News flash

News flash

Aida by Py— Bloor Cinema is starting to screen opera. The Met in HD is no longer the only game in town. The independent cinema house, owned by the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival, will be showing the Paris Opera’s recent Aida (directed by Olivier Py, Philippe Jordan conducting) on Saturday January 18th at 1:30PM. For the very affordable tickets and more info go here. The new Paris production saw a great deal of controversy, and was one of the few which got boos even during the dress rehearsal. (Which prompted France Musique to dig out this video of a similar occasion, when Gérard Mortier had to interrupt a dress rehearsal for Warlikowski’s Parsifal and ask the booers to be civilized or leave.) No fundamentalist is more rabid than the Aida fundamentalist, and the Parisian ones were out in full force for the duration of the run. To say that it’ll be an intriguing production would be an understatement. I was eager to go, but realized I had tickets for the Cosi fan tutte at the COC later that day, and two operas back-t0-back would not be something my ripe old age could handle. I hope some of you see it and tell me all about it.

I asked Robin Smith, the Cinema Programmer at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, if this was a one-off or if they plan to continue to screen operas. “Yes, we do have plans to do Operas regularly at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Currently we are trying to feature at least 1 new opera to present our audience each month,” was his reply. He was able to share that we would see productions from both the ROH and the Paris Opera, but promised to have more specifics for me by mid-next week. Stay tuned.

–A new and intriguing transladaptation. Several departments of York University are collaborating on this updated version of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, to be directed by Gwen Dobie and conducted by Stephanie Martin.  Blurb: “In a Toronto prison in 2014, inmates crack open this satirical tale of corruption, social inequality — and a very messy love triangle.” Runs January 29-Feb 1, with the Jan 28 preview. More on the idea, and how to get the tickets here.

–Mezzo Stephanie Blythe is giving two voice Master Classes at UoT (Jan 21 and 23) and will perform “An Evening of English Songs” with pianist Steven Philcox and student artists (Jan 24). All of this is free, and takes place at UoT’s Walter Hall. More info here. Soprano Tracy Dahl is also giving a Master Class, baritone Thomas Allen is giving a talk, and British composer Gabriel Prokofiev is doing various things during his residence at UoT (look here for a handy calendar of UoT events this month).

–Hippolyte et Aricie in concert on February 2, something I can’t miss. The always outstanding Alyson McHardy will be Phedre, Kevin Mallon will conduct his period band the Aradia Ensemble, and the other credits look very appealing too.

Photo: The Paris Opera Aida, 2013

6 thoughts on “News flash

  1. Great news! I’m excited they might show the Herheim Vepres from Covent Garden. Hilarious that you brand Aida fundamentalists as the most rabid. We certainly saw that with the Albery Aida here in Toronto. It remains one if my favourite COC productions and I don’t just say that because I work there!

        1. Don’t feel like you missed anything. Have read and heard much about Pelly so expected something exciting. What we got was a horrible mish mas of ideas; mixed historical periods; opulent gold, gold, gold…The basic premise was a lot like Albery’s (update, show how story glorifies war; mistreatment of refugees etc.) but with none of the latter’s theatrical savvy. Worst was it appeared the singers hadn’t been directed at all, so from a personenregie point of view, there was almost nothing.
          They did announce they’ll be showing the Halten Don G from Covenet Garden on I think, Feb. 15 (although the reports on his Onegin from last season were disappointing).

          1. Thank you so much for this! I was wondering if anybody saw it. The pictures really look accurate to your description of the production–a mish-mash without much thought etc. No, Albery’s Aida remains a benchmarks, absolutely.

            (I often mix Py and Pelly too!)

  2. Oops! Sorry – two “P” names and they’re both French and my brain can’t handle it! Py, of course. Pelly’s Fille du Regiment (hopefully got that right) was a lot of fun – loved it.

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