Parlando: The COC Blog


Ensemble Studio's Adrian Kramer talks Britten, Maazel, Comedy

Guelph-born baritone Adrian Kramer made Four Seasons Centre patrons laugh as Papageno last month in the Ensemble Studio's special performance of The Magic Flute. On tour with other members of the Castleton Festival Opera, he'll be making Californians laugh as Sid in Britten's Albert Herring. Founded by maestro Lorin Maazel with the support of the Britten-Pears foundation, Castleton Festival Opera gives emerging artists, hand-picked by maestro Maazel, the chance to work closely with one of the most respected conductors of our age. Adrian answered a few questions about the experience via email.

CC: Tell me about the character you’re singing in Albert Herring and how he fits into the opera as a whole. 

AK: I'm playing the character of Sid. Much like Papageno in The Magic Flute, Sid represents simplicity, sweetness, love, youth and fun. He even sings an aria about the glories of chasing girls around town and is the troublemaker who slips rum in Albert's drink to start him on his wild adventure. Liquor and love!  

Sid and Albert have a very interesting relationship. Not unlike a big brother, Sid is constantly teasing and pushing Albert, but always with a great deal of admiration and fraternal love. Sid runs around the opera with Nancy, the baker's daughter. They are young lovers, popping up occasionally and giving the audience a break from the rigid Victorian values held by the rest of the cast. Albert has a very real and deep-seated desire to taste the life that Sid and Nancy live so freely. They are one extreme and the townsfolk are another and poor Albert is caught somewhere in between.


Posted by Cecily Carver / in Ensemble Studio / comments (2) / permalink


The Making of a Stepsister

What does it take to transform an everyday person into Tosca, Don Carlo, or Figaro (besides, oh, years of vocal and stage training)?  Every character on stage needs to have a distinctive look and personality, and theatrical costumes and stage makeup are an important part of making sure the character cuts an impressive figure even for someone watching from the Fifth Ring. Last week, a small group of COC donors were invited to view a makeup and costume demonstration, giving them a rare glimpse into the inner workings of this transformation. An audience member was transformed into Clorinda, one of Cinderella's stepsisters, wearing the same costume and makeup that will be used in our upcoming production. I took the opportunity to snap some photos of the process.


Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (5) / permalink


Operanation's Star, Ambur Braid, Talks Orfeo and Broken Social Scene

Soprano Ambur Braid was one of the stars of Operanation VII, singing the Queen of the Night's aria (or "Queen 2") from The Magic Flute with indie rockers Broken Social Scene. She also supplied the coloratura for the Ensemble Studio performance of The Magic Flute last month, singing the Queen of the Night. Now she's taking a major role in our upcoming production of Orfeo ed Euridice: she will play Amore, the god of love—best known by the Roman name Cupid—who gives the grieving Orfeo a chance to bring his wife Euridice back from the dead. Amore is one of only three solo roles in Orfeo. Ambur generously took some time out of her vacation this month to answer a few questions by email. 

CC: Are there any moments from the night of Operanation that stand out in your memory?

AB: The performance itself was pretty fun and filled with surprises (especially when I knocked a huge diamond earring off of my ear and then caught it discreetly before it hit an audience member in the face) but it was the rehearsal process with Wallis Giunta and Broken Social Scene that was memorable. We met in a small studio the day before Operanation and arranged the Queen of the Night aria as a group. It started off sounding like a banjo jamboree but quickly took its form when I announced that it needed "dirty, grungy guitar action" (When do I ever get to say that in opera?) and proceeded to act that out in an awkward manner. Complete with flamboyant hand movements. Wallis aptly named this process the "Opera Singer Liberation Project." When we arranged the Flower Duet it was so beautiful at the climax of the piece, and the guys really nailed it. I have to admit, I had a tear in my eye.


Posted by Cecily Carver / in Ensemble Studio / 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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