There is nothing more Italian than attending the opera. Yes, I may be biased because there is a musical connection, but can you blame a classical nut. Throw in an extravagant runway show at La Scala (in one of the fashion capitals of the world) and we’ve hit the ultimate jackpot.
Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda spring 2017 fashion show expressed absolute perfection. Productions such as The Magic Flute, Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, La Traviata, La Bohéme, and Lucia di Lammermoor came to life as the collection began to present itself on stage. Of course, in true D&G, details shone through such as intricate embroideries, and high-quality materials such as lace.
Giuseppe Verdi took over the men’s collection as models graced the catwalk in top hats, high-collared double-breasted waistcoats, and half-tail coats. My favourite had to be the grey portrait of Verdi that was needle pointed onto a black sweatshirt – just brilliant.
As Mozart turns 261, another TSO festival has begun in honour of the great composer. Starting 2017 with a bang, we had the pleasure of attending “Magnificent Mozart” featuring violinist Kerson Leong and 14 year-old pianist Leonid Nediak. Conductor Peter Oundjian put on his ‘Mozart Hat’ and led with the utmost passion as always.
Kerson Leong with Peter Oundjian (Photo courtesy of Jag Gundu)
Leonid Nediak (Photo courtesy of Jag Gundu)
More performance will follow this month as Mozart @ 261 continues with:
Mozart Prague Symphony
Emanual Ax Plays Mozart
For more information visit tso.ca and celebrate the wonder of Mozart
As we near closer to the premiere of the COC’s latest production of The Magic Flute, another new face will take the stage with beloved soprano Kirsten MacKinnon. Croatian bass Goran Jurić will make his Canadian (as well as North American) debut playing the role of Sarastro.
A character, where many assume a villain from the beginning, Sarastro guides Tamino and Pamina towards the truth, gradually revealing his deep wisdom and great kindness. Juric is no stranger when it comes to performing as the high priest. With a new city and continent to conquer, we chatted with the young and dashing artist on his latest musical venture.
MC: How do you feel about performing for the first time in Canada?
GJ: The dream of every musician is to perform around the world and to meet music lovers from all over. This will be my first appearance in North America and I am so happy to make my debut in Canada, especially Toronto. The Canadian Opera Canada is such an incredible performing institution and I am so honoured to be a part of this cast. Toronto is such a wonderful city – colourful and very hospitable. I love Lake Ontario along with the lights and high-rise buildings which are amazing. You don’t see that in Munich (where I currently live). During the holidays, I was taking the streetcar and loved how the driver was singing along to Christmas songs with other passengers.
MC: In preparation for this role, how did you study Sarastro’s character?
GJ: The Magic Flute was the first opera I sang during my studies at the Croation National Theatre in Zagreb. This performance with the COC will be my seventh production. Each one reveals a new lens where I seek to create a different interpretation of Sarastro while also working with the director and conductor. Even though I have played this role several times, I still refer back to when I first studied his character. You can take on so many approaches, but Mozart’s score, of course, stays the same. When it comes to the story, Mozart does not give you an answer right away if Sarastro is good or bad. The same can be said for the Queen of the Night. It is important to interpret this opera in a variety of contexts in order to understand all of the characters. To me, this is the genius behind Mozart’s music where one can reincarnate themselves when taking the stage every time.
Goran will also be performing a Free Concert Series concert on January 24th titled “Lost in a Russian Forest”.
Three months before his death, Mozart’s last opera, The Magic Flute premiered in Vienna. An opera that needs no introduction, I couldn’t think of a better way to start the new year than by featuring the latest Pamina to grace the Canadian Opera stage this month.
New year, new soprano. Kirsten MacKinnon may only be 25 years but has already captured the attention of audiences across North America and Europe. Opera UK hails her as a “heroine whose poise, expressive singing, excellent vocalism, and dark and full tone auger well for a healthy career ahead”. The Canadian performer will be making her COC debut playing the infamous character.
MC: In preparing for this role, what others artists do you look to for inspiration who, too, have played Pamina?
KM: So there’s this really great recording of Die Zauberflöte on spotify with Lucia Popp and I’ve been listening to it a lot. Her Pamina is just so scrumptious and ringy. I can’t help myself. I appreciate her elegance and attention to detail.
MC: How do you feel about your Canadian Opera debut with The Magic Flute?
KM: I love so much that I’m making my COC debut with Mozart. We’re pals, he and I, so stepping out here for the first time as Pamina is a pleasure.
MC: As we begin 2017, do you have any musical resolutions that you can share with us?
KM: I have to give some more thought to the resolution. Hope that’s okay!
The COC production of The Magic Flute will premiere at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on January 19th.