30-day opera

Entries from December 2012

Dinner with a composer

Wednesday, December 19. 2012

Inspired by the 30-Day Opera Challenge done by Austin Lyric Opera, the staff at the Edmonton Opera have taken on their own 30-day challenge. Each week, we'll post answers from staff members about various aspects of opera, whether it's their favourite aria, an opera house they'd like to visit or their opinion on a genre. We welcome comments about your own take on the question, either on the blog or via social media.

What composer would you like to have dinner with, and what would you discuss?
(This question was inspired by this piece talking about the type of dinner guests Verdi and Wagner would have been.)

Sandra Gajic, CEO: Hector Berlioz, as I'm very curious about his opera Les Troyens. He has so many characters in that opera, and they have all been very well thought out with beautiful accompanying music. I'm curious how he came to that, because most small character roles don't get that. 

Michael Spassov, artistic administrator: I'd like to have dinner with Tchaikovsky, because the 1812 Overture was what got me interested in classical music as a kid.

Jelena Bojic, director of community relations: Tchaikovsky as well, because I loved reading all the Russian literature, including Pushkin, in high school. Russian romanticism would be the dinner topic.

Amanda MacRae, education and community outreach coordinator: I'd have dinner with Leonard Bernstein. He composed the opera for Candide, as well as the musical West Side Story, and he was a huge advocate for arts education. He built two schools where he had this great vision of combining arts and education. 

Tim Yakimec, director of production: The composer I'd choose would be Engel Humperdinck, but I wouldn't have dinner with him. I'd share popsicles with him, and ask him what his favourite colour of popsicle was.

Cameron MacRae, creative coordinator: I'd like to have dinner with Benjamin Britten, because along with the anniversaries of Verdi and Wagner, it's his 100th anniversary next year as well. His political views and personality were really interesting, and he wrote some really beautiful music for chorus.

Lauren Tenney, marketing and fund development coordinator: I’d have to say Mozart for the composer I’d like to have dinner with. I have very little musical talent so I’d love to pick his brain on the amazing gift he was born with and how he had such ability at such a young age.

Opera you didn't know you knew

Wednesday, December 5. 2012

Inspired by the 30-Day Opera Challenge done by Austin Lyric Opera, the staff at the Edmonton Opera have taken on their own 30-day challenge. Each week, we'll post answers from staff members about various aspects of opera, whether it's their favourite aria, an opera house they'd like to visit or their opinion on a genre. We welcome comments about your own take on the question, either on the blog or via social media.

Which aria or piece do you find is the most recognizable? 

Jelena Bojic, director of community relations: Habanera, from Carmen. It's been used everywhere, from Pepsi commercials to Disney movies to Tom and Jerry cartoons (my favourite) and it continuously gains more popularity.

Tim Yakimec, director of production: One of the most recognizable would be Toreador from Carmen. It has been used in commercials, on the Muppet show, I’m sure on Bugs Bunny, etc. I think of late that Nessun Dorma from Turandot is gaining ground — once anyone hears it they know it is opera, not necessarily which one though. Even Aretha Franklin sang her take on it on the Grammy Awards in 1998 because Pavarotti was sick. Crossover to pop in one fell swoop!

Ha Neul Kim, company and stage manager: Intermezzo, from Cavalleria Rusticana. It's played at weddings, commercials and in The Godfather.

Michael Spassov, artistic administrator and chorus master: Nessun Dorma, from Turandot, simply because people sing it a lot.

Amanda MacRae, education and community outreach coordinator: Anything from Carmen is really recognizable. Whenever we do outreach events, people always recognize the songs from Carmen.

Stacy Young, special events coordinator: I didn't realize that the overture from Carmen was actually from an operatic piece, but it's really recognizable. 

Kelly Sheard, grant writer: La donna e mobile, from Verdi's Rigoletto.

Cameron MacRae, creative coordinator: It's between two, for me. Musetta's Waltz from La Bohème, and the Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute. Musetta's Waltz is comic but beautiful, and when you think of arias, you think of Queen of the Night. She's in an a rage, and you know it.

Jeff McAlpine, assistant technical director: Cameron took mine, but the Queen of the Night aria as well.

Sandra Gajic, CEO: Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, because it's used in a lot of cartoons.

Catherine Szabo, communications coordinator: I don't know if it's the most recognizable, but the operatic piece that I not only think is very beautiful, but always, always gets stuck in my head — even if I just read the lyric "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour" — is the Barcarolle from Les Contes d'Hoffmann.