The Free Concert Series may be wrapping up its 2012/2013 season in the first week of June, but these final weeks are packed with fantastic performances! Read our May and June highlights below to begin the countdown to summer with a selection of concerts that feature extraordinary vocal artistry, instrumental showcases, edgy new talent, and a unique cross-cultural collaboration.
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 12 p.m. - Mauro Bertoli - Romantic Rhapsodies
Award-winning Italian-born pianist Mauro Bertoli presents an alluring program featuring music by Romantic composers, including works by Brahms, Schumann, Granados and Liszt. Preview one of the pieces you will hear in the video below.
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.* - Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio - Christina and Louis Quilico Awards
Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio compete against each other for cash prizes in the 5th edition of the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards. The special event was created by pianist Christina Quilico in memory of her late husband, renowned baritone Louis Quilico. * Please note the extended performance time.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 12 p.m. - Against the Grain Theatre - Figaro's Wedding
Save the date! You're invited to a wedding. Against the Grain, Toronto’s hottest and most inventive young theatre collective presents a sneak peek of their new production, which takes
Mozart's beloved classic, The Marriage of Figaro, and turns it sideways. Watch Figaro's proposal to Susanna below.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 12 p.m. - Anna Christy - Bel Canto Bliss
Soprano Anna Christy is currently wowing audiences with her vocal fireworks as Lucia in the COC’s mainstage production of Lucia di Lammermoor. But now is your chance to experience her extraordinary blend of
sparkling voice, powerful stage presence and innate musicality in an intimate concert setting. See clips from her performance as Lucia in the video below.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 12 p.m. - Cellos of the COC Orchestra - Happy Birthday, Wagner!
Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner's birth on his actual birthday! Join the cellos of the COC Orchestra and Music Director Johannes Debus in a program that includes arrangements of Wagner’s opera overtures for four cellos and Bizet’s rarely heard Carmen Fantasy arranged by Alastair Eng for six cellos. Preview the Carmen Fantasy below, performed by the KNUA Cellists Ensemble.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 12 p.m. - Wen Zhao and Roman Smirnov - Strings Without Borders
Pipa virtuosa Wen Zhao and Russian-Israeli
flamenco guitarist Roman Smirnov close the 2012/2013 season with an explosive and truly unique hour
of duos exploring dance repertoire from China, Spain, and the Middle
East. Get a taste of their cross-cultural sound in the video below.
Photo Credits: (top image) Mauro Bertoli. Photo by Cora Zilli; Anna Christy. Photo by Dario Acosta; Richard Wagner; Wen Zhao performs in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Photo by Chris Hutcheson. (middle) 2012/2013 Ensemble Studio. Photo by Chris Hutcheson
Posted by Kristin McKinnon / in Free Concert Series / comments (0) / permalink
Storified by CanadianOperaCompany· Mon, Apr 29 2013 13:22:27
"Hanna Schwarz gives much more life to Herodias than one normally sees. She is fussy, self-important and the only character given to exaggerated gestures. She is clearly outraged that she must be seen to submit to a man she knows is weaker than she is. Although her lines sound a note of constant complaint, Schwarz never loses dark beauty of her lush voice and thereby makes Herodias an even more imposing figure." - Christopher Hoile, Stage Door
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (2) / permalink
By Nikita Gourski, Development Communications Officer
Imagine the choreographer who turns to the libretto of Salome for the first time, looking for insight on the famous Dance of the Seven Veils. They find only the briefest and most general of instructions to guide their work: “Salome dances the Dance of the Seven Veils.” For a pivotal scene, it’s not much to go on.
Yet that brevity opens up the performance to a multitude of possible and legitimate interpretations. By saying next to nothing about how the dance should look, the libretto seems to recognize that an elusive and indefinable quality is woven into the dance… a quality that might resist pre-determined charting precisely because it originates from a mysterious place of self-expression.
Salome by Paul Klee, 1920 and The Dance of Salome by Benozzo Gozzoli, 1462
Salome was adapted from Oscar Wilde’s one-act play, in which the author omits specific choreographic instructions with the very same phrase that the opera’s libretto echoes, unchanged, 13 years later. Things only get more puzzling when we read Wilde’s personal inscription to illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. “For Aubrey,” Wilde wrote, “the only artist who, besides myself, knows what the dance of the seven veils is, and can see that invisible dance.”
The Stomach Dance by Aubrey Beardsley, 1894
Treating these remarks seriously for a moment we get Wilde insisting that (a) the dance is not only – or even primarily – a physical happening; and, (b) its main processes aren’t perceivable in the visible realm. This alters our thinking about the dance in a pretty radical way: rather than a set of gyrations to be exhibited in the outer world, it’s now understood as a ritual aimed at Salome’s inner life and the spiritual (read: invisible) world.
Shireen Malik, a choreographer and dance scholar, has recently speculated that Wilde’s ideas about the Dance of the Seven Veils might have been informed by an ancient Mesopotamian myth, in which the goddess Ishtar descends into Hades. As Ishtar journeys deeper into the underworld, she needs to pass through seven gates and leave behind an article of clothing or a piece of jewellery at each of the successive entryways.
That's certainly consistent with Wilde’s suggestion of a dance that functions more like an invisible personal journey than a physical display. And its connection to Mesopotamian mythology underscores the fact that the dance has a vast history that precedes the 19th century’s Orientalist construction of it.
The Apparition by Gustave Moreau, 1876
One of the most popular 19th-century portrayals of Salome
Veils, for example, were not associated with Salome or her performance at Herod’s banquet until 1870, when Arthur O’Shaugnessy introduced the image in his poem “The Daughter of Herodias”:
She freed and floated on the air her arms
Above dim veils that hid her bosom’s charms
Or consider this typical Renaissance portrayal, in which we find a subdued and even somewhat dignified Salome, showing no traces of the vampiric, sexually frenzied attributes that so fascinated the 19th-century artists.
Salome with the head of John the Baptist by Andrea Solario, 1520-1524
Contrast that with the prevailing depictions of Salome during the Middle Ages, in which her dance is realized as a kind of acrobatic heathen act, replete with tumbling and contortions.
Detail of a Rouen Cathedral tympanum. Photo by Will Collin
As rendered in a tympanum of the Rouen Cathedral, Salome’s dance is an act of sinful aberration: walking on her hands
So the teenaged princess Salome had been dancing across the collective imagination of Western Europe for hundreds of years before Richard Strauss ever set her dance to music.
As always – and as never before – Salome dances the Dance of the Seven Veils.
For more on the ideas behind this post, check out the work of scholar Daria Santini; Shireen Malik’s article “‘She freed and floated on the air’: Salome and Her Dance of the Seven Veils” (collected in The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics edited by Jennifer Heath); and, Salome and the Dance of Writing: Portraits of Mimesis in Literature by Françoise Meltzer.
Photo: (top) Dance of the Seven Veils scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Salome, 2013. Photo by Michael Cooper
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (1) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001