Friday, April 30, 2010

Stolen tickets at Vancouver Opera

Vancouver Opera's tweeting today about tickets stolen from someones mail being resold. The theif has been caught but if anyone has bought tickets to VO's Marriage of Figaro for the May 1st or May 4th shows from anywhere other than VO or Ticketmaster, call the company at 604-683-0222

Opera in Concert chorus audition time

My email box was just hit with the announcement of the 2010-2011 Opera in Concert chorus auditions. Anyone in school, or new to Toronto may want to check them out. A lot of the soloists came up through there as it gives Guillermo Silva-Marin a chance to see what you're made of, as well as getting a chance to work with the excellent Robert Cooper. Plus, all of the comprimario and a lot of the small roles are filled from the chorus. Get on down and sing for them. The email is:

Please consider joining us this coming year or forward this along to a colleague or a student who might be interested and available.
The OIC Chorus under the expert musical direction of Robert Cooper has been a positive starting point for a great number of artists now enjoying a national and international solo performing career, among them, Bret Polegato, Monica Whicher, Jacklyn Short, Torin Chiles, Russell Braun, Isabel Bayrakdarian , Michele Bogdanowicz, Wallis Giunta and Giles Tomkins. All benefited from the Opera in Concert experience early in their careers.

It is part of Opera in Concert’s vision and mandate to promote the advancement of young Canadian soloists. Many of our chorus members are selected for solo assignments throughout the season.
The 2009-2010 Season was filled with passionate and thrilling music from LA DONNA DEL LAGO (The Lady of the Lake) by Gioacchino Rossini on October 25, 2009, 3 of Each GALA CONCERT on Nov 29, 2009, GIULIO CESARE by George Friderik Handel on Jan 31, 2010 and I PURITANI by Vicenzo Bellini on Mar 28, 2010…maintaining the trend of cutting-edge success so typical for Opera in Concert.

OIC’s 2010-2011 Season will present single performances of:
RUSLAN AND LYUDMILA by Mikhail Glinka on October 24, 2010
LA DAME BLANCHE by François-Adrien Boïeldieu on November 28, 2010
LA FEDELTA PREMIATA by Franz Josef Haydn on January 30, 2011 (no chorus in this opera)
THE DEVIL AND KATE by Antonín Dvořák on March 27, 2011

Join the Opera in Concert Chorus for the 2010-2011 Season and add OIC to your career development plans. Call OIC’s administration office to make an appointment.

Audition Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 starting at 5:00 pm
Place: Edward Jackman Centre: 947 Queen Street East, 2nd Floor, Toronto, ON M4M 1J9
Telephone: 416-922-2147
Please prepare 2 contrasting arias. OIC will provide you with an accompanist but you are welcome to bring your own.

Atelier posts dress rehearsal vids

Opera Atelier has posted up some dress rehearsal vids on Toronto Wide. Check them out - it looks like it's going to be great.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Opera Canada Magazine Goes Digital

Everyone's (second?) favourite source for Canadian opera news has gone digital. Through a deal with Zinio Digital Magazines you can now get digital copies of Opera Canada for your computer or iPad. On it's face I think that it's a great idea. I've subscribed to Opera Canada in print format for years and I'm glad to see that they're catching up to the way that people want to consume their media.

The catch? Well, to start with, there's no discount for subscribers of the paper version. At $29.50 for four issues on paper, I'll be hard pressed to put out another $29.95 for the digital copies. (Confusingly, single issues are $5.95 in either format, making, um, $24/4 issues, but that's another post.) For most people I would imagine that this makes it an "either-or" proposition and with this type of periodical I just don't see the economics allowing the digital version to win. Opera Canada is an industry magazine. It's articles are being saved for posterity and reference by subscribers as opposed to, say, getting an iTunes subscription to the NY Times where you read today's news once and, should you need to check an article for something next year, you can go to their web site to read it for free. Opera Canada doesn't have a web site, (a topic I've opined on before,) so my only hope to reference something is to dig through my old copies. The solution seems simple: if you want people to read your digital version, offer it at a discount to subscribers. Opera Canada has already paid for the digitization of the issue so any subscriptions that they sell are gravy. If it were me, I'd much rather have 10% of my customers (who are already paper subscribers) subscribing to the digital version too at $2.99/year as opposed to 1% at $29.95/year, but that's just me. Other periodicals have figured it out: Rolling Stone is offered at 85% off the cover price, Hockey News is 67% off. Is there something that I'm missing here?

The other issue that I have with it is it's format. The digital version is published in a proprietary "Zinio" format locked down with DRM. While there are some major magazines signed on to Zinio, any closed system makes me uncomfortable subscribing, particularly when (as detailed above,) I'm effectively being forced to chose between it and and the paper version. Heck, even iTunes has dropped it's DRM. Combine that with a requirement to use Zinio software to read the digital version and it's still a pass for me, I'm afraid. What happens when Zinio closes up shop, or gets bought out? Do I still get to access my content? What happens when they change formats and my old copies don't work anymore? When they're locked down with DRM, I'm out of luck. No thanks, Zinio.

I love digital formats. Heck, I love technologoy more than the next guy. But I can't abide poorly implemented technology. I'll revisit the issue in a year but without any changes on the horizon, I'll stick with my dead tree version for now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ooooh, opera games for fun and prizes!

Alright folks, it's time to put your music degrees to use. The Operaplot 2010 contest is almost underway - it runs April 26-30, and offers some amazing prizes, including Edmonton Opera and Vancouver Opera tickets, as well as, for their headline prize, tickets from Dublin Ireland's Opera Theatre Company, 3 nights accomodation, and 1000€ to cover flights! How do you play, you might ask? It's easy. Starting April 26th, tweet a 140 character (yes, you need a Twitter account) opera plot along with the tag #operaplot (included in the character count), be judged by none other than Jonas Kaufmann, and win. It's that easy! Full rules are here. Good luck all!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Audition: Winnipeg

The Little Opera Company has just passed along their audition notice for their upcoming Dido and Aeneas co-production with the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers. They'll be hearing singers on May 1st. To arrange a time, email

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Company Profile: Opera Kitchener

We have another profile done by one of the country's growing companies: Opera Kitchener. OK grew out of a combination of events: Opera Ontario pulled out of the region just before the Artistic Director of Brampton Lyric Opera moved to the region. Seeing a gap and an audience looking for opera, their new Artistic Director jumped right in and created Opera Kitchener and today he has graciously agreed to complete a profile for us.

Opera Kitchener
Location served
: Kitchener / Waterloo Region
Number of productions/year: 2 - 3 Main Stage ( 1 - 3 free summer outdoor operas included )
2009/2010 season's operas: Jan 09 - Marriage of Figaro
Feb 09 - La Traviata
Mar 09 - Richard Margison in Concert
June 09 - Cinderella ( free outdoor )
July 09 - Hansel & Gretel ( free outdoor )
Aug 09 - The Magic Flute ( free outdoor )
Oct 09 - Cosi fan tutte
Jan 10 - Die Fledermaus
Mar 10 - Madama Butterfly

2010/2011 season's operas: July 10 - Cosi fan tutte ( free outdoor )
Nov 10 - La Boheme
Apr 11 - The Barber of Seville
Approximate annual (or per-production - please specify) budget. I know that it varies, but try to guess: $80K - $100K (Annually)
Rehearsal period length and frequency:4 rehearsals a week for 4 weeks. Rehearsals are usually 3 hours long.
Are rehearsals generally evenings or days? Nights during the week and anytime during the weekend. We also rehearse during the day on weekdays if the artists are available.
Number of performances per production: 2 - 3
Performance venue(s) and size:Centre in the Square - Kitchener
Waterloo Public Square - Waterloo - ( outdoor only )
Humanities Theatre - Waterloo
River Run Centre - Guelph
Rose Theatre - Brampton
Living Arts Centre - Mississauga
What are your ticket price ranges? $25 - $55 depending on venue
Typically, are your productions with orchestra, piano, or small instrument ensemble with piano?Staged with soloists, costumes, chorus and orchestra
Are your roles paid? Lead roles? Secondary? Small roles? Chorus?Leads are paid an honourarium and the chorus was paid in 2009 for the first time.
If your roles are paid,what is the typical fee range for a lead role? All compensation depends on funding and sponsorship.
Do you have a relationship with Actor's Equity/Union des Artistes?
Regardless of a relationship or not, how does Equity effect your management of your company?It effects the singers but not the company. There are lots of singers to hire and if an equity contract gets in the way it is up to the artist to make suitable arrangements in order to be involved with Opera Kitchener.
What is the typical level/amount of performing experience that your lead and secondary singers have?At least 2 main shows as a lead under their belt, but we will hire first timers also.
When do you hold auditions? Every 2 - 3 years
Who do you want to hear from when you audition singers? Established artists? Fresh faced kids hungry to prove something?Everyone - locals mostly
How far in advance do you cast? 1 year
How far in advance do you choose productions? 1 year
When you audition, do you want to hear arias from the operas you're casting, or not at all? No. The same era or composer is important though
How often do cast members get re-cast in other productions if they do well in their first one? Very often.
In an audition: Sing it or act it? Both!
What else would you like singers to know about your company?People who drop out as a principle or chorus member are usually never hired back.