Skip to main content

The COC's Stunning Tristan & Isolde with Peter Sellars, Bill Viola (Video) & Ben Heppner Jan 29 to Feb 23 2012

From a media release - tix already 90% sold as I post this!

legendary director peter SELLARS AND renowned video artist bill viola make coc debuts with awe-inspiring production of
wagner’s tristan und isolde
CELEBRATED CANADIAN TENOR BEN HEPPNER MAKES HIGHLY ANTICIPATED RETURN TO COC MAINSTAGE IN A SIGNATURE ROLE

• January 29, February 2, 8, 14, 17, 20 and 23, 2013
Tickets available here

Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company opens its winter season with one of music history’s most influential works, Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.  The COC’s 2013 presentation of Tristan und Isolde marks legendary director Peter Sellars’ company debut and the first time his original, awe-inspiring production has appeared in North America.  This multi-sensory experience features video imagery by internationally renowned video artist Bill Viola, who “has come up with an image of the scale and scope, grandeur and immensity, and genuine transcendence that Wagner was imagining,” says Sellars.  COC Music Director Johannes Debus, who conducts his first production of Tristan und Isolde, leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus through Wagner’s epic masterpiece as well as an acclaimed cast led by celebrated Canadian tenor Ben Heppner in a role for which critics have hailed him as “the great Tristan of this generation” (Associated Press).  Last seen at the COC in 1987, Tristan und Isolde returns for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on January 29, February 2, 8, 14, 17, 20 and 23, 2013, and is sung in German with English SURTITLES™.

The COC’s Tristan und Isolde is the first time Sellars’ production has been performed by an opera company other than Opéra national de Paris, since its premiere in 2005.  The design features a 40-foot-wide screen suspended above and behind a somberly lit space, featuring only a square platform for a set piece.  Accompanied by video, singers have minimal staging as they project the emotional depth of the piece through their voices.

Renowned theatre, opera and festival director Peter Sellars is one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the performing arts in the world, and he makes his COC debut with this production of Tristan und Isolde.  Following his iconic stagings of Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte in the 1980s, Sellars established a reputation for unique stagings of classic and contemporary operas, and has directed productions for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival, Netherlands Opera, Opéra national de Paris, Salzburg Festival, San Francisco Opera and Metropolitan Opera, among others.

Bill Viola is internationally recognized as one of today’s leading artists, and has been instrumental in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art.  The video imagery he has created for this production provides literal, metaphorical and spiritual complements to the tragic love between Tristan and Isolde.

COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his first production of Tristan und Isolde when he leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus.  Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde premiered in 1865 in Munich and is considered to be one the most revolutionary and influential works in music history due to Wagner’s use of tonality, orchestral colour and harmonic suspension.  Wagner raised the union of music and drama to new heights with Tristan und Isolde with the sheer power and passion of its score. 

Based on the tragic medieval tale of two lovers fated to share a forbidden but undying love, Tristan und Isolde features two of the most strenuous roles in all of opera.  The title characters must sing above a 100-piece orchestra with vocal power and tonal brilliance, and possess the sheer stamina required to sing these roles over four hours of musical performance.  At any given time, there are only a handful of singers in the world who are able to meet all the challenges of these two roles.

The COC’s Tristan und Isolde marks tenor Ben Heppner’s long-awaited return to the company’s mainstage, having last appeared in a COC production in 1996’s Pagliacci.  Excelling in some of the repertoire’s most challenging roles, Heppner is acclaimed worldwide for his beautiful voice, intelligent musicianship and sparkling dramatic sense.  In the role of Tristan, he’s been praised for his “utter honesty and visceral power” (New York Times) and called “the finest Tristan since Vickers” (Fanfare).  Singing opposite Heppner is a German soprano known for her mastery of the Mozart, Strauss and Wagner repertoire, Melanie Diener, in her COC debut as Isolde.  Cited for her “genuine transcendence” (The Guardian) and “beaming, youthful Wagner voice” (Opera Today), Diener has collaborated with many of the major orchestras and conductors of today, is a frequent performer at the prestigious Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals and has been heard at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra national de Paris and the Vienna and Berlin state operas, among others.

Sharing the title roles with Heppner and Diener for two performances (February 8 and 23) are German tenor Michael Baba and American soprano Margaret Jane Wray.  Baba makes his COC debut as Tristan.  His wide operatic repertoire, ranging from Mozart to Wagner, has created a great deal of demand for his voice.  He has performed throughout Germany, Austria, the United States and Japan, and recently gave his debut performance as Tristan at Salzburg’s Landestheater.  Wray is an award-winning dramatic soprano known for her interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner, and has performed at the world’s major opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Berlin State Opera, and Opéra national de Paris.

Matching this acclaimed principal cast is an equally strong and renowned supporting roster of singers.  German bass Franz-Josef Selig has established himself on the international arena as one of the world’s most sought-after basses.  He makes his COC debut as King Marke of Cornwall, the man betrayed by Tristan and Isolde’s love affair.  The role of Isolde’s maid, Brangäne, is sung by Greek-American mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas, winner of the 2008 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and hailed for her “capacious power” and “a voice lustrous and exciting” (San Francisco Chronicle).   American bass-baritone Alan Held, a “commanding figure both vocally and dramatically” (Globe and Mail) and who was noted as “on his own is worth the price of admission” (Toronto Star) for his star turn in the COC’s double-bill production of A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi last spring, returns as Tristan’s servant, Kurwenal.  American bass-baritone Ryan McKinney, praised for his “elegant and articulate” vocalism (OC Register) and powerful voice that “drips with gold” (Opera News), is the courtier Melot.  Rising young artists and Ensemble Studio graduates bass Robert Gleadow and tenor Adam Luther return as the Steersman and the Sailor/Shepherd, respectively.

The COC’s Tristan und Isolde is a production from Opéra national de Paris.  Tony-Award winning designer the late Martin Pakledinaz created the costumes.  James F. Ingalls, who has worked extensively in theatre, opera and ballet and frequently with Sellars, designed the lighting.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Film News - imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

Hot Off the Presses:
(and gosh, doesn't that expression sound quaint these days?)

imagineNATIVE’s EMBARGO COLLECTIVE
to have its European Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2010
(Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 11.-21.02.10)

(Toronto, February 3rd, 2010) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is pleased to announce the official selection of the festival’s Embargo Collective programme for the Forum Expanded section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. This programme of works was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE festival for its 10th anniversary and will have its European premiere Monday, February 15th, 8.30pm at Cinema Arsenal 2 and a repeat screening Wednesday, February 17th, 4pm at CinemaxX 6.

Curated by imagineNATIVE’s Artistic Director Danis Goulet, the Embargo Collective is an international group of seven Indigenous artists at the forefront of the changing global landscape of Indigenous cinema. Inspired by Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructi…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Guitar Rock | Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds Independent: May 31, 2019

Guitar Rock
Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds
Independent: May 31, 2019
Stream/Buy on Bandcamp
Stream it on Spotify

With tight musicians and intriguing lyrics, Happy Freuds delivers high energy guitar rock with stylistic flair on Echo Of Sounds, their debut release. Produced with a minimum of overdubs or fixes, the album consists of a mix of original material, rearrangements of works from others and selected, less known, classic rock.

A kinetic rhythm section is the bones of the music, offering interesting patterns that augment sometimes unexpected harmonic changes. It's brainy rock, in other words, meant for music lovers who can appreciate the quality. Teo's vocals are raspy and expressive, growly when necessary - perfect for the musical mode. Teo also covers lead guitar, adapt at ear worm leads, with a tone that can be clean or dirty as required

Their sound ranges from straight up hard rock in tracks like The Mountain to the pop-flavoured acoustic Background Noise and folky To …