Parlando: The COC Blog

6/23/2011

A Chat with Lotfi Mansouri

[This is a guest post by Gianmarco Segato, retail and editorial co-ordinator. Gianmarco, together with Gianna Wichelow, is the voice of the COC in our Podcasts]

For our latest podcast we had the privilege of chatting with Lotfi Mansouri, General Director of the COC from 1976 to 1988. He was in town to work with the current members of our Ensemble Studio (pictured on the right/left with Lotfi). Mr. Mansouri has enjoyed a fascinating, multi-faceted career as a singer, stage director, impresario and teacher. Among many topics, he spoke with us about his early days as a tenor while studying pre-med at UCLA; his beginnings as an opera director in Europe; his many achievements with the COC; and his tenure as general director of San Francisco Opera. His memoirs, Lotfi Mansouri, An Operatic Journey, have recently been published by Northeastern University Press. We’ll be offering a free, signed copy of this vastly entertaining story to one of our lucky blog readers or podcast listeners. All you have to do is comment on this blog post on between June 23 and 29 telling us what you think of the podcast, and we’ll choose a winner (the winner will be announced in this comment thread, so check back to find out how to contact us and claim the prize). Now sit back and listen to a master raconteur give you the inside scoop on his brilliant career!

Photo: (l - r) Michael Uloth, Simone Osborne, Ambur Braid, Lotfi Mansouri, Wallis Giunta, Neil Craighead, Ileana Montalbetti, Christopher Enns, Rihab Chaieb, Adrian Kramer

Posted by Gianmarco Segato / in COC History / comments (0) / permalink

6/22/2011

Daily Links, June 22

  • The Four Seasons Centre has now been an important part of Toronto's performing arts scene for five years, and the Toronto Star writes this morning about the venue's impact:

    Both the opera and ballet companies agree that the new home by architect Jack Diamond has boosted performances to a new level, and helped to draw audiences not just from the Toronto area, but beyond.

    “It’s made all the difference,” says Alexander Neef, general director of the opera company. “You cannot build a reputation for yourself and your company, to be excellent and competitive, when the performance venue is inadequate.” [read the full article]

  • Here's an interview with a favourite COC artist and Ensemble Studio alumnus Isabel Bayrakdarian (last seen with us in Orfeo ed Euridice). She talks about covering the title role in Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen:  

    In 1998 in Toronto, I was the cover for the Vixen. I didn’t sing in the production, but I did sing some of the rehearsals. I was a member of the COC Ensemble program for that season. 

    There were a lot of tears the first time I learned to sing this opera because the Czech language is so difficult. But finally I realized that Janáček has written it with the idiom of his language in mind, and it’s wonderful to hear. [read the full interview]

  • Alexander Neef's latest blog post is about the World Theatre Forum in Beijing. "One can only imagine what an important destination for opera China could become, and how it will shape the future of the art form," he writes.

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Daily Links / comments (0) / permalink

6/21/2011

Daily Links, June 21

Here's an interview in the Kitchener Post with recent Ensemble Studio graduate Michael Uloth, who is now beginning a four-week intensive training program at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy. "For me, I just like how much big, beautiful sound someone can make without a microphone," he says. "I like the voice, and I like the idea that you can make it grow."

The 32nd annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards celebrating the performing arts in Toronto are coming up soon, and voting is still open for the Audience Choice award for Outstanding Production. Four of our productions are nominated: Death in Venice, Nixon in China, Cinderella (La Cenerentola), and Orfeo ed Euridice. You can also vote for a production that isn't on the list by entering it in the "Other" box at the bottom. Show your support for the performing arts and vote for your favourite production

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables continues to garner acclaim worldwide: it's been awarded the Prix Claude-Rostand in France (part of the Prix du Syndicat de la critique), tied with the l’Opéra de Nice production of Dialogues of the Carmelites. Here's the French-language link

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Daily Links / comments (0) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001

 

 

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