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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 17, No. 2 October 2011


by Joseph K. So, Lorena Jiménez Alonso, and Philippe Michaud / October 1, 2011

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Tenor Salvatore Licitra Dead at 43
On September 5, 2011 the opera world lost one of the brightest tenor stars to come out of Italy in recent years, tenor Salvatore Licitra. On Saturday August 27, Licitra sustained a massive trauma to his head and chest when he lost control of his Vespa scooter in Sicily and slammed into a wall. He was airlifted to Garibaldi Hospital in Catania, where he underwent surgery. He remained in a coma until his passing on Sept. 5. Licitra, who was born in Bern, Switzerland of Sicilian parents and grew up in Milano, burst onto the international scene when he replaced an ailing Luciano Pavarotti as Cavaradossi at the Met in 2002. To my knowledge, his appearance in Canada was limited to a concert at Place des Arts in June 2004, a recital at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall in January 2005, and as guest soloist in the Bel Canto Foundation Gala Concert in Toronto on September 29, 2010. A singer with a warm and robust Italianate timbre and a generous stage persona, Licitra sang with a beautiful voice and lots of heart. To remember him, there is an unusual selection from Youtube – a complete opera! This is a 2000 La Scala performance of Il Trovatore starring Licitra as Manrico, Barbara Frittoli as Leonora, Leo Nucci as di Luna, and Violeta Urmana as Azucena, under the baton of Riccardo Muti. This video caught Licitra near the beginning of his international career – not the most polished performance but exciting and ingratiating just the same. Joseph K. So

OSM Management and Musicians Reach Agreement
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal musicians, who have been playing without a contract for a year, will receive a 10.5 per cent increase in pay, a notch more than the 10 per cent they originally asked for, but over four years rather than two. There will also be an unspecified boost to the pension plan and payments for broadcasts based on digital platforms. The OSM minimum salary before the agreement was $72,128. Lorena Jiménez Alonso

Dutoit celebrates his 75th birthday
On October 7, conductor Charles Dutoit will turn 75. Originally from Lausanne in Switzerland, the maestro gave a remarkable performance this summer at the Festival de Lanaudière with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has been its principal conductor since 2008. When he was the musical director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, from 1977 to 2002, the ensemble won numerous prizes for their recordings and toured the world several times. Philippe Michaud

75th birthday of Steve Reich
Steve Reich celebrates his 75th birthday on October 3. This composer is considered a pioneer of minimalist music, which emerged in the 1960s. His new album made headlines, as the cover showed one of the terrorist airplanes crashing into one of the WTC towers. The Molinari Quartet performs the work, Different Trains, in Edmonton and Calgary on October 14 and 16. Phillippe Michaud

200 candles for Liszt
This month, we celebrate the 200th birthday of the composer and virtuoso pianist, Franz Liszt, best known for leaving a vast body of piano works. We will be able to hear some of his pieces at a major recital by the Chilean pianist Alejandra Cifuentes Diaz, at three candlelit concerts, to be held on October 1, 8 and 22 at Saint-Basile-le-Grand. concertchandelle.com Phillippe Michaud

Anglo Theatres Shake Up Leadership
Three Montreal anglophone theatre companies are undergoing changes at the top. The Black Theatre Workshop announced Thursday that Quincy Armorer, a popular actor-director, would be the company’s new artistic director. At the Segal Centre, the position of artistic director has been phased out and another operational model has been set in place, with the internally-appointed Paul Flicker given the title of artistic producer. In Hudson, a controversy is brewing over the sudden termination of the contract of the Village Theatre artistic director Andrew Johnston. These changes are all part of cost-cutting measures involving the combination of the jobs of general manager and artistic director. LJS

Côté Wins Canari
Baritone Dominique Côté won the first prize for opera at the ninth Festival international de Chant lyrique de Canari (Canari International Festival of Song) in Corsica. The president of the jury, the great French baritone Gabriel Bacquier, described the Montreal singer as a “true singer-actor, able to truly inhabit his characters on top of singing them with style and emotion.” Côté can be heard next in Carmina Burana at the Palais Montcalm de Québec and in Bizet’s Carmen at the Victoria Pacific Opera in British Columbia. PM

Translation: Lynn Travers, Lindsay Gallimore

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