I am extremely proud of what we accomplished with the opening of Nixon in China yesterday afternoon. Not only did we introduce one of the true operatic masterpieces of the 20th century into the COC repertoire, but with mastering the difficulties of John Adams' score, our orchestra and chorus also set a new milestone of artistic achievement for the company. A huge credit needs to go to our conductor Pablo Heras-Casado for his inspiring and flawless leadership. I am proud that he made his North American operatic debut with the COC.
As a special guest we had the great historian Margaret McMillan in the audience. Even though her book Nixon in China: The Week That Changed the World was written almost twenty years after the opera, it provides a fascinating insight into its protagonists.
There remains the question of what the third act of Nixon in China really is about. I have my ideas, but since there was a lot of discussion after the performance yesterday, I would welcome your thoughts once you have seen our production.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Season / comments (4) / permalink
Between the final rehearsals for Nixon in China and the first few performances of The Magic Flute, the COC embarked on a new initiative this week, a partnership with the recently created Health Arts Society of Ontario (HASO). Following the example of already existing organizations in Quebec and British Columbia, HASO is a not-for-profit organization that organizes (free) concerts for the residents of retirement homes, in Toronto for the moment, but hopefully all over the province very soon. Together with the TSO we are acting as the artistic mentors of the Society and I was very proud that five singers of our Magic Flute cast, Aline Kutan, Simone Osborne, Lisa di Maria, Frédéric Antoun and Rodion Pogossov, as well as our Music Director Johannes Debus (acting as accompanist and master of ceremonies) had agreed to participate in the launching event at Castleview Whychwood Towers. It was humbling and gratifying to see how much the residents enjoyed our little concert with excerpts from The Magic Flute. I am grateful to HASO and its founder David Lemon for this initiative that allows us to bring our art to people who can't come to us any more. Hopefully, HASO will be as successful here as her sister organizations in Quebec and BC.
Tomorrow at 4:30pm we open our production of Nixon in China.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Partnerships / comments (2) / permalink
I don't know if I've ever written about a movie here, but Denis Villeneuve's Incendies moved me so much that I can only urge you to run to the Tiff Bell Lightbox while it is still on.
Based on Wajdi Mouawad's play and set during the Lebanese war it is a most amazing re-telling of the old Oedipus myth and a deeply felt plea against violence and hatred. I would never have thought that a movie could reach the depth of the Greek master tragedians, but Incendies proved me wrong. As moving a piece of art as you will ever see.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Cinema / comments (3) / permalink
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