Putting the Canadian in Canadian Opera Company

So I’m in Vancouver, Canada for a week, and considering the last opera I saw was the Canadian Opera Company‘s performance of Semele at BAM last week it seems fitting to discuss their forthcoming season, which, fittingly, features the world premiere of a Canadian Opera!

In October, COC will give the world premiere of Barbara Monk Feldman‘s short 2010 opera, Pyramus and Thisbe.  It’s based on a tale from antiquity so the COC is presenting it alongside two short, similarly classically themed, pieces by the grandfather of opera, Claudio Monteverdi: a scena for three voices and an aria, which is the only fragment to survive from his second opera, L’Arianna, performed below by Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci:

Here’s hoping I can make a return trip to Canada for this interesting early opera/premiere opera combo!

Seasons and Months Ahead

Met Opera 2014-15 Season Teaser

Met Opera 2014-15 Season Teaser

The Metropolitan Opera announced today that they will announce their 2014-2015 season tonight, so that’s exciting, I always love looking ahead to the next season, so eager and impatient…

I don’t know what it is about the west coast, but two California opera companies already announced their 2014/2015 seasons earlier this year:  LA Opera has a Figaro theme, including the West coast premiere of Corigiliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, as well as a revival of Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas which LA Opera co-commissioned.  They’re also giving the quite new Dog Days by David T. Little as part of their “Off Grand” series, of more unusual works presented outside their main  opera house, so good for that widely praised new work.

As for new opera, San Francisco Opera is premiering a new work by Italian composer Marco Tutino, but I’m also excited by their Handel and Floyd offerings…

The new, Chicano, Ghost Rider from Marvel Art by Felipe Smith

The new Ghost Rider from Marvel
Art by Felipe Smith

Its occurred to me recently that opera companies’ season announcements are kinda like comic publishers’ release of monthly previews, both of which I look forward to immensely…  And these days, with both Marvel and DC taking on a more “season” style publication scheme, there are always lots of exciting new titles coming out.

For example, I think I found my next comic book crush in the new, Chicano, Ghost Rider coming from Marvel.  The character design concept art by Felipe Smith, at right, has me interested in Ghost Rider for like, the first time…  Even if we don’t get to look at his pretty face when he’s all Ghosted up…

Also, along with the new Pakistani-American Ms. Marvel and new titles for their top female heroes, I’m excited about this diversifying push out of Marvel…

A Champion’s Opera

Boxer Emile Griffith

Opera companies’ announcements of their next season is like early Christmas for me, and the end of summer provides a mini-offering of season announcements from the summer opera festivals.

The Opera Theater of Saint Louis is one such summer opera festival, and a pretty adventurous one at that; their recently announced 2014 season includes a newly commissioned opera, part of a series initiated by this season’s world premiere…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature&v=Oe-KTfFqqwc&w=350&h=300]

Champion, an “opera in jazz” by Terence Blanchard was based on the true story of Caribbean-American boxer Emile Griffith, a champion welter- and middleweight infamous for beating a 1962 opponent to death.  Griffith’s sexuality had been called into question by his opponent, and he was later severely beaten outside a gay club in 1992, ultimately admitting in a 2005 interview that he’d had relations with both men and women.  Gotta love this poignant quote from Ron Ross’ 2006 biography: Continue reading

NYCO’s New Season

NYC Opera just announced their 2013/2014 season, and the modern British invasion of the New York opera scene, begun this season with the double-feature of Adès operas at NYCO and the Met, continues with the American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage‘s 2011 Royal Opera House -commissioned Anna Nicole.

(Yes, that Anna Nicole.)  The production, a co-production with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, will open their 2013 Next Wave Festival of new art.  Predictably, the original production got mixed reviews.  But I’m kind of morbidly curious?  Here are the first 10 minutes on YouTube if you want more of a teaser (there is a DVD too).

After that, NYCO will exhibit some of that operatic whiplash I love so much by going back to the 18th century to present another American premiere, of Johann Christian Bach‘s 1772 Endimione.

ROH 2013/2020 Season

It’s that time of year when opera companies announce their plans for next season, and the Royal Opera House in London has just joined in on the fun with their 2013/2014 season announcement:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fzCn0VB1aA&w=350&h=300]

That’s nice and all, but a certain earlier, longer-term announcement from the ROH is even more interesting to me…

New opera seems to be having a moment, with opera companies of all kinds doing more modern works and even commissioning new pieces themselves (not just limited to the big houses either).  Probably the biggest news on this front is ROH‘s plan for new works from 2013 to 2020.  It’s a fun peek into the (pretty far off) future, with lots of exciting names in the opera world represented.  Next season’s announcement includes some intriguing modern and new works in the Linbury Studio and this past season wasn’t too shabby either, with the UK stop on Benjamin‘s Written on Skin European tour and a revival of Birtwistle‘s The Mintoaur, which ROH premiered in 2008 (reviews from London opera blog Intermezzo), so looks like we can look forward to some more recent programming for at least 7 years to come…

Should be interesting…