Digital Audio Series
Key Change is the COC’s new podcast, co-hosted by classical singer and culture critic Robyn Grant-Moran, a member of the COC’s Circle of Artists, alongside stage director, dramaturg and COC Academy graduate Julie McIsaac. Our bi-weekly episodes explore the operagoing experience from a variety of perspectives, offering a fresh take on today's opera issues with special guests from the opera field and beyond.
EPISODE 10: Opera & Criticism – Part I
Long-time music critic Anne Midgette has reviewed and interviewed everyone from opera powerhouse Luciano Pavarotti and famed dancer Twyla Tharp to director Spike Lee and performance artist Marina Abramovic. After 11 years with The Washington Post, Anne chats with Key Change co-hosts Robyn Grant Moran and Julie McIsaac about cherished memories, perspectives on the craft, and the rapidly evolving role of the modern arts critic.
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CLICK HERE FOR A TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE 10
Anne Midgette is an American journalist and critic who has written extensively about music, the visual arts, dance, theatre and film for the Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Opera News, and other publications. She was the chief classical music critic for The Washington Post from 2008 to 2019 and, for seven years before that, was a regular contributor of classical music and theatre reviews to The New York Times. Anne has currently returned to freelance life to work on a new historical novel about the woman who built pianos for Beethoven.
Anne’s New York Times piece on gender gaps in classical music: https://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/26/arts/critic-s-notebook-closing-the-gender-gap-without-much-conviction.html
"A Critical Difference": http://www.furious.com/perfect/annemidgettecritical.html
Rubin Institute for Music Criticism: https://sfcm.edu/rubin-institute-music-criticism
Anne’s favourite Washington National Opera performance of Appomattox: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/appomattox-a-superb-night-at-the-opera/2015/11/15/29e46610-8b63-11e5-9a07-453018f9a0ec_story.html
Anne on Washington National Opera’s 2016 Ring Cycle finale: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/twilight-of-the-gods-proves-the-triumph-of-wnos-ring/2016/05/08/bd44aaf4-1539-11e6-aa55-670cabef46e0_story.html
Parterre Box (blog): https://parterre.com/
ReelAbilities Toronto Film Festival: https://reelabilities.org/toronto/en/
21 Black Futures: https://www.cbc.ca/artsprojects/21blackfutures
Seeding the Future (responses to 21 Black Futures): https://www.cbc.ca/arts/seeding-the-future-students-share-original-art-and-performances-inspired-by-21-black-futures-1.5923200
Key Change theme music: R. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Herbert von Karajan, conductor, with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics, 1956
“Dies Bildnis is bezaubernd schön” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Michael Schade. John Eliot Gardiner with the English Baroque Soloists. Archiv, 1996.
“Pietà” from Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Dienstag aus Licht. Annette Meriweather, soprano and Marcus Stockhausen, flugelhorn. EMI, 1998.
Prelude to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. Daniel Barenboim, conductor, with Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele. Warner Classics, 1991.
Final scene from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. Leo Nucci, Kathleen Battle, Luciano Pavarotti. James Levine, conductor, with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Deutsche Grammaphon, 1990.
MEET OUR CO-HOSTS
Robyn Grant-Moran (Métis) is a classical singer, writer, and a jack of many trades who, in 2018 met the requirements to call herself a Bachelor of the Fine Arts at York University. That same year, Robyn participated in the Performance Criticism Training Program with Generator Toronto where she learned that theatre criticism can be used to push for more inclusive spaces and champion voices less heard and often misunderstood; so of course she fell in love. Since then, she’s been published in Alt.Theatre and Intermission Magazine, won the Nathan Cohen Award for Outstanding Emerging Critic, and joined the Canadian Opera Company’s Circle of Artists, to name a few. Robyn currently resides in Tkaronto (Toronto), weathering the pandemic with her wee rat dog in a box in the sky.
Canadian stage director Julie McIsaac was named the COC’s first Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence in 2019 and is now Lead Curator of Opera Everywhere, the company's reimagined 20/21 season. A versatile opera and theatre artist, her projects work towards reshaping and revitalizing the stories told on stage. During her residency with the COC, she served as Assistant Director on Joel Ivany's production of Hansel and Gretel (COC) and she is the Dramaturg and Director of the upcoming COC commission Fantasma, composed by COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson with libretto by Colleen Murphy. Julie earned her Master’s degree in Theatre from the University of York (UK) and is also a graduate of Carleton University (Music) and the Canadian College of Performing Arts (Theatre Performance and Playwriting). www.juliemcisaac.com