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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 16, No. 4 December 2010


by Wah Keung Chan / December 1, 2010

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It was touch and go for The Music Scene / La Scena Musicale's November 5th Toronto fundraiser originally featuring Canadian baritone Russell Braun. In the morning, while on the train to Toronto, I received an email informing me that Russell was too sick to even talk. Luckily, Moira Johnson, Russell’s publicist said that baritone Phillip Addis was willing to step in at the last minute, driving in from Stratford, Ontario, a two-hour drive. Normally, Addis’s wife, pianist Emily Hamper accompanies him, but she had to stay home to take care of their child. So Russell's wife, pianist Carolyn Maule, agreed to do it, driving in from Georgetown, 45 minutes away.

When, at 5 pm, I arrived at Ruth Morawetz’s place, where the private event was taking place, Moira called to say that Phillip was stuck in traffic and would be late for the 5:30 pm rehearsal. With the busy Friday night Toronto traffic, even Maule was late.

The private concert, originally scheduled for 6:30 pm, started a bit late, but the people present were treated to a night to remember. Ruth made the introductions, and at 6:40 pm, just as I was finishing my address to the audience, Phillip and Carolyn arrived. After taking five minutes to go over the repertoire, they gave a great 30-minute recital without the benefit of either playing together before or a sound check. What great professionalism. Canada’s musical landscape is in good hands with the likes of 33-year-old Addis continuing the great work of seasoned stars such as Braun.

And Addis told the audience, “La Scena Musicale and The Music Scene have grown to be a crucial part of the musical scene in Canada. Without them, people wouldn’t know what’s going on and concerts don’t get attended. They are really a crucial link between the audience and the performers.”

Funds raised at our November 5 fundraiser went to the La Scena Musicale / The Music Scene Endowment Fund, which will help us continue our work of connecting audiences to musicians and music groups. All donations will be matched 150% by the Quebec Government. We hope you will help with a contribution.

The event was a success thanks to host Ruth Morawetz and TMS Associate Editor Joseph So. The 26 available places were sold out within nine days via email invitations. This kind of intimate salon-type concert is not new but being so close to the musicians, it creates an immediate feel for the music. Our experience also shows that it is an effective way for non-profit arts organizations to raise funds in today’s economy.

Looking ahead, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of La Scena Musicale, we are planning the First Canadian Arts Song Writing Contest to find the next great art song. The competition will be open to Canadian composers of all ages; the 10 finalist songs will be performed by some of Canada’s top singers at our 15th anniversary Gala in Fall 2011 and the members of the audience will choose the top song. Starting in February 2011, in the pages of La Scena Musicale and on our website, we will survey the 10 greatest art songs of all time.

For more details, visit www.scena.org in January 2011 for more details.

Incidentallly, Phillip Addis along with Michèle Losier are featured on the cover of this month’s La Scena Musicale. They will be performing the baritone version of Massenet’s Werther at the Montreal Opera on January 22, 26, 29, 31 and February 3. Order tickets through the TMS/LSM ticket line at 877-948-2520 or operaweekend@scena.org

Finally, on behalf of our dedicated team of staff and volunteers, I want to thank you for your continued support. Have a great holiday period and a musical 2011.

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