Time of Trouble

TIME OF TROUBLE

Time of Trouble, A new opera by Canadian composer Elizabeth Raum and librettist Rex Deverell will be given its first fully staged production with orchestral ensemble Thursday, December 15, 8:00 p.m., and Friday, December 16, at 2:00 p.m , in the Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre.

This opera is one of the very few Canadian musical works dealing with an important part of Nova Scotia’s history. It traces the founding and development of the Sisters of Charity-Halifax, from the arrival of the four original sisters from New York at Halifax Pier in 1849, until the granting of Papal jurisdiction by Pope Leo XIII, 1880. Dramatic focus is set upon the contrasting attitudes to the sisters by the successive Archbishops of Halifax, Connolly and Hannan, singling out the self-sacrificing vison and fortitude of Mother Mary Francis which would subsequently create Mount Saint Vincent University.

The Opera Nova Scotia presentation features a strong cast featuring some of the best of Nova Scotia’s vocal talent: soprano Maureen Batt, alto Nina Scott-Stoddart, counter-tenor Andrew Pickett, and baritone Rob O’Quinn. Walter H. Kemp leads a chorus of nine women’s voices and a professional orchestral quintet with pianist Tara Scott.

Director is Laura Vingoe-Cram, who has returned to Halifax having obtained her Masters degree in directing from the Royal Conservatory of Performing Arts, Glasgow, Scotland. The production team o headed up by scenographer Katrin Whitehead, costumes director Marilyn McLaren and lighting designer Matthew Downey.

Composer Elizabeth Raum has close ties with Halifax, having been Principal Oboe with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Saint Vincent University. Rex Deverell, together with his wife Ray, are closely associated with Mount Saint Vincent’s academic life.

Opera Nova Scotia Artistic Director Dr. Walter H. Kemp comments: “We are happy to be associated with Time of Trouble, not only for its intrinsic worth as a new Canadian opera but also for its relevance to an extremely important factor in the development of Nova Scotia’s religious life, educational distinction, and social services. Don’t miss this latest gem celebrating Nova Scotia’s cultural identity.”

Tickets are on sale at the Dalhousie Arts Centre Box Office

494-3820, toll free 1-800-874-1669

General $35.00, Seniors $30.00, Students $10.00.

Time of Trouble

Time of Trouble

For more information call 425-8586, or 852-5170.

Call for scores

Dear composers/artists/creators of sound,

I am looking for songs/scenes/pieces that embody what the winter holiday season means to you. I am looking to celebrate our traditions – whatever they may be.

Over the past 12 months, I have attended conferences and events discussing equity, diversity, civic impact, inclusion, and community engagement. Each time I came home from one of these events, I felt inspired to share and engage – share stories, share culture, share communication, and engage with my/our communities.

I have purposely picked a vague “theme” for this call. I want creators to feel as though they can send anything at all that is a work representative of how they feel during/about the winter months — whether that be through a holiday celebration, a time of reflection/sharing/solitude, a lack of enthusiasm for cold weather(ha!), or other.

There are no limitations on this call. Arrangements of traditional works (holiday or other) are also accepted and welcomed. While the scope of this concert doesn’t include guaranteed commissioning fees, I am more than happy to work with composers to partner on creation and commissioning grants for new works.

For this project, I am primarily interested in works from composers/creators from North America/Turtle Island (but will consider other submissions as well).

Works selected will be performed as part of my Crossing Borders recital series. To familiarize yourself with Crossing Borders here are previous posts on my website: HERE, HERE, and HERE (search “Crossing Borders” on my website) or check out my YouTube channel, FB page, and Twitter account.

***

HOW TO SUBMIT

Please submit scores/proposals to

Deadline for submission: Jan. 31, 2017. 

Recordings welcomed, but not necessary.

Scores selected for performance will be purchased (submitted scores via email are for perusal only).

***

INSTRUMENTATION

works for soprano/mezzo and piano

a capella works for soprano/mezzo

solo piano works

spoken word

works with voice, piano, and electronics

works with multimedia

works with 1-2 other instruments, or a very small chamber ensemble, will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Let me share your stories :)!

NB: I might not be able to respond to everyone’s individual email submissions right away. Please know that if I am considering performing your music, you will be contacted at some point after the deadline. Thank you to all who submit, for considering this call, and thank you for your music.

~Maureen

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

 

 

She’s the One with Essential Opera!

This Friday, April 8, 7:30 PM at the beautiful Heliconian Hall, nestled in Yorkville:

She’s the One – a collage of contemporary opera

She’s the One is celebrating and exploring women’s lives through Canadian and American contemporary opera.We’re (Essential Opera) very proud of our mandate to showcase Canadian artists and works–great opera with great singers, at GREAT prices! Our focus is on giving you, the audience an intimate experience with the music and the stories.

I can’t believe we’re already in the second half of season 6! Thank you to Barczablog and Schmopera for promoting the show! You can get tickets at the door ($20/25), or you can buy them online: TICKETS HERE.

She's the one postcard

 

Viva L’amor!

I have the pleasure of performing with Opera Nova Scotia at the annual Opera Valentine this Friday, 6:00 PM. There will be many a love serenade, accompanied by delicious food! Here’s a fun clip of me on CTV Morning Atlantic introducing Viva L’amor!

Opera Valentine CTV Morning Atlantic

Enjoy a 5 course Italian Gourmet Dinner, Serenades, Silent Auction and Songs of Love

Featuring
Maureen Batt, Soprano
Paula Rockwell, Mezzo Soprano
Leander Mendoza, Tenor
Ross Thompson, Bass-Baritone
Matthew McGreer, Baritone
and Tara Scott, Piano

Friday February 12th at 6pm
The Italian-Canadian Cultural Association Club
2629 Agricola St., Halifax

Tickets $85.00 incl. $25.00 tax receipt

By reservation only, 902-445-5768

CALL FOR WORKS

CALL FOR WORKS – OPEN TO ALL COMPOSERS

Update (Sept. 14): I have been pleasantly inundated with submissions from composers all over! I may not have the time to respond to each one of you individually for follow-up, but THANK YOU for introducing me to your work! Composers whose works are being considered for this particular Crossing Borders iteration will be contacted directly.

I am curating the next Crossing Borders concert (2016) and am looking for short works for soprano (or mezzo) and piano, as well as short works for solo piano. There is no age, gender, or nationality restriction on this call. Shorter works are preferred. The genre of music is open to classical art song, crossover pop, musical theatre, cabaret, and opera. Themes for this concert centre on questioning reality, gender and sexuality, and being present.

There is no official deadline for this call; scores will be considered as they are received, beginning today, September 9. The performers for this concert are Maureen Batt, soprano, and Cheryl Duvall, piano. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like any additional info.

Please email Maureen at CrossingBordersConcerts @ gmail . com with scores. Audio samples are encouraged, but not at all necessary.

***Call is for perusal. Composers of works selected will be contacted to arrange score purchase.

 

 

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 […]

Inaugural Crossing Borders concert a success!

I am thrilled that the inaugural Crossing Borders: A Celebration of New Music from New Mexico to Nova Scotia was a success! We can’t wait to bring it to Philadelphia and Toronto in March! You can buy tickets to the Toronto concert HERE. This is a very special concert for me and Cheryl as we have met and worked with most of the composers presented on this programme. We do hope that you’ll be able to join us in March (if you’re not able to join us, you can still buy a ticket to support the event). Thanks for the love on this one.

Our concert in Halifax on Jan. 24, got rave reviews from Arts East:

 Rather than Maureen Batt choosing her professional passion, it seems like it has chosen her. And luckily her body, mind and spirit have listened. Though no doubt she has devoted hours and years of sweat and drive to hone her lifework, she performing seems as natural an expression as breathing or blinking.

Saturday night was a very “dark and dreary” one in Halifax, Nova Scotia. While many may have decided to hide under warm blankets rather than venture out in the pounding rains, those fortunate to have found warmth inside St. Andrew’s Church were treated to a very special recital.

Soprano Maureen Batt and pianist Cheryl Duvall presented a wide array of pieces from North American composers, established and emerging, written between 1989 and 2014. Some songs were contemplative, others funny, some so traumatic—in theme, not presentation—they moistened the eyes.

Batt exemplified the versatility demanded of an opera singer and musical theatre artist alike—vocal chops, beautiful counterbalanced with raw emotional sounds, character-driven facial expression and movement, effectual timing. Duvall’s palpable expertise and mutual fervour for music’s intricacies, made for an ideal partner. Their chemistry was most obvious during the performance of “For broken and tired am I” (Matthew Emery & Archibald Lampman), a moving piece for both the artists and audience alike.

Those sitting in watch Saturday night witnessed songs performed in Canada for the very first time; they observed shoes flying, eyes speaking, laughter singing…animals almost hopping across a piano…a transfixing, multi-layered montage created by a looper pedal and Batt’s gorgeous voice…Crossing Borders was well worth venturing out on a dark and dreary night.

Maureen Batt & Cheryl Duvall present CROSSING BORDERS again on March 27th at Heliconian Hall, Toronto.

Maureen Batt’s next Halifax performance will be on February 14th with Opera Nova Scotia.

http://artseast.blogspot.ca/2015/01/crossing-borders-review.html

Long time no talk!

It’s been a while since my last blog post or schedule update. I’m always grateful to be busy! It’s been a whirlwind of a year so far!!

I will post schedule updates very soon. For now, to find out where I’ll be performing in Ontario in June, please visit www.essentialopera.com. We have two remounts coming up: a double bill in New Hamburg on June 7 (Haydn and Donizetti), and a remount of our Canadian opera triple bill (premiered in April in Toronto) in Kitchener on June 15.

I’m thrilled that Essential Opera has been invited to these two magnificent festivals. Let me know if you’re going to be at either performance so that I can say hi!

~Maureen

 

Check out the festivals here:

New Hamburg Live! Festival of the Arts

Open Ears Festival of  Music and Sound