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

 

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 […]

Another season opens with Essential Opera!

I’m always shocked when it’s show day with Essential Opera. Months and months of planning…then POOF time to perform! Actually, it’s more like a BAM than a POOF. But every time I wake up on a show day, I feel really excited and grateful.

My colleague and friend, Erin Bardua, and I first started talking about Essential Opera–well, at the time, just about doing one show: Figaro–in 2010. I remember us saying something to each other about naming the company just IN CASE we ended up doing more shows. After our inaugural Figaro, we did Massenet’s Cherubin, Handel’s Alcina (twice! and with chamber orchestra!), Weill’s Threepenny Opera, and a double bill with Donizetti’s Il campanello and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.

I honestly can’t believe that this is our 6th show and the start of our 4th season. We’ve purposefully been all over the map, not limiting ourselves to one particular time period or genre within a genre. We really want to present and perform works that are essential–works that express and explore the intimacy of relationships. We have exciting works coming up after our season opener, so stay tuned for those!

The Haydn opera we’re presenting tonight is a rare gem: It’s gorgeous, elegant music by Haydn, and an exploration of relationships between me (Silvia) and Costanza; Silva and a newly discovered object of affection (Enrico); Enrico and his bromance partner Gernando; Gernando and his long lost/abandoned Costanza.

If you have the chance during your noon hour or post-work commute, (or during work?!…I know many of you freelancers would welcome squeezing in 5-min. break), I recommend heading over to our blog page and checking out our trailer, by Alison J. Gray, and checking out some notes on the show, written by Maria Murphy. For more fun and follies, check out us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. Thank you for the shares, likes, RTs, MTs, shout-outs, donations, ticket purchases, and cheerleading.

 

I’m so excited to perform this for you tonight. See you there!

Nov. 8, 7:30 PM
Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave., Toronto, ON
Tix $20 at the door or online via www.essentialopera.com

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!

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!