Michael Mori: On Contemporary OperaFebruary 10, 2015Jenna DouglasMichael ChingInterview
As Artistic Director of Tapestry Opera, Michael Mori is a leading figure in the creation of new Canadian opera. Tapestry Opera just celebrated 35 years of commissioning new works and bringing together composers, librettists, and singers; a quick glance at their upcoming shows make it clear that it's really been 35 years and counting. Among the Artistic Directors of North America's opera companies, it's fair to say that Michael Mori has a unique vantage point on the industry of opera and its future. I ask him about what Tapestry does, and why historical works don't always mean cultural relevance.
Jenna is the editor and co-creator of Schmopera.com. She's also a pianist, vocal coach, and répétiteur, and working with singers is how she fell in love with opera. Her favourite operas include Peter Grimes, Ariadne auf Naxos, Tristan und Isolde, Written on Skin, and Anna Nicole.
New works: The Imaginings
"I've been wanting to write an opera ever since I watched Amadeus. There has always been lingering ideas in my mind for a libretto. Using the paintings as characters came initially from Stu & Jess productions commissioning me to adapt several poems into a song cycle based on classic paintings (Mona Lisa, Napoleon etc.); the initial poems had a humorous tone and sparked an idea."Read More
Michael Christie: new opera that the box office loves
It seems, when an audience is left to decide what they deem "opera", that they respond positively to hearing new works; Christie credits the community surrounding Minnesota Opera for the consistent support. "In some communities, new music doesn't go over quite as well," he explains. "Minnesota is a very particular community; I feel very lucky to be there."Read More
In review: Rocking Horse Winner
As the autistic son, Paul, Asitha Tennekoon is a revelation. His beautiful leggiero tenor was perfect for playing the delicate Paul. It bridged the gap between full Mozart opera and contemporary musical theatre. But to be honest, his acting is the reason to see this show. I've been watching Asitha grow as a performer over the last couple of years and I have to say that this could literally be a breakout role for this young man. It was endearing, truthful, and raw.Read More
Robert Ames: Deep Minimalism & LCO
"I keep notes all the time of pieces that I want to do, and dreaming up programmes. There's an absolutely humongous list of composers, and specific pieces of music, different artists I'd work with, people in theatre, people in dance, electronic artists, certain films that I'm interested in that we'd love to do live scores for."Read More
John Fanning on The Pencil Salesman
June 25-July 3 the Westben Arts Festival Theatre presents the world premiere of Brian Finley's new opera, The Pencil Salesman. Canadian baritone John Fanning will sing the role of Boris, the inventor of the Personal Touch Typewriter, who develops a cynical relationship with the world's technological advancements. We chat with Fanning about playing a "Luddite", about working on a brand new opera, and about how technology dictates our own human interactions.Read More
Lucia Cesaroni: Isis and Osiris, the value of new opera, & "bad b*tches in charge"
"I don't want to keep comparing to the States, but we're behind. We hate to admit it, but we are behind - and that's okay. We're a younger country, we're a younger industry. We may be behind here, but look at all the other places where we're ahead. It's very important to me that we find a way to secure a creative, successful, tenable way to secure a future for opera in Canada."Read More
Opera's survival: tightened belts & callous questions
All of this is nearing an uncomfortable suggestion. We ask, honestly and without further insinuations: when was the last time that the chorus, or the orchestra, was the most memorable element of an opera?Read More
In review: The Devil Inside
Oh yeah, and like all good wish-based fairy tales, there's a caveat. If you die in possession of this bottle, your soul is damned to hell for all time; if you sell it, you must sell it for less than you paid for it. Two hours and a bunch of bad decisions later, we find the characters in a very interesting predicament. I won't spoil the show for you, but trust me, it's gooooooooood!Read More
Michael Mori on The Devil Inside
The Devil Inside tells the story of a bottle, inside which is everything you could ever want, yet which can only be sold for less than the price you paid for it. In a Faust-like version of "hot potato", the person who dies while in possession of the bottle has their soul shipped straight to hell. The compelling story by Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Bottle Imp, and it had it world premiere in January at Scottish Opera.Read More
Wallis Giunta & Songbook VI
Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta is getting ready to join the Tapestry Opera team for Songbook VI, the sixth annual concert of new operatic works presented by the emerging artists of Tapestry's New Opera 101 program. Giunta chats about working with Tapestry Opera, and the crucial role new music plays in the careers of opera singers today.Read More
8 contemporary roles to covet
As we creep further into the 2010s, there exists enough new opera to take stock of the 21st-century roles deserving of our attention. Who are the Anne Trueloves, the Captain Veres, the Chiang Ch'ings of today? To help answer those great questions, we offer up 8 delicious roles from operas of this generation.Read More
Go see this: Tap:Ex Metallurgy
Tapestry opera continues its kick-ass 2015/16 season with the latest instalment of Tap:Ex Metallurgy. Tap:Ex is a performance series started by Artistic Director Michael Mori, that is "committed to radically redefining the future of opera." Metallurgy blends opera with punk rock, as Canadian punk band Fucked Up shares the stage with tenor David Pomeroy and mezzo-soprano (and chameleon) Krisztina Szabó.Read More
Talking with directors: opera's Marvel
American stage director James Marvel's work has taken him across the United States and Canada (including the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and Opera on the Avalon), not to mention gigs in South Africa, Belgium, Italy, Chile, Poland and South Korea. In 2014 he started Marvel Arts Management, which has a roster of seven directors, four conductors, and four designers.Read More
In review: M'dea Undone
I went with Greg last night to see M'dea Undone, Tapestry Opera's much-anticipated world premiere by composer John Harris and librettist Marjorie Chan. The short version of this review is that I loved, loved it, and it was one of the most integrated nights out at the opera I'd experienced.Read More
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