Yesterday evening I got one of the most special treats since I've come to Toronto. The Luminato Festival hosted an evening with composer Philip Glass at Dr. Stewart's famous Integral House on Roxborough Drive. Hearing Glass perform his own music at the piano was quite special and chatting about his music and future operas at dinner afterwards even more so. I don't usually use this kind of language, but he is one of the coolest guys I've ever met. I'm very happy that Luminato will present his opera Einstein on the Beach in 2012.
In the meantime at the COC we're in full speed for the preparation of our spring season. Andrew Davis and Robert Carsen are both starting rehearsals today for Ariadne auf Naxos and Orfeo, respectively, together with such fabulous artists as Neil Armfield (our director for Ariadne), Adrianne Pieczonka, Richard Margison, Jane Archibald, Alice Coote, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Lawrence Zazzo and last, but certainly not least, Harry Bicket. La Cenerentola is ahead of Ariadne and Orfeo and will start rehearsal on stage at the Four Seasons Centre on Thursday.
Also, if you're interested in this kind of thing, today would have been the great conductor Herbert von Karajan's 103rd birthday. The other day, on my plane from San Francisco to New York, I was listening to his marvelous recording of Tristan und Isolde with Jon Vickers (my favourite tenor, next to Caruso). They also collaborated on recordings of Die Walküre, Otello and Fidelio, all of them more than worth listening to.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Toronto / comments (1) / permalink
I spent the weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for the 14th Canadian Arts Summit. This year's summit theme was What Can We Do to Strengthen the Place of the Arts in Canada? Starting Friday afternoon I attended a series of panel discussions and conversations with moderators and guest speakers like CBC's Peter Mansbridge, Jack Diamond and Bruce Kuwabara, Zaib Shaikh, David Cronenberg and Wajdi Mouawad, all of them great sources of inspiration generously sharing their thoughts.
But maybe even more important for me was the fact that the Summit provided me with an opportunity to meet so many of my colleagues from all over the country, many of them for the first time. The huge distances in this country make it difficult for us to see each other regularly. I really enjoyed having the time to meet, talk and get to know each other better.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Arts and Culture / comments (0) / permalink
Of the Strauss operas Capriccio has never been a particular favourite of mine. I have always felt that the piece, Strauss's final opera (premiered in 1942, in the middle of World War II) not only lacks the immediacy and dramatic urgency of his master operas written in the first decades of the 20th century, but also shows an almost shocking disconnect with the political reality of the 1940s.
However, I have to admit that I enjoyed the performance at the Met on Monday evening enormously. John Cox's production, lovingly and with great attention to detail revived by Peter McClintock, serves the piece extremely well and I couldn't imagine a better cast than the Met's, led by Renée Fleming, Peter Rose, our Canadians Joseph Kaiser and Russell Braun, and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis with his very fine sense for the orchestral marvels and the humour of the score.
Sitting there on Monday evening, it made me proud to think how great it will be to have Sir Andrew for Ariadne auf Naxos this coming May and for the double bill (Florentine Tragedy and Gianni Schicchi) next season; and how great to have Joe and Russell together in Iphigénie en Tauride - and Russell in L'amour de loin next season.
Wonderful things are going to happen at the COC.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
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