Disciplined bloggers like my pre-predecessor Brian Dickie have my full admiration. Even though I try very hard to write a few posts every week sometimes I just fail. Like this past week. Luckily, I can profit from a calm Sunday morning to sum up everything that has happened over the past eight days while listening to Arturo Toscanini's stunning recording of Verdi's Otello, my top recommendation to prepare for the COC's upcoming production.
Getting Otello ready for next weeks's opening took a big part of the week and I think we're in for a real treat with what many consider Verdi's greatest opera. I am so happy to have Clifton Forbis with us to sing the title role. When he sang Otello's entrance in rehearsal the other day I was stunned to hear that he did it not only exactly as written in the score(you would be surprised to see how many singers of this incredibly difficult role actually don't), but also on one single breath!
On Wednesday we opened our Winter Season 2010 with Carmen to great public acclaim. I am proud of our cast led by Rinat Shaham's stunning Carmen—who came to our rescue only 10 days ago—and conducted so stylishly by Rory Macdonald.
We also had an illustrious visitor to our city this past week, the great Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Eloise and I were lucky to spend some time with him and his wife at a welcome dinner organized by Soundstreams on Sunday and at the reception after the concert of Esprit Orchestra at Koerner Hall on Friday which had included his ever-fascinating Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima from 1959 and the Concerto grosso for three cellos and orchestra from 2001. It was fascinating to hear these two very different pieces in the same concert and, of course, Esprit's execution of the difficult scores was impeccable.
Finally, on Wednesday afternoon Piers Handling gave us a tour of TIFF's new home, the Bell Light Box, which is under construction at King and John. It is a fascinating building and I can hardly wait for it to open next fall in time for the Film Festival.
Tonight is the dress rehearsal of Otello and our Music Director Johannes will conduct his first Salome in Munich. Fingers double-crossed!
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