Parlando: The COC Blog


Daily Links, June 24

  • Big news in the Toronto classical music scene: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has named Jonathan Crow as its new concertmaster. The Toronto Star writes:

    British Columbia-born Crow boasts an impressive resumé. He joined the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as a second violinist at age 19. In 2002, he was appointed concertmaster: the youngest person to ever serve in that position in North America.

    Crow left the Montreal Symphony in 2006. Since that time, he has focused on a varied and busy career as a chamber musician and teaching at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music.

    In response to repeated questions on why it was taking years to fill the concertmaster’s post, Toronto Symphony music director Peter Oundjian insisted that he was in no rush. This was a major legacy project for him, so he wanted to make sure he hired the best talent available: one that would be a good fit with the other orchestra musicians. [read the full article]

  • Also on the theme of young talent: Katie Stelmanis, a former member of the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus is making a name for herself in the pop world as the frontwoman of Austra. In this article from the Irish Times, she talks about how her classical background has influenced her current work:  

    “When I originally made the transition from classical music to writing my own music, I was probably heavily influenced by artists who’d made a similar transition and who had a classical background, people like Björk and Kate Bush and Owen Pallett and Nine Inch Nails. You could hear the training in their music and that appealed to me. I wanted to make classical music with really messed up and distorted sounds.”

    That training also influenced her songwriting. “When I first started writing my own music, I was very drawn to and inspired by the lyrical format you get in classical music as a way of telling stories and it evolved from there,” she explains. [read the full article]

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


Daily Links, June 23

  • Simone Osborne, the busy Ensemble Studio soprano who sang Pamina in our production of The Magic Flute this year (as well as Naiad in Ariadne auf Naxos), lets us in on her summer plans.

  • Queen of Puddings Music Theatre continues to prove that opera is a living, vibrant form with the opening of new work Svadba-Wedding this Friday:

    The hour-long opera in seven scenes follows six young women as one of them, Milica, prepares for her wedding. It’s modelled after a seven-day Serbian folk ritual, brought into the 21st century by Montreal-based, Serbian-born composer Ana Sokolovic.

    The work is performed a cappella, by six of the city’s finest female singers, most of them familiar to anyone who follows the vocal scene in Toronto: Laura Albino, Carla Huhtanen, Andrea Ludwig, Shannon Mercer, Krisztina Szabó and Jacqueline Woodley.

    The Ensemble Studio is well-represented in this production: Laura Albino, Andrea Ludwig, Shannon Mercer, and Krisztina Szabó are all graduates of the program, and Jacqueline Woodley will be soon entering her second season as a member. Read the full Toronto Star article.

  • You can still get your fix of classic opera arias this weekend with the Toronto Symphony: tenor David Pomeroy – who will be singing the role of Hoffmann with us next spring – and soprano Leah Crocetto will sing with the TSO this weekend in a program titled "Opera Favourites."

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


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

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



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