Just before we close up the office for the holidays, we asked our staff and social media followers for some of their favourite musical gifts over the years and here are some of their responses!
Daveda Karanas, mezzo soprano, Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde – "My fave recording of Bluebeard's Castle w/Troyanos, Nimsgern, & Boulez w/the BBC Symp. I'd searched years for it to no avail!" (via Twitter)
Ali Kashani, Associate Director, Development –" My favourite musical gift was the flute my dad bought me in high school. I was so happy not to have to use one of the school’s instruments (which often had problems) and I was over the moon about the fact that the mouthpiece was solid silver!"
Kathleen Keenan, Public Relations Intern – "I’ve received lots of musically-themed gifts over the years, from my clarinet stand to sheet music for the top pop songs of 2003, but my favourite has to be my copy of Michael Steen’s The Lives and Times of the Great Composers. This huge book contains all the information you’ll ever need about the tragic, scandalous or inspiring lives of your favourite classical and opera composers!”
John Kriter, Communications Assistant, Creative & Volunteers – "My favourite musical gift was an appreciation of opera given to me by my grandmother."
Alan Moffat, Ticket Services Manager – "My guitar. My wife and I spent a day going around guitar shops and when I finally found the one that was right for me, she bought it for me. I’ve since written her many songs on it."
Claire Morley, Communications Assistant – "One of my favourite gifts was from a friend who works at the LSO, who snuck me into a rehearsal of LSO and Colin Davis rehearsing Verdi’s Requiem. The other was an orchestra seat to a concert performance of Fidelio with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Phil."
Paige Phillips, Individual Giving Coordinator – "When I was twelve I played the trumpet in my school band and a jazz ensemble. I, just like everyone else at my little country school, rented instruments. For Christmas I asked for a trumpet of my own. My parents couldn’t afford to buy it but they splurged on a mouth piece. When I opened it I was so incredibly happy to have even a small fraction of the instrument to call my own. Even though I don’t play now, I still have the mouth piece, always will."
Kevin Sean Pook, Individual Giving Coordinator, Friends Department – "Probably the greatest musical gift I received was from the late Dennis Simpson of Polka Dot Door fame. I was singing with him in an opera in Vancouver and he and I sang “The Imagination Song” from the Polka Dot Door together backstage at Vancouver Opera right before a performance."
Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager – "My favourite musical gift was a very nice music stand (with its own fancy carrying case) which my partner gave me for a birthday a couple of years back. I use it every day when I practice, and it’s a great place to store all my scores!"
Katherine Semcesen, Associate Director, Education & Outreach – "My favourite musical gift was from my parents who put me in singing lessons at the age of 5. What better way to help me overcome my extreme shyness by throwing me up on a stage and allowing me to learn how to express myself?"
Vanessa Smith, School Programs Manager – "Instruments - both my clarinet and my ukulele were gifts from my parents, A little music makes the holidays special!" (via Twitter)
Nikki Tremblay, Assistant Ticket Service Manager – "I remember when a friend bought me Batdance by Prince on vinyl, I was thrilled! However, when my sister bought me 10th row VIP tickets to his concert in 2004, I was over the moon! As for theatre though, my sister taking me to see Peter Pan with Sandy Duncan when I was 8 was amazing! I loved, loved, loved it!!!"
Gianna Wichelow, Senior Communications Manager, Creative – "I was 21 and had gone on a few dates with a brilliant, but impoverished student at the U of T. He gave me one of his prized Tristan und Isolde recordings (with Flagstad and Melchior). What a complete joy that set was. Amazing singing. I'm still grateful for it."
Danielle D'Ornellas, Digital Marketing Assistant – "When I was eight years old I was obsessed with the Phantom of the Opera. I listened to the cassette until it wore out. Luckily it was playing in Toronto and it only took about six months of begging my family before somebody "surprised me" with tickets for Christmas."
Maeve Strathy – "My siblings and I gave our little nephews musical instruments for Christmas last year - an accordion, bongos, and a trumpet!" (via Twitter)
Jennifer Lang – "When I left my first admin job to study singing, they bought me a subscription to Pacific Opera as a goodbye gift-fabulous!" (via Twitter)
Reply in the comments and tell us about your favourite musical gift, and if you're still looking for a gift for a loved one, read our COC Gift Guide for some ideas.
Parlando will take a break for the holidays, but check back in January as we get ready for Tristan und Isolde and La clemenza di Tito.
Photo: (top) A scene from the Canadian Opera Company's production of Eugene Onegin, 2008; (bottom) Photo: A scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of La Bohème, 2009. Photos by Michael Cooper.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001