Exciting News!

It’s been a great start to 2016! My grant writing is paying off, and two Canadian operas that I was in got great Opera Canada reviews!

After a successful tour with Crossing Borders, it’s time for more contemporary music– and, this time, OPERA :)! Read more about my upcoming show in Toronto with Essential Opera HERE.

For photos of the Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred tour in Philly and Toronto CLICK HERE.

I’m also thrilled to announce that my project Lady of the Lake with Simon Docking, Jon-Paul Décosse, Fiona Ryan, and Leaf Music Inc. got the #FACTORFunded seal of approval! We record this project in October and I could not be more excited! In other grant news, the SOCAN Foundation has funded four recent and upcoming projects! Thank you, SOCAN!

NEW OPERA CANADA REVIEWS:

Time of Trouble by Elizabeth Raum, libretto by Rex Deverell, with Maritime Concert Opera, October 2016.

Composer Elizabeth Raum and librettist Rex Deverell, both with connections to Mount Saint Vincent University, were intrigued by the history of the institution and the Order of the Sisters of Charity who founded it. They composed a dynamic, sometimes quite humorous, opera with a fully developed plot and real personalities.

Soprano Maureen Batt, as Mary McGuire—later to become Sister Francis and then Mother Francis—filled the church with her rich, warm sound and masterful acting. 

Aunt Helen by Monica Pearce and Serva Padrona by Pergolesi with Opera Nova Scotia, May 2015.

Soprano Maureen Batt sang the role of [Helen] Creighton, a prominent folklorist who published books on Nova Scotia lore and collected more than 4,000 traditional songs and stories. The character of Aunt Helen is alone on stage, now in her 70s and talking about her life to an unseen interviewer. The original score, with some Nova Scotian folk music interspersed through it, is attractive, and Batt brought a warm and very pleasing voice to her performance. 

The third opera was Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, with Batt returning to the stage as Serpina, the receptionist who would like to rule the company and its boss, bass-baritone Jon-Paul Décosse. The music was enjoyable and the singers quite impressive. 

Reviews by Daphna Levit

Maureen during her Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred tour

Maureen during her Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred tour. Photo by Monica Pearce

 

 

Crossing Borders Inaugural Tour: Recap

This gallery contains 2 photos.

A huge thank-you to those who joined me and Cheryl on the inaugural tour of Crossing Borders: A Celebration of New Music from New Mexico to Nova Scotia! We had a magnificent time in Halifax, Philadelphia, and Toronto! We’re already planning for season 2!

The day before our final concert, we found out that the SOCAN Foundation had approved our proposal and was supporting our Toronto event!! THANK YOU, SOCAN Foundation!!!

 

If you followed the event on social media […]

The sky’s a triplet: Concert this Sunday in NS!

After a wonderfully full month of singing contemporary music and working with living composers, I’m gearing up for one last gig before some vacation. This recital, The Sky’s a Triplet, is part of the Classics by the Bay festival in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. There are concerts all weekend long, but my concert is on Sunday afternoon, 2 PM, at Trinity United Church. You can find a schedule and ticket info on the website.

The inspiration for this recital came from several places. Initially, I intended to have a full recital of Spanish/Latin influenced music. As a result, there are a number of songs with Spanish themes, and songs by Spanish or Latin American poets and composers. Then, I began to think about why I connect with Spanish/Latin music, and I realized it’s the playfulness and seduction in the music and text that I love. Its warmth, lusciousness, and evocativeness.  Of course this is true of a lot of music, including our own North American music… so I expanded the recital to include some local (living!) flavour 🙂

Click on the composers’ names for websites and more info. For Canadian composers, don’t forget to search the CMC website for works that you can purchase and borrow. 

The first composer I want to mention is Stephen Bachicha (USA). I am singing two selections from his song cycle, New Mexico Fragments (poetry by Valerie Martínez, composed for Susanne Mentzer): The sky’s a triplet and Why have you come. We’ve never met in person, but I feel like we have (that counts, right?); and I’m looking forward to singing more of these works, as well as more of his other works. I foresee many future collaborations here.

Aunt Helen, by Monica Pearce (CAN), is receiving its third performance on this program. It was premiered last August in Halifax as part of the Opera from Scratch program, and I sang it earlier this month at the CMC in Toronto. This opera short projects snapshots of folklorist Dr. Helen Creighton, a pioneer in collecting our folksongs. I am delighted to be able to perform this work again, and for an audience of Maritimers, no less. Monica and I have worked together before; and, I very much cherish our collaborations.

While I was in Vancouver earlier this month, I met emerging composer, Matthew Emery (CAN). He was gracious enough to send me his work For broken and tired am I, which I had heard a colleague perform during the VISI program. I truly cannot wait to sing this piece for you.

Of the more established North American composers on the program, I am performing works by Imant Raminsh (CAN), John Greer (CAN), and Jake Heggie (USA). I have had the pleasure of working with both John Greer and (very recently) Jake Heggie. I’m thrilled to perform their works, Si os partieredes al alba (Three Spanish Lyics), Elegy for a Calf (A Sarah Binks Songbook) , and A Lucky Child (At the Statue of Venus).

After my rehearsal with my collaborative pianist today, my friend and colleague, Tara Scott, I am feeling very, very grateful for the beautiful music we have at our disposal. Many of you know that it is my personal mandate to help promote emerging composers and their works, so please feel free to share this post/information–I know that these composers would love others to perform their works, too! Contact them!

Go go gadget contemporary music–music for us, by us, and about us.

 

Songfire Series Emerging Artists: Songs of our Time and Place

Tonight marks the end of a week of Contemporary Performance Studies at the Vancouver International Song Institute.

I have had the extreme pleasure of working directly with composers Joseph GlaserJake Heggie, and Jeffrey Ryan. I have workshopped works by all three of those composers, as well as works by John Greer and Monica Pearce.

After a week of magnificent, inspiring coachings and masterclasses with Martha GuthErika Switzer, Carla HuhtanenKarl PaulnackJake HeggieCorey HammSteven Philcox, and Heather Pawsey, the singers and pianists are presenting a concert:

Songs of our Time and Place

June 10, 8 PM

Roy Barnett Recital Hall

UBC Music Faculty 6361 Memorial Rd.

Free admission

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For my Toronto friends, I would love to see you at the CMC on June 13th at 5:30 PM. Get tickets here.

Go, go gadget contemporary music–music for you, and music about you!

Public masterclasses start tomorrow at VISI for CPS!

I arrived in Vancouver on June 1 for a week of Contemporary Performance Studies at the Vancouver International Song Institute. Sunday was a quick orientation and rehearsal day. Monday, Tuesday, and today were filled with inspiring workshops, coachings and sessions (I hesitate to call them lectures because they’ve really been interactive discussions). So far I have had the pleasure of working with composers Joseph Glaser and Jeffrey Ryan. I have also had (extremely helpful and insightful!) coaching sessions with Martha Guth, Erika Switzer, and Carla Huhtanen.

Upcoming public masterclasses (for me) are as follows:

Thursday 10 AM – Karl Paulnack (where I’ll be singing Monica Pearce‘s Aunt Helen)

Friday 4 PM – Jake Heggie

Saturday 10 AM – Corey Hamm

Sunday 10 AM – Steven Philcox

Sunday 4 PM Heather Pawsey

Our program-end performance is on Monday night, June 10, 8 PM at Roy Barnett Recital Hall.

I can’t believe it’s already been 4 days!!! Vancouver is beautiful and so is this week’s music!

Practice, practice, practice

May is a prep month for a busy June (thankful to HAVE a prep month!). Today I am making my practice charts and schedule for three upcoming events: Vancouver (June 10), Toronto (June 13), and Parrsboro, NS (June 30). Schedule details and links will be updated soon.

As I was starting my research for the pieces I’m working on in Vancouver at the Contemporary Performance Studies program at VISI, I came across this video on composer Joseph Glaser’s website (I’ll be singing his work ‘Reservations in the Late Afternoon’):

During my week in Vancouver I will also be singing works by Monica Pearce, Jeffrey Ryan, Imant Raminsh, John Greer, and Jake Heggie (WHO WILL BE THERE as composer in residence!!!).

 

More updates as I delve into all this new-to-me and new-new music!