Friday, 16 July 2010
Lepage's Nightingale Free on the Web
No serious opera fan should miss the astounding Robert Lepage production of Stravinsky's "Rossignol et autres fables," which is available for a limited time for free streaming on Arte Live Web. It is the same production that received rave reviews in October of last year at the COC. Seen as the triumph of
the Aix-en-Provence Festival and hailed in the European press as a highlight of the operatic year, the American press and public seem unconcerned and unaware of this even though the same director is to stage the new Wagner Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera.
Recorded from the July 7 performance at the Grand Théâtre de Provence, it has the enchanting soprano Olga Peretyatko as the nightingale. The orchestra and chorus of the Opéra National de Lyon, one of the top orchestras in France, get as close to perfection as possible under their music director Kazushi Ono. There are lots of other musical goodies on this important site of a major European television channel.
The Montreal Symphony's Musical Masked Ball Raises One Million
On a sultry summer night on May 26, 2010, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra welcomed some six hundred supporters to their 12th annual Midsummer Night's Ball. The soirée's leitmotif was movement. Herewith, the high notes from this year's 'Un Ballo in Maschera' gala, in five movements:
Arriving attendees are amazed by an imaginative, labyrinthian entrance to Complexe Desjardins—disguised as an opulent Venetian ballroom—for the black tie, red carpet gala. Enhancing the mystique are costumed hostesses and ushers who distribute masks to intrigued guests. Upstairs on level four, the Hyatt Regency Hotel hosts a highly animated, 'supertonic' cocktail reception.
Allegro vivace assai
Andante molto mosso
Honorary ball co-chairs Monique F. Leroux, president/CEO of Mouvement Desjardins and Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club owner/board chairman Geoffrey Molson are introduced by emcee, actor Guy Nadon. Thanking sponsors and attendees, they make the melodious announcement that a cool million is raised. Desjardins Group's 110th anniversary is fêted via video montage, and all applaud the Habs' awe-inspiring playoff action in their 101st year. The harmonious soirée seamlessly segues into a sumptuous symphony of taste orchestrated by Cornellier Traiteur.
Andantino grazioso - Tempo di valse
A polyphony of post-prandial performances is presented by MSO musicians under the baton of first assistant conductor Stéphane Laforest. Two waltzes by Johann Strauss II, An der schönen blauen Donau, and Frühlingstimmen, gracefully open the dance floor to guests. Maestro Laforest later conducts Frédéric Bégin's Créer l'avenir, which also features the FACE children's choir and solo violinist Alexandre Da Costa.
Finale: Allegro con fuoco
The corporate gala sponsors were Desjardins Group, Club de Hockey Canadien, Fiera Capital, Aldo Group, Alimentation Couche-Tard, National Bank Financial Group, Bell Canada, BMO Financial Group, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Cirque du Soleil, Ernst & Young, Garda, Hydro-Québec, La Coop fédérée, McKinsey & Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RBC Royal Bank, Samson Bélair Deloitte & Touche, Société des alcools du Québec and Solotech.
Next year will be the MSO's last at Place des Arts' Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, as their new concert hall is slated for delivery by September 2011. The 2010-2011 season starts in stentorian style with Carl Orff's monumental secular oratorio, Carmina Burana. A plethora of world renowned artists will perform, including piano virtuoso Anton Kuerti, who will play Beethoven's Emperor concerto, while Sir Andrew Davis wields his baton in a program of Prokofiev and Rachmaninov. A concert version of Wagner's magisterial masterpiece Das Rheingold will close the season. To consult the full calendar and order tickets, call 514-842-9951 or visit www.osm.ca
PHOTO BY Déclik Communications
CAPTION: Guests enjoy the MSO conducted by maestro Kent Nagano, amidst the magnificently decorated "Venetian grand salon" of Complexe Desjardins. An apropos piano keys motif appears on the sprawling dance floor.
Monday, 12 July 2010
Dallas Symphony Opens Extraordinary Summer of Music in Colorado!
Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival
Imagine a music festival that features three of the world’s top orchestras in successive week-long residencies. Throw into the mix the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Gil Shaham. Shake things up with some of the best conductors at work today: Jaap van Zweden, Alan Gilbert, Charles Dutoit, and Marin Alsop. And don’t forget to add lots of chamber music. Set all this talent up in one of the most spectacular mountain locations you can think of – say, Vail, Colorado - and run your festival for about six weeks. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But of course, who could afford to do it.
Music In The City: Toronto Summer Music Festival
Summer has traditionally been a quiet time musically in Toronto, with the opera, symphony and ballet all in hiatus. The little bit that were available - like the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Ontario Place and the Canadian Opera Company's Altamira Harbourfront Concerts, have long been consigned to history. Music-starved Torontonians, myself included, have had to venture out of town for our musical fix, to places like Elora, Parry Sound, Campbellford, Sharon, Niagara for example. While many of us continue to do that, those who would rather stay in town can still experience great music in our own backyard, in the form of the Toronto Summer Music Festival (July 20 - August 14). Thanks to the good work of conductor Agnes Grossmann, the TSMF has enriched the musical life of Toronto immeasurably the past five summers. I am a little sad to report that Grossmann is bidding farewell to Toronto and the Festival this summer. It was announced on June 8 that she is leaving her post as Artistic Director at the end of this season. She will be replaced by violist Douglas McNabney, who was Artistic Director of the Domaine Forget International Festival from 2001 to 2005. McNabney is also Chair of the Performance Department of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, where he is presently Associate Professor and Coordinator of Chamber Music.