Operas without cliché
MALCOLM MILLER in conversation with Richard Bradshaw,
General Musical Director of the Canadian Opera Company
<< Continued from part 1
Canadian Opera Company's new opera house, as designed by
A J Diamond, Donald Schmitt and Company, Architects and Planners
The new opera house will provide an exciting new stimulus and one of
Bradshaw's plans is for a Ring cycle (staggered over several years
at first). Would it be a 'new' radical production, perhaps by Dmitry Bertman?
We are putting feelers out: with such a big project I wouldn't just
offer it without finding out producers' ideas, so I am asking around several;
but Bertman is certainly one of them.' But foremost in the Canadian Opera Company's forthcoming millennium productions
in the1999/2000 season, as well as revivals of The Flying Dutchman and
Don Giovanni (Jan/Feb) is a brand new Pelléas, directed
by Richard Muni with very imaginative designs by Dany Lyne. '
will be exciting - we originally hoped to do it in water, but (he grins),
rather than pump several hundreds of gallons each night, we have now have
this new vinyl material which creates an amazing effect with atmospheric
As a result of Bradshaw's adventurous spirit since he began as Guest
conductor in 1988 and Chief Conductor the following year, COC is currently
considered at the 'cutting edge' of opera production, sixth largest in North
America, rivalling even Houston Opera in quality, attested by its numerous
awards for productions and CDs. '
Success is not really worth it unless
it allows you to do what you want. I want to present operas without cliché.
When I became General Director in 1998 I made it clear I was not interested
only to go and do "market research", but rather to present interesting,
exciting and worthwhile new works and new productions. When we did the Bluebeard
Castle/Erwartung double bill we presented it as a flagship on which
to base our season and after its success in Edinburgh, we sold it to the
Canadian public. And we will do the same with Janacek (They already gave
Jenufa, Katya Kabanova and Cunning Little Vixen and
are scheduled for House of the Dead)'
Our interview is interrupted by a phone call from the film director Atom
Egoyan who directed the 1996 Salome. '
He was very enthusiastic
about last night (Dmitry Bertman's La Traviata - see
review)' - a gleeful smile spreads as Bradshaw speaks vivaciously, demonstratively
about his ideas for film and TV adaptations of opera, a reflection of a
desire to attract a wider community and undercut elitism wherever possible.
He enjoys the hectic schedules of the COC: 'It's fabulous: this week the
orchestra are playing La Traviata and L'elisir [see
review], then rehearsing Mozart (which is always good for them) and
next week recording for the Horostovsky TV film "Leporello". Then
we will record a new CD with Michael Schade - Italian Serenades, a follow-up
to the acclaimed Award winning French Soirées
(which received the Faure Prize and a Juno).'
The Horostovsky film Leporello is a radical (feminist) reinterpretation
of Don Giovanni seen through his manservant's eyes. 'Originally it
was to have been a duo with Bryn Tervyl, but he was unavailable. So it will
be a solo. In a way Don Giovanni and Leporello are two sides of the same
coin. It is about an hour of music, every note of it by Mozart, though some
recitatives are cut and the direction will show a new perspective
role of Commendatore will be sung by a promising young bass who apprenticed
with the COC free of charge and is now at the Curtis Institute. We have
very high hopes for him'.
Copyright © Malcolm Miller, December
Soirée Française with Michael Schade, tenor, Russell
Braun, baritone and the Canadian Opera Company conducted by Richard Bradshaw
is available on CBC, catalogue no SMCD 5174 (1997).
PURCHASE THIS CD FROM AMAZON
(This link also contains extracts from the music in Real Audio)
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