4 steps to taking (& fixing) notes
4 traits of a great cadenza
A FAQ checklist for opera newbies
All about Brott Opera
Taking place July 12-23rd, 2015, Brott Opera is a brand new program designed to give singers an opportunity to get onstage. Brott Opera is the brainchild of Artistic Director Boris Brott, celebrated conductor and founder of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and Program Director Taras Kulish, bass-baritone and Executive Director of the McGill Chamber Orchestra.Read More
Stuff to see in January
My January concert-going schedule is filling up nicely. I offer up a quick list of stuff I’m seeing this month in Toronto, in the hopes that I’ll see you guys there.Read More
To Dance for Grandma, or the Spontaneity Question
In opera circles, one of the beloved stories of innocent lay-person ignorance is the old chestnut: “Oh you’re an opera singer? Can you sing something for me right now?” The implication of this hypothetical, that it’s utterly ridiculous to ask an opera singer to demonstrate his or her skills, is really telling of characteristics unique to classical musicians. For trained opera singers, the concept of spontaneity is, for some reason, unwelcome.Read More
Opera Australia: hating haters?
Well, it's been a weird week for critics. After opera critic Paolo Isotta, of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, got himself blacklisted from receiving free media tickets from La Scala, new management has lifted his ban. Although Corriere has since decided to refuse free ticket offers from La Scala in the future, Artistic and music directors Alexander Pereira and Riccardo Chailly have said that they won't ban any critics from requesting media seats (including Paolo Isotta). How progressive.Read More
Kira Braun: "I'm happiest when I'm singing."
It’s a good thing that Canadian soprano Kira Braun loves music; growing up in the Braun family could have gotten pretty loud, pretty quickly. Kira spent her life in music; her mother, Eleanor, worked as a professional flautist and her cousins Adi and Russell Braun are well-known names for music-loving Canadians. While she never stopped singing, Kira is newly inspired to find more opportunities to hop onstage.Read More
Tales from the score: Peter Grimes
Benjamin Britten rarely fails to make me marvel at the art of composing opera. I tend to be a sucker for misunderstood protagonists, and Britten writes operas like The Turn of the Screw and Albert Herring with such understanding that it pulls at my heart. Peter Grimes is the story of a fisherman who hires young boys to help him on his boat, and one of those boys has turned up dead; in a small town like The Borough, Peter is left victim to both a trial and a mob of suspicious townsfolk.Read More
Retta, the opera fan
Happy New Year! I’m starting 2015 off light, with a fun opera find out in the world of general media. Did you know actress/comedienne Retta, who plays Donna on Parks and Recreation, trained as an opera singer? She’s still got some decent chops, too, which she showed off to Conan O’Brien in 2012.Watch Video
The dwindling calendar days of the year, the family time, and the potential hangovers tend to bring out our best days of nostalgia. In my case, it’s flipping through the collection of events I’ve had the fortune to attend over 2014, remembering the good, forgiving the bad, and noticing no ugly. In the spirit of wrapping things up, I offer up a list of my most memorable moments of the year. And since he’s contributed to Schmopera with his own sets of expertise over the year, I also asked guest writer Greg Finney to list his 2014 highlights.Read More
Schmopera is One!
Cheers, readers! There's yet another reason to celebrate during this festive season: Schmopera is one year old!Read More
In review: Ah! Mikado!
Last night I went to see Toronto Operetta Theatre‘s production of The Mikado at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Neither Gilbert nor Sullivan show up frequently on my list of must-sees, due to personal taste and perhaps too many earworms (#iamtheverymodelofamodernmajorgeneral). But I had much faith (and a few friends) in the Canadian cast, and I absolutely wasn’t disappointed.Read More