Archive pour April, 2011

Cruel dilemma

30 April 2011

I hate it when musical organisations don’t consult each other (in fact, they rarely do, keeping most of the time their season completely secret until the very last second) and that the music lover becomes torn between two interesting offerings the same day at the same time!

This will be the case tomorrow with dual (duel?) recitals by pianists Serhiy Salov at Cinquième Salle in Beethoven’s “Waldstein”, Chopin’s Second Sonata and Stravinsky’s Petruchka (he is Pro Musica’s guest) and André Laplante at Pollack Hall in Haydn, two excerpts from Ravel’s Miroirs and the second of Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage de Liszt, soon to be recorded for Analekta (he plays for the LMMC).

Too much is just as bad as too little. I just can’t choose!

Music for a royal wedding

28 April 2011

You are a big royalty fan and will be up in the middle of our night so you won’t miss one precious second of the wedding of the decade tomorrow? (Don’t forget to make the cucumber sandwiches ahead of time as you may not be fully awake at that time!) Will an orchestra accompany William and Kate, will it be a string quartet? Will there be Royal Fireworks Music? Details are of course top-secret, but Christopher Warren-Green, music director of the London Chamber Orchestra promises that it will be “extremely beautiful and fitting.”

Alex Ross of The New Yorker proposes a tongue-in-cheek collage of music fit for a prince and his princess… or maybe not. To listen…

Lepage’s Walküre not totally convincing the press

26 April 2011

The first reviews following Die Walküre‘s premiere at the Metropolitan Opera Friday were not all extatic, far from it. Several critics have serious doubts about the imposing scenery designed by Robert Lepage and Carl Fillion, sometimes so difficult to handle that it backfires, causing for  example hissing sounds or even falls. (Deborah Voigt tripped at the premiere.)

The New York Times appears a tad vexed when discussing the Lepage manner – though it admits it can be as well captivating – and Anthony Tommasini considers scenic effects sometimes extraordinary, sometimes clumsy and intrusive. The Washington Post finds the whole thing “hollow at high-tech core” and feels Lepage has not given enough clear staging indications to his singers, especially to those singing the role for the first time.

Tommasini’s review…

The Washington Post review…

If you want to make up your own mind, book a seat for a Cineplex performance near you, whether on May14 (a live broadcast) or on June 18 or July 11. More details ici…

Happy Easter

24 April 2011

Nothing quite like children’s voices singing Verdi’s Pater Noster to lift your spirits up on Easter morning, especially when those are the Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal.

Marianne Fiset as Mimi

22 April 2011

Some of us will enjoy a few days to relax this weekend or might eat a tiny bit too much chocolate (me? never!) but I doubt that Marianne Fiset will take those four days to just rest and forget about everything. Indeed, in a few short weeks, she will be the mythical Mimi in La bohème at Opéra de Montréal. Winner of the MIMC four years ago (time flies, doesn’t it?), she is already leading a very busy professional life, both on the opera stage and the concert scene and her recordings keep gathering rave reviews. She is featured on the current edition of La Scena Musicale and she talks about her career and how she will get ready for this role.

You can read the article on page 24 of the PDF.

Holy Week

20 April 2011

The week leading to Easter Sunday is a busy one and several inspirational concerts are featured in the next few days. Tonight, 7 p.m, at Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, Les idées heureuses perform the Seven Last Words of Christ, not the usual Dubois version but that of Christoph Graupner. This concert is the last of the  Cycle GRAUPNER 2010 concerts, celebrating the 250th anniversary of his death.

Friday night, 7:30 p.m., at St. Andrew and St. Paul, you may want to hear the church choir and I Musici de Montréal in Mozart’s Requiem and Adagio and Fugue, as well as Mahler’s transcription of Beethoven’s Quartet op. 95. On the same night, the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal will perform Victoria’s Requiem.

Saturday afternoon, if you are in the Trois-Rivières region,  harpist Valérie Milot will perform at St. James Church.

The Philadelphia Orchestra files for bankruptcy

18 April 2011

The Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the Big Five orchestras, became the first major U.S. symphony to file bankruptcy on Saturday. The board assured medias and music lovers that no concerts would be cancelled and that a restructuration plan was underway. This means that the orchestra should still make the trip to Festival de Lanaudière in July.

Not everyone in the organisation believes that this was the only way out of this $14.5 millions hole however. Many musicians of the orchestra believe in fact that Chapter 11 will harm the reputation of the orchestra and law professor David Skeel goes so far as to explain that the $140 million endowment fund could have offset the structural deficit.

You can learn more in this article by the AM Law Daily or in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Surprise celebration

15 April 2011

I like the idea of those flashmobs, which blow away people just happening to be there at that particular instant, whether in a train station, a bookstore, a market or a food court. To watch the look of bewilderment on everyone’s face when a group starts to dance, to sing or to perform is often priceless.

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the Orchestre métropolitain decided to add a twist to the concept yesterday, at Complexe Desjardins, on one of those seemingly boring as ever lunch hour, with the complicity of music students from the St-Luc High School. Nothing like the gold old Ode to Joy by dear Ludwig to spark things up and morph according to instrumentation or  inspiration.

What really got to me in this clip? The smile on the teenagers’ faces, quite visibly happy to have been part of this random of culture. Who said classical music was dead?

The Métropolitain celebrates its anniversary on Sunday with a concert featuring Bruckner, Vivier’s Orion and two premieres.

Leaner and Stronger

13 April 2011

Everyone has heard thousands of times the long-standing joke about opera, right? “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” Well, we might have to reconsider this cliché since, nowadays, most singers – like most of us really – do their very best to be slimmer and fitter. A nice plump “instrument” is not enough and deep notes require core strenght and a good cardiovascular system, which can be achieve through sports, yoga or dance.

The New York Times has an interesting article on the matter, that features interviews with Canadian singers Joseph Kaiser and Julie Boulianne. You can read it here…

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

11 April 2011

Well-known for exploring the oral traditions of Mediterranean cultures and the musical manuscripts of the Middle Ages, the Ensemble Constantinople launched rencently its album Early Dreams. At the very heart of this recording: a major intellectual figure symbolizes the spirit of the entire period for both Mexico and Spain:  Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648–1695).

“We were overwhelmed by her impassioned poetry and texts, and the musicality of her writing made us want to bring it to life again,” says Kiya Tabassian.  Some of her poems were selected and set to music over known bass lines of the period. As part of this (re)creation project, Canadian composer Michael Oesterle wrote as well a piece for this project, Tres sonetos, a very personal reading of this famous scholar’s work.

Nicknamed by her contemporaries “the tenth muse”, Sor Juana has a very unique voice. You can learn more about her on The Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Project.

To discover the album…