Parlando: The COC Blog


Adrianne on Ariadne

The spring issue of The Music Scene has an interview with Adrianne Pieczonka, the famed Canadian diva who will be singing the Prima Donna/Ariadne in our upcoming production of Ariadne auf Naxos. 

Here's what she had to say about the character of Ariadne: 

Q: Let’s talk a little about your upcoming COC Ariadne, one of your signature roles. Ariadne is a woman who can only be fulfilled by having a man in her life. Given the 21st century post-feminist critique, isn’t she a little old-fashioned? Why do you love her so much?

A: It’s not fair! (laughs) Look at Senta and Elsa—a lot of Wagner is misogynistic. You know I don’t have an issue with Ariadne, if you think of her as a Greek goddess and you put yourself back in her time. Maybe she’s a bit mad . . . maybe she has lost touch with reality. You have this polarization—in the Prologue she’s the diva, and then in the Opera itself you have this forlorn, bereft woman. I am married to a woman, so why am I even doing this role? Because the music is glorious! The duet between Zerbinetta and the Composer is so beautiful. I just sang Ariadne in Munich with Alice (Coote) and Jane (Archibald). It was wonderful. I hope the Toronto audience will love it. It’s a subtle opera—the Composer’s ode to music is so beautiful, and Zerbinetta’s aria is always a showstopper. My music is more cerebral—sometimes I must say you sing and sing, and . . . (more laughs)

You can read the whole thing here (PDF). And for a preview of Pieczonka's singing, here's a YouTube clip from Barcelona 2002 of "Es gibt ein reich," Ariadne's mournful aria

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (0) / permalink


COC Ensemble Artists Shine in Quilico Competition

[This blog post by Joseph So originally appeared on the La Scena Musicale blog on April 21. With the author's permission, we are republishing it here]  

Founded in 2000 by noted pianist/pedagogue Christina Petrowska Quilico in honour of her late husband and renowned Canadian baritone Louis Quilico, the Christina and Louis Quilico Fund has been offering financial awards in support of promising young Canadian singers in their pursuit of a professional career. This year for the first time, the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards, as it is now called, took place at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre of the Four Seasons Centre, hosted by the Ontario Arts Foundation. The event was in the form of a vocal competition adjudicated by a panel made up of Alexander Neef of the COC, David Speers of Opera Hamilton, and John Hess of the Queen of Puddings Music Theatre.

Unlike the typical competitions out there that are open to qualified singers, the format of the 2011 Quilico competition is unusual in that it is only open to COC Ensemble Studio artists. If I may allow myself a bit of speculation, it could not have been easy for COC's General Director Alexander Neef to sit in the judge's chair. As head of the COC, these young singers are his charges, his figurative "children." How does one love one child more than the other? That said, it is the reality of the opera world that artists are constantly being compared, and they compete for roles, contracts, and recognition by impresarios and the public. So it is only part of a singer's training to engage in friendly competition, to develop the strength and self confidence in one's own abilities, and at the same time the grace to recognize and appreciate excellence in their midst. I came away from the event feeling impressed by the wealth of talent among our young singers, the very artists who will ensure a bright future for opera.


Posted by Joseph So / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink


Johannes Debus in Boston

After making his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in the summer of 2010, our music director Johannes Debus was invited to return to work with the BSO for a second time this month, stepping in for Sir Colin Davis in a program of Haydn and Mozart April 8 through 12. He was wrapping up his COC tour to New York City with The Nightingale and Other Short Fables when he first heard about the possibility of returning: "I was on the bus to LaGuardia airport," he said, "when I got the e-mail from my agent." 

Although he'd worked with the BSO before, this was under somewhat different circumstances. Tanglewood, a summer festival away from the city, has "a certain spirit, a certain energy," he said, that gives it a special character. This time it would be at the BSO's main venue, as part of the main season, and in a non-operatic program. In a way it would be his official debut with the orchestra. Happily, he has found the orchestra to be warm, welcoming, and co-operative, "an orchestra with a human face."

There were two days of rehearsal before the performance, and before rehearsal he prepared by working through the score at the piano and listening to recordings of the three works. Asked if it is more difficult to prepare to conduct less familiar works, such as the Mozart and Haydn symphonies, he replied that it might actually be less difficult, because the orchestra has not settled into a certain way of playing them and the audience comes in with fewer expectations.


Posted by Cecily Carver / in Johannes Debus / comments (1) / permalink

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



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