Opera from another angle

Recent Posts

  • Patrick Lange: Conducting Madama Butterfly
  • Talking with singers: Elizabeth DeShong
  • Schmoperanation!
  • In review: Madama Butterfly
  • On Pianists, Those Vicarious Opera Singers
October 20, 2014 0

Patrick Lange: Conducting Madama Butterfly


I had the chance to sit down with maestro Patrick Lange, currently in town to conduct Madama Butterfly at the Canadian Opera Company. The Berlin-based conductor is in the middle of the twelve-show run featuring two different casts, and he still found time to do things like run in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and answer some of my questions….

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October 20, 2014 0

Talking with singers: Elizabeth DeShong

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American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong is currently in Toronto, singing a whopping twelve performances of Suzuki in the COC’s Madama Butterfly. I asked her about singing, about listening onstage, and roles she’d love to sing. Photo: Kristin Hoebermann. Why do you sing? I’ll borrow the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, and say, “Singing has always seemed to me…

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October 18, 2014 0



So, I went to this year’s Operanation and I had a blast. There were bright beehive wigs, Calvin Klein underwear models, the fab Keith Cole and his walking flash mob, and of course some awesome music by Yelle, DJ Phil & DJ Cozmic Cat, joined by the guests of honour, the COC Ensemble Studio. I…

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October 16, 2014 0

In review: Madama Butterfly

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This is another guest review by the thoughtful Greg Finney. To read more of his stuff, click here. All photos by Michael Cooper. On Wednesday, October 15th I made my way on over the Four Seasons Centre at University and Queen Street West to check out the Canadian Opera Company‘s production of Madama Butterfly by Giacomo…

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October 14, 2014 0

On Pianists, Those Vicarious Opera Singers


I remember working with a class of first year voice students a few years ago; I saw them all individually (totally a bad idea, switched to masterclass format the next year), and I got the sense that for a majority of these students, they were working with a vocal coach for the first time. One…

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October 12, 2014 0

Falstaff: He said/She said

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Greg and I went together to the COC’s current production of Verdi’s Falstaff, starring the cream of the Canadian crop. We decided to combine forces and write a joint review. Who loved what? Read on to see. All photo credits: Michael Cooper. On the singing Jenna: Canadian favourite Gerald Finley in the title role was a utter pro, something…

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October 10, 2014 0

In review: A Shropshire Lad


I went to another installation of the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, to hear COC Ensemble members Iain MacNeil and Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure sing. The program was two sets of song by English composers: George Butterworth‘s Six Songs from a Shropshire Lad and Ivor Gurney‘s Ludlow and Teme, both with texts from the 63 poems…

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October 7, 2014 0

The Microphone Question

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The other day I was presented with one of those artistic conundrums that’s so simple it rarely occurs to me: the question of using microphones in live opera. If you’re an opera lover, your nose probably just scrunched up a little bit at the thought of Violetta sporting a headset mic. I’ll make it known…

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October 6, 2014 0

Opera: the Inside Job

Dangerous mole in molehill, showing claws and teeth

When I started Schmopera, I started checking out how the “pros” do this blogging thing. What were they saying, and how? Were they talking about artists, concerts, recordings? Were they spreading the word about shows to see? Were they publishing profiles and reviews of artists? Were they vouching for the arts and bringing awareness to…

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October 5, 2014 0

Colin Mochrie, Russell Braun and Operagrams


Ok, so a friend of mine showed me this video: It’s absolutely Colin Mochrie lip-syncing to the voice of Russell Braun in a clip from Burnt Toast, an eight-part coming opera made for television 2006 (CBC, Bravo!). The music is by Alexina Louie, with text by Dan Redican, and the series features some of Canada’s best voices,…

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