Thursday, May 24, 2012

Alcina is ESSENTIAL Opera!

I am tardy in getting up information on Opera Essential's information that they sent to me last week on their upcoming production of Handel's Alcina (tomorrow, in fact!)

Not an opera I am overly familiar with Alcina (despite it being essential) however I have heard my fair share of the coloratura aria "Tornami a vagheggiar" sung by the sorceress Morgana and of course the knight Ruggiero's "Verdi prati, selve amene" at various undergrad recitals!

Here is their press release:

Essential Opera mounts long-absent favourite, Alcina

TORONTO, Ontario - May 16, 2012- Thriving new Toronto opera company, Essential Opera, wraps up its second season this May with the elegant and evocative Alcina by Handel. The Toronto performance will take place on one night only: May 25, 7:30 p.m. at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre. Tickets are available in advance at and at the door.

"In just one year, we've gone from a couple of singers with an idea for one show, to selling out and performing with a chamber orchestra," said Erin Bardua and Maureen Batt, Co-Artistic Directors and Co-Founders, Essential Opera. "Our cast for Alcina is made up of passionate singers, many of whom are favourites of Toronto audiences."

Essential Opera keeps all its high-quality productions accessible to a wider audience by providing an on-screen English translation and offering affordable ticket prices. A focus on storytelling and character relationships brings the “concert” formula to life.

Essential Opera was founded in Toronto in the fall of 2010 by sopranos Erin Bardua and Maureen Batt. Debuting in February 2011 with one of the most essential operas, Le nozze di Figaro, their goal is to provide audiences and singers with the chance to experience opera at its most essential.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Great Fischer-Dieskau has Died

I just received a notice from Toronto blogger and writer John Terauds that the great baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has died at the age of 86.  His influence on the art of the song recital can not be understated - he was the greatest interpreter of the art form of the 20th Century and set the standard by which all have been judged.

Here is a young Fischer-Dieskau with Gerald Moore singing Schubert's An Die Musik:

For more on his career, check out the Wikipedia entry here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Un Air De Famille - Be the next Von Trapp Family!

This notice came into my inbox last night...I"m sure this will be the next big thing! :-)


We are currently seeking singing families (3 members or more) who will thrill the Radio-Canada audience next fall.

Every week, Un air de famille, hosted by Patrice L’Écuyer, will spotlight three families who will each present a singing act. The families will have to amaze their coach and the studio audience, as well as offer happiness… and emotion to the viewers. Families who distinguish themselves will go on to the grand finale where the favourite one from across Canada will be crowned.
Your coaches: Johanne Blouin, Jean-François Breau and Bruno Pelletier
Director and artistic director: René Simard


Fill out the online form at

Fill out the paper form and send your photos and demo to the following address:

Bubbles Télévision
Inscription Un air de famille
5455, avenue de Gaspé, suite 806
Montréal (QC)  H2T 3B3

Present yourselves to one of the designated venues to tape your demo.
(See the poster for more information.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Opera on the Avalon: Last minute roles to fill

Opera on the Avalon in St. John's Newfoundland has experienced some singer emergencies leaving the following roles vacant:

Female Roles in Suor Angelica
Mistress of the Novices

Male Roles in Gianni Schicchi 
Marco and the Notary

For more information, contact Katherine Tuck, Festival Coordinator at (709) 722-8124 or ASAP!

UPDATE MAY 10:  Just received a message that that roles of Marco and the notary have been filled :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Three Operas, Two Companies, One Amazing Trend!

It would seem that despite the efforts of Toronto's mayor to continue to cut funding to the arts, Opera in many forms in alive and well!  I have blogged about a number of new, small companies and here are two more!

Opera Five believes that opera is an art form that has unlimited potential, that has inspired artists for centuries, an art form we love and most importantly one that can move any audience, period.
When opera was developed it was meant to combine all art forms and we intend to push that to the limit by combining opera with any and every distinct art form such as dance, photography, visual art, performance art, creative writing, and even culinary arts by showcasing new talent in each medium.

Check out their upcoming double production of La voix humaine & Bluebeard's Castle
Arts and Lettters Club
May 15, 16 & 18
Click here for ticket information

Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) is a hip newcomer to the scene who says they are a band of rogue arts makers.  We're a director, a pianist, a few opera singers, actors, dancers, writers, some arts professionals and a couple of visual artists...oh, and a photographer.  We perform, we make stuff, and we drink beer.  A lot of beer.

Their upcoming production of The Turn of the Screw (my favourite, creepy opera ever!) promises to have some serious young artist star power!

Check them out on May 24, 25, 26 & 27 2012 @ 7:30 PM
Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse
90 St. George St. TO 
For tickets, go here and scroll to the bottom of the page. 

From the voice of....