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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 19, No. 1

Vocal Music

by Daniel Turp / September 1, 2013

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The new season this autumn looks interesting for passionate music lovers and fans of vocal music and the human voice. Quebec’s two major vocal arts companies are putting on three productions and two galas, and Opera Lyra Ottawa is producing two operas. Orchestras and ensembles have also reserved a special place for vocal music in their autumn lineups.

The Opéra de Montréal opens its 34th season with Lakmé by Léo Delibes. The premiere is on Saturday, September 21, and three other performances will take place at the same time on Tuesday (Sep. 24), Thursday (Sep. 26), and Saturday (Sep. 28). Contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux returns to Salle Wilfred-Pelletier at Montreal’s Place des Arts to appear in Verdi’s Falstaff. Also cast are Paolo Gavanelli, Aline Kutan, Antonio Figueroa, Gianna Corbisiero and Gregory Dahl. Daniele Callegari provides the musical direction and David Gately the mise-en-scène. Falstaff is presented Nov. 9, 12, 14 and 16.

At the Opéra de Québec, the season debuts with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Artistic and general director Grégoire Legendre has given Jacques Leblanc charge of the mise-en-scène. The cast includes Yunah Lee, Antoine Bélanger, and Peter McGillivray (Sharpless). Four performances will take place on Oct. 19, 22, 24 and 26.

For opera lovers in Ottawa and Gatineau, Opera Lyra Ottawa presents a production of Bizet’s Carmen with Alessandra Volpe in the title role. Four performances will take place on Sep. 7, 9, 11, and 14. The Ottawa opera company also presents Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance at Ottawa’s Arts Court Theatre on Oct.19 and 20. Performers include Ania Hejnar, Armine Kassabian, tenor Christopher Enns and Dion Mazerolle. Judith Ginsburg provides the musical direction and Alix Sideris the mise-en-scène.

Three more opera companies provide outings for operaphiles this autumn. Opéra Immédiat begins its fifth season with a production of Puccini’s La Bohème on Saturday (Sep. 21), and Sunday (Sep. 22), at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal. The Compagnie Baroque Mont-Royal presents Il Serpente di Bronzo by Jan Dismas Zelenka at Montreal’s St. James Anglican Church on Saturday, Oct. 5. L’Opéra Bouffe du Québec presents L’Étoile by Emmanuel Chabrier at the Maison des Arts de Laval on Fridays Nov. 8 and 15, and Saturdays, Nov. 9 and 16, at 8 pm, as well as Sundays, Nov. 10 and 17. Performers include Étienne Cousineau, Éric Thériault, Anick Pelletier, François Dubé, Jacinthe Thibault, Pierre-Étienne Bergeron and Isabeau Proulx-Lemire. The musical and artistic direction is provided by Simon Fournier and the mise-en-scène by Normand Chouinard.

The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal offers the city’s music lovers a concert version of La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz on Sep. 12, 15 and 17. The OSM’s conductor has also planned Bach’s Mass in B minor for Dec. 6 and 7 and has chosen Sybille Rubens, Ann Hallenberg, Julian Prégardien and Markus Werba as soloists. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin calls upon Marie-Nicole Lemieux to perform Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder on Friday, Nov. 29, at the Montreal Symphony House. The Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and conductor Fabien Gabel welcome British soprano Jennifer Lamore at the Grand Théâtre de Québec to open the season on Sep. 18, at 8 pm.

Mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne and Belarusian tenor Yuri Gorodestski are the two performing artists at the Société d’Art Vocal de Montréal’s 15th season on Sundays, Sep. 22 and Nov. 3. To kick off their 30th season, I Musici de Montréal pays Homage to Yuli Turovsky on Friday, Sep. 27, at the Maison symphonique de Montréal. The guest soloists are Kimy McLaren and Julie Boulianne. Conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni has also invited soprano Dominique Labelle to perform Benjamin Britten’s Les illuminations at Bourgie Hall on Nov. 1. The Violons du Roy and their conductor, Bernard Labadie, open the season with La voix grandiose de Stephanie Blythe at Palais Montcalm’s Salle Raoul-Jobin on Thursday, Oct. 10, with a repeat performance at the Maison symphonique de Montréal on Saturday, Oct. 12.

As part of its 8th season, the MET Live in HD series will broadcast the operas Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky (Oct. 5, rebroadcast Nov. 16 and 18), The Nose by Shostakovich (Oct. 26, rebroadcast Nov. 30), Puccini’s Tosca (Nov. 9, rebroadcast Dec. 7 and 16) and Verdi’s Falstaff (Dec. 14, rebroadcast Jan. 18 and 20, and Feb. 5, 2014).

Voice and opera also have a place on the small screen and the radio waves. TFO, Ontario’s francophone cultural and educational channel, will broadcast operas Sunday evenings at 8 pm starting in October. Alexander Neef of the Canadian Opera Company and Pierre Vachon will host these operatic evenings. At Radio-Canada, the program Place à l’opéra will take the place of L’Opéra du samedi. Between Sep. 7 and Nov. 30, host Sylvia L’Écuyer broadcasts operas from European opera houses where Canadian artists have sung. The radio broadcast of New York’s Metropolitan Opera’s 2013-2014 productions begins Saturday, Dec. 7 and continues until May 10, 2014. The program is broadcast at www.espace.mu on Saturdays from 1 to 5 pm and rebroadcast Sunday evening from 7 to 11 pm on radio Espace Musique. The program L’Opéra … le dimanche aussi! begins again on Radio Ville-Marie (available online at www.radiovm.com/radio_v3f5.aspx) with Quebec opera news, Sunday afternoons 1-3 pm, starting Sep. 15. It will be co-hosted by young musicologist Justin Bernard and … Daniel Turp!

Enjoy the new vocal season!

Translation: Rebecca Anne Clark

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