Company Ensemble
The jewel of YAPs in Canada, the COC holds auditions each fall to look for promising young singers to understudy and sing comprimario roles during their season.  One of the earliest YAP auditions (most American companies head to NYC the beginning of November into early December), singers really need to be on their game for this one!

North Toronto Players
A community group that has built its reputation on presenting Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas with a twist, NTP is holding soloist auditions this fall. This looks like a great opportunity for young singers to get some experience.

Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Winnipeg
The joys of G&S in HMS Pinafore ....auditions are NEXT WEEK so get on this one quickly!  From their website:
2010 will mark the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Winnipeg’s 20th season, having been formed in 1990.  The Society has now mounted 19 highly successful, professional productions and is set to begin work on it’s 20th Anniversary production of Patience....Society’s 15th Anniversary Concert, in January 2005 (also at Pantages), featured Tracy Dahl as a guest artist in Trial by Jury, as well as a selection of songs from other Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.  The Society has also presented concerts in Winnipeg and Morden, “concert brunches” in January of many years, as well as concerts with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (with Bramwell Tovey conducting) in 1994, 1997 and 2001.  The WSO concert in 1994 was released as a CD by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Wild Salmon Productions
A brand new opera, Gloves Off! A Hockey Opera in Three Acts ,written by Vancouver Islander, Susan Hannah Rankin, is scheduled to be work shopped November 9, 15, and 27.  Auditions are next week!

**PS - if you are interested in getting $5 off your YAP Tracker membership, email me for a coupon!

From the voice of....