Estonia counts more from its diaspora in Toronto than anywhere else in the world, and in the 100th year of the country's independence, Estonia sends some of its finest musicians to collaborate with artists in Toronto.
The opera by composer Stewart Copeland and librettist Jonathan Moore is based on the novel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, "La invención de Morel". An escaped fugitive ends up on a strange island, falls in love, is abandoned, and begins to unravel before meeting the mad scientist Morel.
It's an exciting step for the program, which focuses on the interpretation of art song. It's a place where voice lessons, coachings, and studio work between pianist and singer are distilled into the performing of song repertoire - a refreshing bit of clarity in the craft of communicating music and text to an audience.
It's a way of giving back to the kind folks who support our Patreon campaign; and if you want to win some of our merchandise, or even a ticket to a show with the folks of Schmopera, head over to our Patreon page to find out how to make yourself eligible.
I'm an alumna of SongFest, and I can vouch for the program's extraordinarily dense and empowering training environment. It's a special chance to work, often one-on-one, with figures who represent the contemporary industry. It can be a career-making encounter, no doubt.
"Opera transforms how we perceive the world and, in our 18/19 season, we're challenging ourselves and our audience to look at a fundamental human experience — love — through an unexpected array of works that has the capacity to reshape how we understand our hearts and minds," said Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef via press release.
"One of the things I love most about music is the undeniable connections between different genres," says Amanda Smith, FAWN Founding Artistic Director & Resident Stage Director. " I’ve always listened to electronic music with a similar ear as I do with classical and my experience as a listener is often comparable – so many intricate musical layers and visuals to explore."
The programme is a fantastic mix of top-shelf art song by Poulenc, Schubert, Zemlinsky, Marx, Turina, and Berg, alongside works by SongFest featured composers Tom Cipullo and Jake Heggie. Plus, there are a few tastes of the artists' operatic work, including the delicious final trio from Der Rosenkavalier.
Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat is re-imagined by First Nations choreographer Aria Evans "through a truly Canadian lens"; and mezzo-soprano Rebecca Cuddy sings the new orchestral song cycle by Ian Cusson, Five Orchestra Songs, based on Métis poet Marilyn Dumont's A Really Good Brown Girl. The song cycle is directed by Tapestry Opera Artistic Director Michael Mori.
Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2015 and retired from the opera world in 2016. The world will miss him.