With Ensemble Caprice conducted by Matthias Maute & l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal conducted by Vincent de Kort
In honour of Remembrance Day and the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, Canadian composer Jaap Nico Hamburger presents Chamber Symphonies Nos.1 & 2, featuring Ensemble Caprice and l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal. The album will be released November 6, 2020 on the Canadian label, Leaf Music. While confronting serious and challenging themes, these two new works for chamber orchestra are imbued with hope and optimism.
Chamber Symphony No. 1 “Remember to Forget” is performed by Ensemble Caprice under the direction ofMatthias Maute. “Remember to Forget,” a phrase from the Tenach or Old Testament, alludes to the notion that doubt (“I should have”/”I could have”), as opposed to being critical (“Where can I improve?”) is inherently self-destructive. Inspired by the biography of György Ligeti (1923-2006), “Remember to Forget” is a tone poem, using the colours and structures of sound to tell the story. Ligeti’s own musical influences stretch back to the 15th century and polyphony, from folk inspirations to chromaticism through to jazz and polyrhythms. (Ligeti is perhaps best known for his soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey.) “Remember to Forget” is a metaphor of a train journey, moving from youth to catastrophe, through survival to rebuilding and finally, forgiveness.
Chamber Symphony No. 2 “Children’s War Diaries”is performed byl’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal under the direction ofVincent de Kortand was recorded at the “Violins of Hope” concert at Maison symphonique de Montréal in November of 2019. The workwas inspired by the diaries of five teenagers murdered during the Second World War. Twenty years after he had read these diaries, the composer’s 89-year-old mother, Jannie Moffie-Bolle, published her own autobiography “Een hemel zonder vogels” (“A sky without birds”). She too was a teenager at the outbreak of the war in Europe and the book describes her experience in multiple Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 2010, Jaap travelled with her to Israel on the occasion of the presentation of her book at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem, and it was the Children’s Memorial there – uniquely sobering in its memorial to 1.5 million murdered children which represented approximately 95% of all Jewish children in occupied Europe at the time – inspired the piece. Overwhelmed by the starkness of the Memorial, Jaap left the building and stepped into the blazing Jerusalem sunlight, where the contours of the new symphonic work came to mind, virtually complete.
This album follows the August 2020 release of Jaap Nico Hamburger: Piano Concerto, alsoon Leaf Music.
Jaap Nico Hamburger is Composer in Residence with Mécénat Musica in Montreal. His compositions include commissions from Turning Point Ensemble, Ensemble Caprice, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, and an original contribution for the project 400 years of Dutch Keyboard Music. He was recently commissioned by the Dutch Government and the United Nations’ International Court of Justice to compose a new concerto for harp and orchestra, to be premiered by Lavinia Meijer and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2021. Other commissions include works for Discovery Channel, and broadcasting companies in the UK and the Netherlands. He is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer, and President and CEO of Orange Music Inc., a Vancouver music production company. Born in Amsterdam, Hamburger began his musical education at the age of three, and studied piano with Ruben Lifschitz, Alexandre Hrisanide and Youri Egorov. He graduated from the Royal Sweelinck Conservatorium of Music in Amsterdam, with a soloist degree in piano. He has lived in Canada since August 2000.
Since its founding by Matthias Maute three decades ago, Ensemble Caprice has become one of the most sought-after ensembles on the classical music scene, known for its innovative programming and vibrant, compelling performances. In a 2009 full article, The New York Times praised the ensemble as a progressive force on the contemporary musical scene. ensemblecaprice.com
Conductor Matthias Maute has gained an international reputation as one of the great recorder and baroque flute virtuosos of his generation, as well as for his work as a composer and conductor. As artistic director and conductor of Ensemble Caprice, Maute tours around the globe. matthiasmaute.com
One of Quebec’s leading cultural ambassadors, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal was founded in 1981. For more than 20 years, the OM has grown alongside its artistic director and principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, whose career continues to reach new heights. orchestremetropolitain.com
Netherlands-born conductor Vincent de Kort is highly in demand as a symphonic and opera conductor. Recently he made successful debuts at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as well as at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, invited by Valery Gergiev. He is a regular guest at the opera houses of Dresden, Stockholm, Edinburgh, Leipzig, Tokyo, Vienna, among others. vincentdekort.com
THE NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF CANADALAUNCHES COMPREHENSIVE VIRTUAL SEASON
in its 61st year as Canada’s Premiere Orchestral Training Institute
Last spring, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada) joined the rest of the nation – and the world – in struggling to meet the new realities of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the many challenges, NYO Canada was determined not to let down the deserving and gifted young musicians who had worked so hard to earn a place for its 60th anniversary season and international tour. In just a few short weeks, NYO launched a successful 45-day online musical training and professional development session, providing a much-needed lifeline for these newly-isolated young musicians. Now, for its 61st season, NYO Canada is poised to launch a comprehensive “cancel-proof” training institute, with expanded programs, scholarships for all, and masterclasses with international marquee artists – while preparing musicians to be performance-ready, as soon as it is possible to reunite in person.
“With uncertainty around the virus set to continue well into 2021, we have been hard at work reimagining the future,” comments Barbara Smith, President and CEO of the National Youth Orchestra Canada, “Rather than taking a step back, we are innovating and growing forward, developing an unsurpassed online program to become a core element of our training long into the future. Our goal is to galvanize our young musicians to be better prepared than ever to ‘shoot out of the gate’ as Canada’s next-generation of orchestral music leaders, when the pandemic is behind us.”
NYO’s 2021 virtual training institute will be comprised of workshops, masterclasses with international luminaries, a vastly expanded mental performance and mindfulness skills program, online performances, business skills development, recordings, and more. And, for this exceptional year, NYO is expanding membership from 92 up to 140 musicians, offering more opportunities to more talented young performers.
SCHOLARSHIPS, AWARDS & SPECIAL EQUIPMENT
In addition to free tuition, each NYO Canada musician receives a $1,000 scholarship, and each has the chance to compete for 10 new Awards of Excellence of $5,000 each. These awards are in addition to the annual Michael Measures Prizes ($25,000 and $15,000 for First and Second Prizes), in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts. Microphones for use during the session will be provided free to all musicians who need them, with faculty also receiving training and support to create an optimal online teaching environment.
With online instruction now opening unlimited geographical possibilities, NYO has assembled an extraordinary international faculty for 2021, joining our illustrious core faculty in Canada. These musical luminaries from prestigious schools and orchestras around the world include: Andrew Wan, violinist and Concertmaster of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal; Stephen Rose, head of the violin department at the Cleveland Institute of Music and principal second violin of the Cleveland Orchestra; Atar Arad, viola faculty at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University; Violist Harmut Rohde, founding member of the Mozart Piano Quartet and faculty at the Universität der Künste Berlin; Peter Wiley, cello faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music; Timothy Pitts, professor of double bass at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music; Hans Jørgen Jensen, professor of cello at Northwestern University; Elaine Douvas, principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and instructor at The Juilliard School; Yehuda Gilad, clarinet faculty at the Colburn School in Los Angeles; Benjamin Kamins, bassoon faculty at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music; Sarah Willis, the first-ever female horn player with the Berlin Philharmonic; Roger Bobo, tuba and low brass instructor at the Musashino School of Music in Tokyo; Mariko Anraku, Associate Principal Harp of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Jauvon Gilliam, principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra; and Anneleen Lenearts, solo harpist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Additional faculty to be announced; artists are subject to change.
MENTAL HEALTH AND MINDFULNESS
Since launching the three-year J & W Murphy Initiative in Mental Health pilot-project (2018-2020), NYO Canada has already become a world leader in musician mental health, among both training and professional orchestras. The onset of the pandemic has reinforced the need for ongoing mental health and wellness support, which has been endorsed unanimously by NYO musicians. NYO is thrilled to have secured support from the J & W Murphy Foundation for an expanded program, including custom-designed one-on-one high-performance focus training, and mindfulness and meditation support. NYO faculty for these initiatives include Matt Eldridge, social worker and former Cirque du Soleil performer; Dr. Sommer Christie, a consultant to Olympic athletes, surgeons, and performers in mental skills training; Carolyn Christie, former flautist with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and a specialist in teaching mental skills to musicians; and Dr. John McMillan, Associate Physician at Musicians’ Clinics of Canada.
MORE LESSONS, MORE WORKSHOPS, AND PERFORMANCES
Musicians will benefit from triple the number of individual lessons. Additional workshops will include audio capture, video production, online marketing, earning royalties, and how to use social media as an artistic medium. The work of the training institute will flow into a series of online public performances, which will be accessible not only to Canadian audiences, but to orchestral music lovers around the world.
FLEXIBLE AND READY TO PERFORM IN PERSON
While ramping-up its online capacity in 2021, NYO Canada is remaining at the ready, guarding the possibility of in-person study and performance when public health allows. As soon as we are able meet again in person to experience the magic of live performance, NYO Canada’s musicians will be ready to tour in small groups, possibly as one or two small orchestras, regionally or nationally. Post Covid-19, the NYO experience will extend over a longer period, blending its online training institute with the in-person session and tour, creating a more robust, hybrid NYO Canada in the years ahead.
NYO Canada is grateful to the RBC Foundation, stepping forward as the Digital Innovation and Development partner, the J & W Murphy Foundation, for supporting the mental health and performance focus components, our generous government supporters from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ontario Arts Council, and the many individuals, foundations and corporations who have continued and even advanced their support during these uncertain times.
Applications for NYO 2021, are open starting November 1st through to January 1st.Visit nyoc.org/auditions for more information.
The National Youth Orchestra of Canada(NYO Canada), has enjoyed an iconic reputation as Canada’s orchestral finishing school, providing the most comprehensive and in-depth training program available to the country’s best young classical musicians. Each summer, 100 gifted musicians between the ages of 16 and 28 come together to attend an intensive training institute followed by a national and international tour. NYO Canada discovers and inspires well-rounded and skilled orchestral musicians, supporting Canadian emerging composers and artists, and building an appreciation for classical music among audiences in every corner of the nation. NYO Canada has performed in every major Canadian city and has travelled to 12 countries across Europe and Asia. Today, one-third of Canada’s professional orchestral musicians are alumni of NYO Canada. The orchestra is the subject of “That Higher Level” (2018), feature-length documentary from the National Film Board of Canada.
L’ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DES JEUNES DU CANADALANCE UNE SAISON VIRTUELLE COMPLÈTE
en sa 61e année en tant qu’institut de formation orchestrale prééminent au Canada
Le printemps dernier, l’Orchestre national des jeunes du Canada (NYO Canada) s’est joint au reste du pays, et au monde entier, pour affronter la nouvelle réalité présentée par la pandémie de la Covid-19. Malgré une multitude de défis, NYO Canada était déterminé à ne pas décevoir les jeunes musiciens méritoires qui avaient travaillé si fort pour remporter un poste dans le cadre de sa saison et de sa tournée internationale du soixantième anniversaire. En quelques semaines seulement, NYO a réussi à lancer un programme en ligne de 45 jours, couronnée de succès, englobant formation musicale et ateliers de perfectionnement professionnel. Le programme a constitué une véritable bouée de sauvetage pour ces jeunes musiciennes et musiciens récemment isolés. Actuellement en sa 61e saison, NYO Canada s’apprête à lancer un institut de formation complet « à l’épreuve de annulations » avec des programmes élargis, des bourses pour tous et des ateliers de maître présentés par des artistes de renommée internationale, tout cela en préparant nos musiciens à être prêts à se produire, dès qu’il sera possible de se réunir en personne.
« Comme nous prévoyons que l’incertitude liée au coronavirus continuera de nous hanter en 2021, nous travaillons fort pour imaginer l’avenir, explique Barbara Smith, présidente et chef de la direction de l’Orchestre national des jeunes du Canada. Au lieu de prendre du recul, nous innovons et avançons en grandissant. Nous créons un programme en ligne inégalé qui deviendra l’un des importants piliers d’un avenir que nous imaginons déjà. Notre objectif est de galvaniser nos musiciens afin qu’ils soient plus prêts que jamais à se lancer en grand en vue de devenir la prochaine génération d’étoiles de la musique orchestrale au Canada, une fois que la pandémie sera devenue chose du passé. »
L’institut de formation virtuel 2021 de NYO sera composé d’ateliers, de cours de maître présentés par de grands noms à l’échelle internationale, d’un programme de performance mentale et de pleine conscience grandement élargi, de prestations en ligne, d’ateliers sur le perfectionnement d’aptitudes commerciales, d’enregistrements, et plus encore. Et pour marquer cette année exceptionnelle, NYO élargit son orchestre de 92 à 140 musiciennes et musiciens, offrant encore plus d’occasions de briller à encore plus de jeunes artistes doués.
BOURSES, PRIX ET ÉQUIPEMENT SPÉCIAL
En plus de profiter de l’expérience de NYO Canada sans frais de scolarité, chaque musicien reçoit une bourse de 1 000 $ et a la chance de concourir pour remporter l’un des six nouveaux prix d’excellence de 5 000 $ chacun. Ces prix s’ajoutent aux prix Michael-Measures annuels (de 25 000 $ et 15 000 $ pour le premier et le deuxième prix, respectivement), dans le cadre d’un partenariat avec le Conseil des arts du Canada. Des microphones à utiliser pendant la formation seront fournis gratuitement à ceux et celles qui en ont besoin, et nos enseignants recevront de plus de la formation et de l’appui pour créer un environnement optimal pour la formation en ligne.
ATELIERS DE MAÎTRE INTERNATIONAUX
Les cours en ligne éliminant maintenant tous les obstacles imposés par l’éloignement géographique, NYO a rassemblé pour 2021 un corps enseignant à l’échelle internationale qui se joint à nos enseignants ici même au Canada. Ces grands noms de la musique, nous venant d’écoles prestigieuses et de grands orchestres de partout au monde, englobent : Andrew Wan, violoniste et premier violon de l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Stephen Rose, chef du département du violon du Cleveland Institute of Music et second violon solo du Cleveland Orchestra, Atar Arad, faculté d’alto de la Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, l’altiste Harmut Rohde, membre fondateur du Mozart Piano Quartet et membre du corps enseignant de l’Universität der Künste Berlin, Peter Wiley, faculté de violoncelle du Curtis Institute of Music, Timothy Pitts, professeur de contrebasse à la Shepherd School of Music de l’université Rice; Hans Jørgen Jensen, professeur de violoncelle à l’université Northwestern, Elaine Douvas, hautbois solo du Metropolitan Opera Orchestra et instructrice à la Juilliard School, Yehuda Gilad, faculté de clarinette à la Colburn School de Los Angeles, Benjamin Kamins, faculté de basson à la Shepherd School of Music de l’université Rice, Sarah Willis, premier cor auprès du Berlin Philharmonic, Roger Bobo, instructeur en tuba et en cuivres graves à la Musashino School of Music de Tokyo, Mariko Anraku, harpe solo associée au Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Jauvon Gilliam, timbalier solo du National Symphony Orchestra et Anneleen Lenearts, harpe solo du Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
D’autres enseignants seront annoncés; les artistes peuvent changer.
SANTÉ MENTALE ET PLEINE CONSCIENCE
Depuis le lancement du projet-pilote de trois ans Initiative J & W Murphy en santé mentale (2018-2020), NYO Canada est déjà devenu un chef de file mondial en santé mentale des musiciens, autant parmi les orchestres de formation que les orchestres professionnels. L’arrivée de la pandémie a souligné encore davantage le besoin pour un soutien permanent à la santé mentale et au bien-être mental, une exigence que les musiciennes et musiciens de NYO ont corroborée d’une même voix. NYO est emballé d’avoir gagné le soutien de la J & W Murphy Foundation pour un programme élargiincluant des formations individuelles personnalisées en entraînement de pointe et du soutien à la pleine conscience et à la méditation. Les enseignants de NYO pour ces initiatives incluront Matt Eldridge, travailleur social et ancien artiste au Cirque du Soleil, Sommer Christie, conseillère en aptitudes mentales auprès d’athlètes olympiques, de chirurgiens et d’artistes, Carolyn Christie, ancienne flûtiste à l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal et spécialiste en enseignement d’aptitudes mentales aux musiciens et DrJohn McMillan, médecin associé à la Musicians’ Clinics of Canada.
ENCORE PLUS DE COURS, D’ATELIERS ET DE PRESTATIONS
Les musiciennes et musiciens de NYO profiteront de trois fois plus de cours individuels. Parmi les ateliers additionnels, mentionnons la saisie audio, la réalisation vidéo, le marketing en ligne, percevoir vos redevances, et comment utiliser les médias sociaux comme médium artistique. Le travail effectué pendant l’institut de formation mènera à une série de prestations publiques en ligne qui seront accessible aux publics canadiens, bien sûr, mais aussi aux mélomanes du monde entier.
TOUJOURS SOUPLES ET PRÊTS À APPRENDRE ET À NOUS PRODUIRE EN PERSONNE
Nous nous préparons à développer nos initiatives en ligne en 2021, mais NYO demeure prêt aux études et prestations en personne dès que la santé publique les permettra. Dès que nous pourrons de nouveau nous rassembler en personne pour vivre la magie des concerts en direct, les musiciennes et musiciens de NYO Canada seront prêts à partir en tournée en petits groupes, possiblement sous forme d’un ou de deux petits orchestres, et à se produire à l’échelle régionale ou nationale. Après la Covid-19, l’expérience de NYO durera plus longtemps, associant son institut de formation en ligne à des séances en personne et à une tournée afin de créer un NYO hybride, encore plus robuste, pour des années à venir.
NYO Canada exprime sa gratitude à la Fondation RBC qui devient notre partenaire en innovation et développement numériques, à la J & W Murphy Foundation pour son appui à la santé mentale et à l’entraînement de pointe, à nos généreux bailleurs de fonds gouvernementaux du ministère du Patrimoine canadien et du Conseil des arts de l’Ontario, ainsi qu’aux nombreux particuliers, fondations et sociétés qui ont poursuivi ou même augmenté leur appui pendant ces moments remplis d’incertitude.
L’Orchestre national des jeunes du Canada(NYO Canada) jouit d’une réputation stellaire à titre d’école de préparation orchestrale au Canada, et offre aux meilleurs jeunes musiciens classiques du pays le programme de formation le plus complet et le plus approfondi. Chaque été, 100 musiciennes et musiciens doués, de 16 à 28 ans, se rassemblent pour participer à un institut de formation intensive suivi d’une tournée nationale et internationale. NYO Canada dévoile et inspire des musiciens d’orchestre accomplis et habiles, appuie les compositeurs et artistes canadiens en émergence et stimule de l’intérêt à l’égard de la musique classique chez les publics des quatre coins du pays. NYO Canada s’est produit dans toutes les grandes villes canadiennes et s’est rendu dans 12 pays d’Europe et d’Asie. Aujourd’hui, un tiers des musiciens d’orchestre professionnels au Canada sont des anciens et anciennes de NYO Canada. L’orchestre est mis en vedette dans le long métrage documentaire « Le plus haut niveau » (2018) de l’Office national du film du Canada.
Opera McGill marks 60 incredible years of training, mentoring, and nurturing young artists with a celebratory season featuring Handel’s magical Alcina at Pollack Hall, a glittering Die Fledermaus at the Monument National, and an innovative Opera Binge Festival featuring no less than seven one-act operas in 24 hours at multiple venues. This season also marks the 10th anniversary of Patrick Hansen’s tenure as Director of Opera McGill. Remarkably, Hansen is only the third director in the acclaimed program’s 60-year history, following his predecessor Dixie Ross-Neill and founding directors Edith and Luciano Della Pergola.
“This season we delight in celebrating our past, present and future with Handel, Johann Strauss, and several modern operas, including a North America premiere,” comments Patrick Hansen, continuing, “Opera McGill has much to be proud of after 60 years, with its impressive track record of helping to transform talented young singers into artists on the world’s great stages.”
Indeed, Opera McGill alumni may be found everywhere in the world of opera – from all of the major artist training programs in Canada, and many in the US – to the great opera stages of the world. Along with superstar singers like bass-baritone Gordon Bintner (Canadian Opera Company); soprano Tracy Cantin (Chicago Lyric Opera); and mezzo soprano Rihab Chaieb (Metropolitan Opera), to name just a few, Opera McGill grads are forging their place in the worlds of musical direction, like Michael Shannon, a coach at San Francisco’s Merola program; and Jordan de Souza, the new Head of Music at Berlin’s Komische Oper.
The season opens with Handel’s Alcina, continuing Opera McGill’s annual tradition of presenting a Baroque opera in collaboration with the Schulich School of Music’s Early Music Area. In celebration of his 10th anniversary, Patrick Hansen remounts his striking 2008 production, with sets by Vincent Lefèvre, costumes by Ginette Grenier, lighting by Serge Filiatrault, and makeup by Florence Cornet, who are the design team of Opera McGill. Set in a mystical world of knights and sorcerers, love and magic, Alcina, which premiered in 1735, features some of Handel’s most magnificent writing. Hank Knox conducts the McGill Baroque Orchestra in performances on November 5 and 7 at 7:30 pm and November 6 at 2:00 pm, all at Pollack Hall. (Performances on November 6 and 7 will also be webcast.)
In conjunction with the opening of Alcina, Opera McGill is throwing open the Wirth Opera Studio doors for a Homecoming event on Saturday, November 5. The alumni reunion – welcoming singers, pianists, orchestra members, directors, stage managers, designers, patrons, faculty or staff – features a full day of symposia, masterclasses, and receptions, leading up to the opening night of Alcina. The day includes an Entrepreneurship Symposium with alumni panelists, a masterclass with David Lefkowich (who will be in Montreal directing Don Giovanni at Opéra de Montréal), and more.
On March 10 and 11, Opera McGill invites audiences to indulge in the Lisl Wirth Black Box Opera Binge Festival, a deliciously packed day – and two evenings – of opera in multiple venues around Montreal. Early operas include Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Mozart’s comic delight The Impresario, in a premiere adaptation by Patrick Hansen. Massenet’s Romantic Le portrait de Manon is paired with Ravel’s L’heure espagnole. A lively addition to the day is the children’s opera by Malcolm Fox, Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing. The day culminates at Théatre Paradoxe, with a double bill of Bartók’s Bluebeard Castle and the North American premiere of East o’the Sun, West o’the Moon by James Garner. Opera McGill’s Opera Binge Festival will undoubtedly satisfy the opera aficionado, neophyte, and opera-curious!
Opera McGill 2016/17 Season
ALCINAGEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL
NOVEMBER 5 AND 7, 2016 7:30 p.m. $30 / $20 POLLACK HALL
NOVEMBER 6, 2016 2:00 p.m. $30 / $20 POLLACK HALL
Hank Knox, conductor; Patrick Hansen, stage director; McGill Baroque Orchestra
In collaboration with the Early Music Area
DIE FLEDERMAUSJOHANN STRAUSS II
JANUARY 26 TO 28, 2017 7:30 p.m. $40 / $35 / $20
MONUMENT-NATIONAL: LUDGER-DUVERNAY HALL
Patrick Hansen, conductor and stage director; McGill Symphony Orchestra
Lisl Wirth Black Box OPERA BINGE Festival
BINGE FESTIVAL PASS (LIMITED QUANTITY) $65 / $45
MARCH 10, 2017 7:30 p.m. $15 / $10 REDPATH HALL
HENRY PURCELL Dido & Æneas
Stephen Hargreaves, music director; Jessica Derventzis, stage director
MARCH 11, 2017 11:00 a.m. $10 * WIRTH OPERA STUDIO
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART The Impresario (Premiere of a new adaptation by Patrick Hansen)
Jack Olszewski, music director; Patrick Hansen, stage director
* TICKET PRICE INCLUDES COFFEE AND A BAGEL
MARCH 11, 2017 1:00 p.m. $10 / $5 / $20 Family Pass (4) POLLACK HALL
MALCOLM FOX Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing (60-minute interactive opera for kids! Ages 5-12)
Patrick Hansen, music director and stage director
MARCH 11, 2017 3:30 p.m. $25 / $15 CHAPELLE HISTORIQUE DU BON-PASTEUR
JULES MASSENET Le portrait de Manon
MAURICE RAVEL L’heure espagnole
Olivier Godin, music director; Jonathan Patterson, stage director
MARCH 11, 2017 8:00 p.m. $25 / $15 THEATRE PARADOXE
BELA BARTOK A kékszakállú herceg vára (Bluebeard’s Castle)
JAMES GARNER East o’the Sun, West o’the Moon
Stephen Hargreaves, music director; Patrick Hansen, stage director
555 Sherbrooke Street W | In person or by phone: Monday – Friday, noon to 6:00 p.m.
To buy tickets online and for more information please see: www.mcgill.ca/music
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Opera on the Avalon proudly presents the world premiere of Ours, a new opera by Juno-nominated Canadian composer John Estacio with a libretto by Governor General Award-winning playwright Robert Chafe. Opera on the Avalon, led by Artistic Director Cheryl Hickman and based in St. John’s, is Atlantic Canada’s only professional opera company. Opera on the Avalon commissioned Ours to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, a WWI battle which devastated the ranks of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment on July 1, 1916. Internationally-acclaimed baritone Brett Polegato leads an all-Canadian cast of twelve, with full chorus, in the role of Thomas Nangle, chaplain to the Regiment. The singers and orchestra are conducted by Judith Yan with stage direction by Glynis Leyshon and design by Patrick Clark. Ours will be presented in two performances, on July 1 and 2 at 8pm, at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s.
For Hickman, who was born and raised in St. John’s, Ours resonates far beyond the province’s borders, “Our vision is to create a work that will be a legacy for all Canadians, to help us honour the memories of the past and to serve as an inspiration for our future. Newfoundland and Labrador is steeped in history and Opera on the Avalon is dedicated to transforming that history into art.”
Ours was one of only four new Canadian operas invited to present a showcase at this year’s Opera America conference. To hear an excerpt from the beautiful, moving score please click here (begin 35:40).
“Ours” is how the people of the province referred to the Newfoundland Regiment. During the Battle of the Somme, the Regiment’s tragic advance near the French town of Beaumont Hamel on the morning of July 1, 1916 became an enduring symbol of valour and wartime sacrifice – and a cultural memory seared into the hearts of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. In a single morning, the Regiment was almost wiped out. When roll call was taken, only 68 men answered – 324 were killed, or missing and presumed dead, and 386 were wounded. “I am honoured to have the opportunity to tell a story that is of great significance to Newfoundland’s rich history,” comments composer John Estacio, “Ours will be an intimate and personal opera about individuals whose lives were indelibly affected by this battle. Through music and storytelling, I hope to honour the sacrifices made by thousands and celebrate the land they loved and called home.”
This is first opera libretto for St. John’s-based playwright Robert Chafe: “Ours is an attempt to speak to patriotism and nationhood, faith, and family. I think it has resonance beyond any specific discussion of war … it goes to places that examine our human need for meaning, our need to commemorate, and to make sense of those things that are difficult to remember – but can’t be forgotten.”
Ours tracks the social, political, and emotional aftermath of the battle of Beaumont Hamel through the story of Thomas Nangle, whose dedication, sacrifice, and renewal is the human embodiment of Newfoundland’s journey through the war, its horrific aftermath, and its re-emergence as a province of Canada. Nangle was posted as chaplain to the Newfoundland Regiment shortly after Beaumont Hamel and served out the rest of the war with “Ours.” Following the war, he lead efforts to exhume, identify, and properly bury the remains of much of the lost regiment across Europe, then almost single-handedly established the existing five war memorial sites across Europe, as well as the Newfoundland National War Memorial in St. John’s. His hard work didn’t come without personal cost, however, and Nangle, disillusioned, left the priesthood and Newfoundland. Though his legacy stands in stone on two continents, his name – of unparalleled importance in the history of Newfoundland – has all but been lost to popular knowledge. In addition to baritone Brett Polegato as Thomas Nangle, the cast features tenor Roger Honeywell as Archbishop Roche, head of the church in Newfoundland; with mezzo soprano Elizabeth Turnbull as the mother of an underage soldier; and soprano Lara Ciekiewicz as May, the fiancé of a troubled soldier who meets a tragic end.
Today, July 1 remains an official day of remembrance in Newfoundland and Labrador. Coinciding with the world premiere of Ours, Jim Maunder’s art installation “Garden of Tears” will fill the lawns of the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s with over 1,500 forget-me-not flowers.
Founded in 2009 by opera singer Cheryl Hickman, Opera on the Avalon has become an undisputed leader in the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador, with a diverse and innovative repertoire that pushes the boundaries of opera. The company offers emerging artists the opportunity to explore new and established repertoire alongside distinguished artists. This season, Opera on the Avalon also presents Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd on June 17 and 18.
The commission of Ours is generously sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, The Canada Council for the Arts, Commemorate Canada, Telus, the Patten Family Foundation, Cox & Palmer, and Marco.