THE VOICE | The Cult of Magda
By Neil Crory on January 31, 2015
Born in 1910, Olivero made her professional operatic debut in Turin in 1933, at the age of 23. Within a few years, she had established herself as one of Italy's hottest new talents, securing her reputation over the next few years by singing everything from Lauretta (her debut role), to heavier roles such as Cio-Cio San, Mimi, Manon Lescaut, and even Elsa. In the 1939/40 season, she also added Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur to her repertoire – a role which was to play an important part in her career...
THE VOICE | Four Seasons Forecast: Dreary, Dreary, Dreary (Review)
By Neil Crory on January 25, 2015
Contrary to popular belief, critics and reviewers do not - for the most part - enjoy writing negative commentary. I know that I don't. But what can be said about the Canadian Opera Company's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts which opened on Saturday afternoon?
THE VOICE | Canadian Opera Company Unveils a 2015/16 Season Full of Firsts
By Neil Crory on January 16, 2015
On Wednesday evening the Canadian Opera Company announced its 2015-2016 season in Grand Opera style. No exclusive little cocktail party for a handful of press here – instead General Director, Alexander Neef went straight to his public and pulled out all the stops. Over a 90 minute programme he offered the crowd of over 1700 an 'event' overflowing with informal chat, Q & As, video segments, interviews, live music, surprise guest singers, a full orchestra conducted by COC Music Director, Johannes Debus - and the complete Act II finale of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Brent Bambury, the affable CBC Radio One host, functioned as moderator and kept the various elements moving along in a quick and orderly fashion. With the massive set for Richard Wagner's Die Walküre in the background, all that was missing was the chorus...
THE VOICE | Angela Hewitt and Anne Sofie von Otter: 'Medium' is the Message
By Neil Crory on January 11, 2015
The generous programme for this sold out event consisted of songs and solo piano pieces by German masters on the first half (Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms) and French maîtres (Hahn, Fauré, Chabrier, Debussy and Chaminade) on the second half. And while the ingredients for success were all there, the evening proved to be a mixed, occasionally wanting, affair.
The Voice of 2014 is Franco Fagioli, Countertenor
By Neil Crory on January 7, 2015
Early this past year, a new CD release on the Naïve label arrived in my mail. Glancing at the title - Arias for Caffarelli [sung by] Franco Fagioli - I reacted with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, "Good god! Not another countertenor!" And with that, I tossed it, unceremoniously, into a box overflowing with CDs to be auditioned...at a much later date...
THE VOICE | Gianandrea Noseda Tells All
By Neil Crory on December 3, 2014
The dynamic Italian conductor, Gianandrea Noseda, needs little introduction to Torontonians. Since his local debut in April 2002, he has conducted nearly a dozen programmes with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. For his upcoming appearance, however, Noseda is bringing his own orchestra and chorus from the Teatro Regio Torino in Italy, together with twelve soloists for a single, not-to-be-missed performance of Rossini's epic William Tell (or, more appropriately, Guglielmo Tell).
THE VOICE | Canadian Opera Company Competition Crowns Three Kings
By Neil Crory on November 26, 2014
I can't recall ever attending a vocal competition in which the men took home all the medals: bronze, silver and gold. Those cunning little sopranos and mezzos always seem to find ways to endear themselves into the hearts of jury and audience members, don't they? That is until last evening for the final round of the Second Annual Canadian Opera Company's Centre Stage Ensemble Studio Competition Gala at the Four Season's Centre.
THE VOICE | Isabel Bayrakdarian: "As a bird, I no longer like sitting on top of the tree"
By Neil Crory on November 25, 2014
Bayrakdarian’s obsession with Spain – Madrid in particular – is deep-seated. It seems to be in her blood. In fact, she has a passion for all things Spanish – its music, its dance, its language, its food; its culture;… Locals have told her that she even looks like a Madrileña.
THE VOICE | Techno Callas-Thenics
By Neil Crory on November 4, 2014
The American-born, Greek soprano, Maria Callas (1923 - 1977), must hold a record for the sheer number of studio recordings made within a 20 year period: 26 complete operas and 13 recital discs in total. Apart from a few 78 rpms made at the beginning of her career for the CETRA label, all of Callas' subsequent recordings were made by EMI. Together, these discs became the backbone of EMI's rich vocal catalogue.
FEATURE | Maria Callas In Toronto – A Night On The Town
By Neil Crory on October 15, 2014
"Maria Callas Is Coming!" trumpeted one newspaper headline a few days before the Greek-American soprano was to make her highly anticipated Toronto debut on October 21, 1958. Vocally, the diva was at the peak of her game and the height of her celebrity, so it is perhaps not surprising that an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 opera fans gathered to hear her perform in the cavernous Maple Leaf Gardens - home not only to the Maple Leafs, but also to New York's Metropolitan Opera on tour. So dense were the crowds of fans, the Toronto Daily Star reported, that when she appeared, police had to drive a path through the cheering throngs...