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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Is 3D a frill in opera and concert presentations? Decide for yourself this weekend

By John Terauds on September 8, 2012

Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja is part of today’s Last Night of the Proms festivities in London (Paul Zammit Cutajar photo)

It’s debatable whether classical music and opera are enhanced in a meaningful way by 3D presentations, but it’s worth checking it out in two very different forms at participating Cineplex theatres, starting with the famously energized Last Night of the Proms from Royal Albert Hall in London.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS

The BBC Proms has to be the finest festival of classical music in the world, a summer-long affair that draws thousands into Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and ancillary venues, as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The whole affair comes to its joyously crashing conclusion this evening (that 2:30 p.m. Eastern) in a three-and-a-half-hour concert featuring young British violin sensation Nicola Benedetti (playing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1) and Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja (singing warhorse arias from Tosca and Turandot, Mario Lanza’s  vintage hit “Be My Love,” as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone”).

There are frothy orchestral solos for the BBC Symphony and conductor Jirí Belohlávec, including the mandatory “Land of Hope and Glory” Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 by Edward Elgar and C.H.H. Parry’s Jerusalem.

There are five Cineplex cinemas (closest to downtown is the SilverCity at Yonge and Englinton) hosting the live screenings in 3D, captured by eight cameras that will swirl amongst the performers and audience.

You’ll find all the details here. The concert will also be available in a free, live audio stream here, starting at 2:30 p.m.

MADAMA BUTTERFLY

The Royal Opera House tried it first with a colourful and busy production of Georges Bizet’s Carmen two years ago. Now it’s back with 3D viewing using a spare, inward-focused new-in-2003 production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly featuring James Valenti as Pinkerton and Liping Zhang as Butterfly.

The real treat in this performance, captured in 2011, is conductor Andris Nelsons, who has never met a Puccini swell he can’t ride like a veteran surfer.

The first screening was Wednesday, and there are three more left: Today and Monday at 7 p.m. as well as 12:30 p.m. on Sunday — at the same five Toronto-area cinemas.

Check out the details here.

AUDIO: A fine one-dimensional option

There’s plenty to listen to either online or on the radio this weekend.

  • CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera takes us back to our great-grandparents’ day with a Geneva Opera production of Mignon by Ambroise Thomas, online or on Radio 2 at 1 p.m. (Eastern).
  • There are several excellent Proms concerts still available to us as audio streams from the BBC, including a very nice concert performance of John Adams’ opera Nixon in China (with the definitive Nixon, Alan Oke) conducted by the composer, and a soaring Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss gorgeously rendered by the Vienna Philharmonic uner Bernard Haitink. Fans of solo piano can check out Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s pristine all-Debussy recital from Monday. It’s all here.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
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