"For the past few years I've been thinking a lot about Canadian culture - or Canadiana - and, more specifically, Saskatchewan culture and identity. I've written two large-scale works in addition to this one that explores this as a premise. I feel I've just started this exploration."
"Although the piece is written for a classical ensemble, I composed using my own sensibility as a writer. Classical music is very much a part of my sound world, and there are similar compositional concepts that cross over into jazz and vice versa. It merely comes down to articulating those ideas on paper."
"It's always a treat writing music for master musicians and I'm thrilled to be in the company of such great composers, but I'm especially honoured to be part of this project, I think it's ambitious and timely and a beautiful tribute to Canada."
"We dreamed of going on a nation-wide tour for our 10th anniversary, and realised that it was not going to be easy to pull off. So we came up with the idea of commissioning a piece that takes us across the country musically. One thing let to another, and we now have a nation-wide tour, and a great added visual dimension, including listeners from all across Canada."
He remembers an early-1990s summer at the Bayreuth Festival, during the creation of the now-famed Harry Kupfer production of the Ring Cycle, conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Antoine and Barenboim's son, David, had renamed all of their He-Man figurines after Wagnerian characters.
"I look at an opera like Gazzetta as a special case for myself and for the POP audience. It's almost certain that no one in the audience will have every seen this opera, and the story is pretty easy to relate to - a father seeking fame and fortune puts his daughter out in public to gain attention for himself - so I feel comfortable keeping the concept pretty 'traditional'."
"Any section can have great harmony as well as tremendous strife. With a change of personnel and myself becoming Principal after twelve years of sitting Third Chair, I hope to usher an era of cooperation, artistic integrity and excellence that my section mates and I desired and can finally have."
"This piece shows us the extremes of real life relationships: friendships, dysfunctional marriages, unrequited love, toxic relationships, marital rape, etc. It explores how humans react differently to emotional and physical abuse, stress and loss. It really does cover a lot of ground for a work which is only 45 minutes or so in length!"
"Because it's such a long process, and because of the intensity of the repertory/festival format at the end, our training regimen is quite intense for the singers. Some come away truly ready to leap forward in their careers; others in the ensemble and smaller roles get a real taste of what it takes to do things well - the tremendous amount of work and commitment required."
"We just had our first work-through, and I'm done; none of those tears are forced, they're just human. In this production, by the time we get to the end, it's set up so that the audience can most relate to Suzuki's journey and reactions. They see everything from her vantage point. She knows how it's all going to end from the moment the Americans enter the house, but stays the course."