Kaija Saariaho, the composer of our upcoming Love from Afar and on the Globe and Mail's list of musicians to watch in 2012, sat down with the COC for an interview about her opera. She talks about what makes Jaufré and Clémence each yearn for idealized faraway lovers, the role of the mysterious pilgrim in their romance, and how elements of the three manifest themselves in her own life.
To learn and hear more about her music, check out this blog post from December, which includes a collection of YouTube videos of her work.
Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2011/2012 / comments (0) / permalink
This time of year is a time of rest for many, but the COC is buzzing with activity. Today is the first "official" day of rehearsals for Tosca and Love from Afar, and many of our artists spent the 25th and 26th on airplanes bound for Toronto. The chorus has already begun their work, with their first rehearsal last Sunday the 18th and the costume fittings beginning earlier in the month. Those responsible for the props, costumes, and scenery have also been working for months making sure that the productions are stage-ready. Opening night of Tosca, on Jan. 21, is now three and a half weeks away!
Following last winter's Nixon in China, by celebrated American composer John Adams, our audience once again has a chance to hear an opera written by a living composer: Kaija Saariaho's Love from Afar. Love from Afar has been produced all over the world since its premiere at the Salzburg Festival in the year 2000, and is one of the 21st century's most successful operas.
Still, there's a good chance you're less familiar with Saariaho's music than Puccini's. With the help of YouTube, you can get to know some of Saariaho's works, and publisher Chester Novello has made detailed program notes available for many of her compositions.
You'll also have the opportunity to hear some of these works (as well as see her in the flesh) in some upcoming free concerts at the Four Seasons Centre: on Jan. 31, the Elmer Isler Singers will perform some of her chamber and vocal music, and on Feb. 2 there will be a concert of her vocal works performed by members of the Ensemble Studio. The composer will attend both concerts, as well as host the Feb. 2 concert and participate in a Q&A with the audience.
Lonh (meaning "distant" or "far away"), a work for soprano and electronics, is closely related to Love from Afar and was in fact composed as a "study" for the opera, with some of its melodic material appearing in the opera's score. The text derives from a poem by the real-life Jaufré Rudel, the medieval troubador who is the opera's protagonist. The full text and program notes can be found at Chester Novello. You'll have a chance to hear this work performed live at the Feb. 2 free concert in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.
Karita Mattila performs Parfum de l'instant with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra:
These videos of Prelude, for piano, and Couleurs du vent [program notes], for the flute, allow you to follow along with the score:
Many excerpts from Love from Afar itself can also be found online, including a visually stunning trailer for the production that will be coming to our stage.
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001