Friday, November 27, 2009

Howard Dyck's Grand Farewell

We've known for a while that Howard Dyck is retiring next year. After stepping down last year from his perennial post as host of Saturday Afternoon At The Opera on CBC, news that he was in his final season at the helm of the Grand Philharmonic Choir wasn't far behind. With his last Messiah coming up and a Dream of Gerontius with Ben Heppner coming in January, Kitchener's The Record has a great article covering a little bit of his life, focusing on his helping of young singers throughout his career. It's a nice article and worth reading to get a glimpse of an amazing Canadian career in vocal music.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why media makes me sad

It makes me sad that the Toronto Star thinks that Tom Diamond is best known for his stint on TV (in Batheroom Divas). That one of Canada's best opera directors wouldn't be known for, say, being one of Canada's best opera directors makes me cry a little. Sigh...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So it begins

So, I got Vancouver Opera's email this morning and they are once again making tickets availible under their O.U.T. (Opera Under Thirty) program where a limited number of tickets for their productions are available for those under, well, 30 for only $25.

The other thing that I noticed in this email though, was that the surface parking lot across from the Queen Elizabeth is now closed in preparation for the Olympics. Kind of unfortunate since that was both a cheaper (if memory serves) and certainly, as a surface lot, more accessible than the other lots around. Oh well, the (Olympic) show must go on, I guess.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vancouver Opera video contest winners

Vancouver Opera announced Friday that they have a winner in their OperaBot contest, the video contest when people were challenged to create animated shorts based on VO's operas this season. The winner was Brandon Cathey from The Art Institute of Colorado's beautiful take on Butterfly:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Singing day jobs

There's a great article in the Calgary Herald today where they take a look at the cast of Calgary Opera's upcoming Manon, but not in the traditional way: They find out what they do for a living. Yes, we all sing and even make money at it every once in a while but it's neat to see that it's not just me that needs to supplement in between shows. For this show the non-opera jobs range from lawyer to contractor to trucker.

As for me: I freelance doing Partnership Development (helping businesses work with other businessess), project management for non-profits (I helped run the Toronto Halloween campaign for UNICEF a couple of years ago), and some occasional web coding and, need be, design.

Anybody want to 'fess up to their day jobs? I know you're out there.

Aaaand we're back

Thanks for your patience folks. The house is a mess but the first kid's back in school so we're ready to blog again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Interim Canadian Opera Blog post

Hi all,

Well, we're in the middle of the move to Winnipeg and it's turning out to be a bit of a challenge to blog without a computer. Cell phones are fine for email checking but link pasting is a bit of a challenge. The movers are supposed to be here on Wednesday so hopefully Wednesday night will see a return to regular posting. In the mean time I'm busy changing our living room from what appears to be pylon yellow into "Music Room" blue. In the mean time, here's a couple of links to ponder:

See you soon!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The trek begins

Movers come tomorrow for the move to Winnipeg and so I'll likely have a slow week while things get set up out west. The only questions remains is: What to listen to on the drive. It's about 22 hours plus stops via the U.S. so I'm thinking that there's no time like the present to do the Ring back to back. My first live Ring was the COC's and so I know what I'm getting myself into. Any other suggestions? Good traveling opera music?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Laryngoscope Opera - A Friday Opera Video

Okay, this looks hilarious. I just had this sent to me by a blog follower (Thanks Ben!) and it gave me a good laugh. Sure it's not really an opera (the video is titled "Glottal Opera") but is definitely worth taking a look at, especially if you've never seen vocal chords up close (although all of you should have. If you haven't, take a look here for a bunch). Either way, this is a fun little video for a Friday. Make sure that you watch the credits at the end for some, uh, bonus footage.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dark, dark opera in Canada

I've already discussed a little bit about the opera that I'm in which opens tonight: And The Rat Laughed. It's a 21st c. Israeli opera in Hebrew about a little girl who survives the holocaust by being turned over to an awful, awful family (that's me!) before her parents disappear are killed by the Nazis. It's dark as dark can be, including scenes that I don't even want to mention here, but powerful and important, especially as a part of Holocaust Memorial Week.

Well it looks like the yuks just keep on coming up here in Canada as the CBC is going to start airing this weekend the first of a five part opera called Baby Kintyre, based upon a newborn baby that was buried in a wall in an East Toronto home in the 1920s only to be discovered by a contractor in 2007. Saturday Afternooon at the Opera will carry it in it's regular time slot. Read more about it, if you're still up for it after this joyous post, via the Globe and Mail.

Library book sales

So yesterday a friend (Melissa Bencic, if you're interested,) and I went down to the University of Toronto to take in an annual event that we've been partaking in for a few years now: the Music LibraryBook Sale. The reason: We went once and it saved me about $130. You see, the scores that they sell there are cheap. Really cheap. And so when I picked up a Universal Bluebeard score for $2 and it turned out a year later that not only was I hired to do that show, but that that was the version with the English translation that we were going to use, and it retailed for $130, I was hooked and we've gone back every year.

We're a good team for this: I like the opera scores and she takes things for her music school, Bravo Academy. There's no competition and if I see soemthing that she might want while I'm score hunting I'll grab it and vice versa.

That said, with us moving next week, I brought home about 20 books and scores and my wife nearly killed me. At least I brought them home in a box.

The U of T music library site is here - They list the next sale as being yesterday but I'm sure that they'll update that soon. Check out your own local university library's site - you won't regret it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Audition fee rant

Not my rant, mind you. I rant enough. Today I'll leave the ranting to the sensational Susan Eichhorn-Young over at the Once More With Feeling blog:

Where does this money go? It's my money, if I am applying and I would like to know, if I am not granted an audition, what I have just paid for. This business is a business of rejection - I don't need to pay money to be dealt it too. We all get enough of it daily!

There's more, here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Free singing lessons. Sort of.

One of the most visited posts on this blog is the famous "Free Scores" post. Next to the home page, more people come by to see it than any other post (it helps that Google puts the link on it's first page when you type in "Opera Scores"). So when I saw this, I knew that you guys would want to see it too.

The Bel Canto Forum bills it self as a place to discuss vocal technique, building on the quote from Jerome Hines that "Every singer has to be self-taught to a certain extent." The forum part of the site is just getting started but the thing to keep an eye on is it's "Library."

The "library" section is full of links to a ton of different online public domain (read: older,) resources about vocal technique. From Domingo and Sutherland masterclass videos to some great PDFs of some of the canonical vocal technique literature there's a whole bunch of stuff there. I wish that they'd exclude the links to Google Books that don't have a preview available (what's the point?) but there are some gems here to be sure.

If the site can develop a following for it's forum, and if they can continue to add resources to it's library, then this could end up being a great site to spend some serious time on. As it is right now, it's still worth a visit though.