Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Celebrate the CBC: Sopranos in Concert at GGS




Mon Oct 3, 8pm
Glenn Gould Studio
Join us on October 3rd to celebrate the 75th anniversary of CBC Radio with a special concert of operatic favourites performed by member of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, featuring some of Canada's most accomplished female opera singers - Julie Boulianne, Marianne Fiset, Aline Kutan and special guest Ben Heppner.
Each artist will perform a French aria from operas which were extremely popular with audiences between the two great wars - a time when CBC Radio was founded. To end the group offers up four timelesss Italian operatic arias which are guaranteed to please and/or dazzle. The centrepiece is an unbelievably seductive trio for three women by Franz Joseph Haydn. Prepare to be dazzled.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Halifax has opera! HSOW applications due...

The Halifax Summer Opera Workshop in Nova Scotia, Canada
Workshop dates:  July 16 to August 12, 2012, inclusive
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

1. A Midsummer Night's Dream by Benjamin Britten
music director: Gregory Myra
stage directors: Nina Scott-Stodddart and David Mosey
vocal coach: TBA
2. Carmen by Georges Bizet
music director: Tara Scott
stage director:  Anthony Radford
vocal coach:  Paula Rockwell

3. Three one act operas in English:
music director: Jennifer Szeto
vocal coach:  Lucy Hayes Davis

Gisela in Her Bathtub by Neil Weisensel and Michael Cavanagh
stage director:  Bonnie Archibald-Awalt

The Harpies by Marc Blitzstein
stage director: Steven Bourque

Riders to the Sea by Ralph Vaughan Williams
stage director:  Anne Morison

**************************

How to Apply to attend the Halifax Summer Opera Workshop

1.  Please fill in the online Application Form.  If you request an audition time in your application, Administrator Marja Ernst will get in touch with you with your time.
2.  Attend an audition or send in a recording, either by mail or by uploading files electronically.
There are no fees for applying to HSOW

2a. IN-PERSON AUDITIONS

Auditions this year will be held in:

LONDON, ON 
Thursday November 10, New St. James Presbyterian Church, 1 pm to 7 pm

TORONTO, ON 
Friday November 11, Kimbourne Park United Church, 6 pm to 9 pm
Saturday November 12, Kimbourne Park United Church,  noon to 4 pm

MONTREAL, QC
Sunday November 13, McGill University, time and place TBA

HALIFAX, NS
Monday November 21, Dalhousie University, Room 406, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

You must arrange for your own accompanist. Please bring your headshot and bio/resume. For the audition, we’ll ask you to prepare three arias or songs, as follows:

1. Ideally one should be an aria for the character for which you wish to be considered. This should be in the original language. Or pick an appropriate (language/style/voice type) substitute.
2. An aria or song in English
3. Any other song or aria that really shows off your personality and voice.
2b. RECORDED AUDITIONS

We encourage participants from other parts of Canada and the United States to attend HSOW! Every year we cast quite a few people from distance applications, so rest assured that it’s worthwhile applying this way.
If you know you’ll be applying by CD/DVD/electronic upload, you’re welcome to send your application along any time. Deadline for recorded auditions is postmarked November 15, 2011.
Here’s what to include: CD/DVD with three selections as for Live auditions, above. Send along a covering letter, and a headshot, bio/resume, and any supporting material (reviews, letters of recommendation, etc.). If you have a video, that’s a help too, but it’s not essential.
Please send your package to: Halifax Summer Opera Workshop PO Box 1819 Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0 (for couriers, our street address is 177 York Street, Lunenburg, NS, B0J 2C0)
We also accept packages submitted electronically.  After you fill in and submit the application form on our website, you’ll be given information on how to upload your files to us (you can also include links to online content at this time, such as YouTube videos). 
For mailed or uploaded packages, letters of recommendation can either be included or emailed to Nina, as long as they’re marked clearly with your name.

What is HSOW? 

HSOW is an intensive summer opera workshop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the East Coast of Canada, run by working musical and theatrical artists. The workshop was started in 2005, and is designed to be supportive, friendly and professional. Participants learn and hone their operatic skills while rehearsing and performing complete roles. Our participants typically range in experience from university undergrads to working professionals, and the standards of both singing and acting are very high.  

Please visit our website for more information about HSOW, our 2012 season, our faculty, audition locations, fees and the application form:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Catch Mary Lou Fallis as a Pirate...

This weekend in London, ON, you can catch Order of Canada soprano Mary Lou Fallis as the pirate Ruth in the Concert Opera Groups production of Pirates of Penzance.  A fundraiser for the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI), the show features many COSI alumni including tenor Andrew Haji and baritone Brad Christensen.  As Mary Lou was quoted in a recent article publicizing the event...
"She's actually been lusting after him, which is really a very dark undercurrent, I would say, though not explored much," Fallis says of Ruth.

What a thought!  Hope everyone in the London area gets a chance to check this concert out!  Details below:
What: Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance by the Toronto-based Concert Opera Group. Soloists include Mary Lou Fallis, Andrew Haji, Constantine Meglis and Timothy Richard. Singalong choruses. Commentary by Darryl Edwards

When: Sunday, 3 p.m., First-St. Andrew's United Church, 350 Queens Ave. (at Waterloo)
Details: $20 adults, $15 students and seniors. Available at door. Benefits Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bass Baritone Mark S. Doss has Toronto Connections

Currently "at home" in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Iphegenie en Tauride, bass baritone Mark S. Doss has called Toronto home for the past 13 years.  With an enviable career singing the best houses around the world, winning Grammy's and being a media savvy kind of guy, we should know who he is!  SO young singers...if you haven't heard (of) him, get a recording, check out his website, find him on Youtube, read about him or better yet, get your tickets to Iphegenie en Tauride which opens this Thursday night!  I know I can't wait!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Opera and Hockey...how Canadian is that, eh?

I dont' know the last time I found an article in the sports section of major paper that cited the advice of an opera singer...oh wait...never!  But this week, the Toronto Star (and the CBC for that matter) dedicated a column to singing the national anthem at our beloved game.  Apparently the Maple Leafs are holding "try outs" for national anthem singers tomorrow, Saturday, September 17 and they solicited the advice of current COC soloist bass-baritone Mark Doss:

“It shouldn’t be about the singing so much as it is about what you’re representing,” says Doss, who confines his signature trills to the anthem’s end.

 Doss says stadium anthem singers should also key on the songs’ nouns, which hold the most significant meanings.  “The nouns are what we live for,” says the bass baritone, who will star in the company’s upcoming production of Goethe’s Iphigenia in Tauris.  

“You can’t do anything without the mountains (nouns) being there, and if you start thinking about the adjectives it gets you moving in other directions,” says Doss.  Especially in a national anthem, the nouns are where the heart of the ballad dwells and should draw the singer’s vocal emphasis, he says.  

Think about the nouns in “O Canada,” for example — “Canada,” “land,” “hearts” — those should be the song’s lyrical focal points, according to Doss.   “When I start up ‘O Canada,’ that’s pretty strong and big in my brain,” he says.
Wise words from a pro!  Read the whole article here and let me know if YOU went to try outs!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Susan Graham talks to Joseph So @ LSM

There is a fantastic interview by Joseph So of La Scena Musicale with Susan Graham discussing her upcoming role at the COC in Iphegenie en Tauride.  My favourite part of the interview follows:


LSM: You have such a wide-ranging repertoire - baroque, classical romantic, 20th century, contemporary. When you go from one fach to another, how do you deal with the different vocal demands?

SG: I try to keep it simple. I've always maintained that good singing is good singing - one doesn't necessarily changes one's technique. That being said, I recently just did the grandmother of baroque opera, L'incoronazione di Poppea in Florence. I realized that in a small setting with a small orchestra, it's very intimate and one can alter the volume and colour of the voice. It's very different from singing 'Presentation of the Rose' or some big Wagnerian scene where you have to pump out a lot of power - sometimes it's not always about power! Nevertheless, the singing remains the same. For me, equally important as vocal technique is the very clear expression of the music, so whether I am singing the seductive future empress Poppea or Cherubino or Iphigenie, I still want to express clearly through the colours of my voice and the text which each character's emotions are.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A singing lesson from Brydon & Coogan

This cracked me up and I had to share their method on finding and octave and testing their range!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back to school...how do you practice?

It should be assumed that in today's competitive musical environment that singers are practicing all summer long to "keep up their chops"however, many students find that time of year difficult to balance their necessary summer job, their practicing and their fun (heck, I find it hard with kids at home!).  In celebration of the return to school, here are few discussions on practicing....

Performance Today is an American Public Media website that streams conversations and music.  Click the link to listen to a conversation with pianist Simone Dinnerstein on how she practices at the piano (she DOES NOT do SCALES!).  and in particular how she works a piece backwards phrase by phrase.  I know many singers who are the same!

And then of course, there is this conversation with Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne on building the voice:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

COC freebies!

I received an exciting press release last week from the Canadian Opera Company announcing their free concert series:



The Free Concert Series lineup for the 2011/2012 season has been announced!

Some of the highlights:
·         The Vocal Series features mainstage COC artists Erin Wall (Love from Afar, The Tales of Hoffmann), Julie Makerov (Tosca), Ekaterina Sadovnikova (Rigoletto), Krisztina Szab√≥ (Love from Afar), Russell Braun (Iphigenia in Tauris), and Robert Pomakov (Rigoletto).
·         For the first time ever, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra is presented in a mini-festival of four concerts featuring its members in various combinations, curated by COC music director Johannes Debus.
·         Kaija Saariaho, composer of Love from Afar, will host a concert featuring the artists of the Ensemble Studio in a program of her vocal works.

Check out the full details on their website and see you there!

Getting ready for summer....already? YAPs in Canada

It seems that every year deadlines come earlier than the previous year...and this year is no exception.  With competition fierce now in Canada for the graduate and emerging professional singers' money to pay-to-sing, young artist programs are putting out their calls for applications already for the summer of 2012.

Here are just a few that have sent me information this week:

Opera NUOVA
Based in Edmonton, AB, NUOVA has a number of different programs to offer with both short and long term training terms for singers and collaborative pianists.  Auditions start at the end of October and their deadline is Oct 15, 2011.  Giddy-up!


Based in St. John's, NFLD, OOTA will be putting up Puccini's Sour Angelica and Gianni Schicchi this summer.  The deadline for live auditions is November 9 with auditions taking place later in the month.  


COAA/AEDO
Based at the University of Western Ontario, COAA is in its 4th year and just completed its first year of an international collaborative program (AEDO). From their press release:


We are also delighted to continue our relationship with the Istituto Musicale Luigi Boccherini, and to announce a new collaboration with the Opera Studio Nederland, in the realization of AEDO, taking place this year in both Milan, IT and in Amsterdam, NL. This unique program focuses intensely on the art of learning and performing a full role, and culminates with staged performances, with orchestra, throughout northern Italy and in Amsterdam respectively. Application deadlines for AEDO Italy and AEDO Amsterdam are the same as those for COAA for North American students (one audition fee and application for all programs), information concerning live and recorded auditions for European students will be forthcoming on the website www.aedopera.com .

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stats and YAPs

782 Application
424 Auditions Granted
16 Singers CHOSEN

Those are the stats that made up Wolf Trap Opera this summer....and many other YAPs.  Just another reason to get yourself in gear for the upcoming academic year.

Aside from singing full roles at WTOC, singers are learning lots of skills according to Director, Kim Pensinger Witman:

"...Here they're also learning time-management skills... and they're also networking. It's not just that you're meeting people who will give you jobs later on, but you're making connections with your peers who will journey through the business with you, and they support one another which is a big deal. We are increasingly trying to help them develop their business skills. We do head shot and portfolio sessions; we give them website building advice and social networking seminars. You need to handle all this until you get a manager, and even after you have a manager, you have to understand all this to know if your manager is doing a good job. We're now realizing how much it will help them if they have some traction with the business side."


Read the whole article by Susan Dormady Eisenberg at the Huffington Post here.

...and BTW, the deadline for applying for the 2012 season is SEPTEMBER 16 for NYC auditions but alas, you must be a US citizen or have a work permit..*sigh*

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Competition Season...are YOU ready?

There are always so many voice competitions to keep track of (which is why YapTracker is SO great) that I can never blog about all of them.  That being said, here are a few that are open to Canadian singers that have come "across my desk" this week:


Czech and Slovak International Singing Competition
Theatre Lyrichoregra 20 - Montreal
November 21-26, 2011
Repertoire: Italian-French-Czech-Slovak as well as pieces from Mozart 


For those of Chinese decent:
Chinese International Vocal Competition

  • Preliminaries:
    • Asia-Pacific Region: August 28th, 2011.
    • North America Region: October 28th, 2011.
  • Semi-Finals: October 29th, 2011.
  • Finals, Award Ceremony, and "Chinese Future Stars Recital Concert": October 30th, 2011.



Check out the NEW competition from Opera Theatre Pittsburgh

Opera Theater of Pittsburgh Presents a New Vocal Competition and Young Artist Training Programs!
The Mildred Miller International Voice Competition
The competition offers young professional and pre-professional singers from around the world the chance to win three substantial monetary prizes, plus optional appropriate solo roles as agreed in an Opera Theater Summer Festival 2012 main stage production.


And of course...the MET Competition!
Check out their comprehensive website for information ..and be sure to read the "Are You Ready?" section!  Applicants for the 2011–12 season of auditions must be within the following ages:
20–30 years old for all voice types from August 1, 2011, through July 31, 2012


There was an error in this gadget

From the voice of....