May News 2022

Hello, all!

Spring is traditionally a time for cleansing and rebirth and so I am re-thinking the way that I interact with you. My new format will feature a monthly blogpost and a bi-weekly newsletter. Yesterday I learned that bi-weekly can both mean twice a week or occurring every two weeks. Well in my case, I’ll just be writing to you every two weeks with brief updates and upcoming events. ☺️

Spring Cleaning aside, it’s been a particularly busy time for me! I can’t believe that my Eternal Feminine concert was already two months ago, my birthday was a month ago, and summer is just one month away (believe me…it can’t come fast enough!). To those of you who registered to watch The Eternal Feminine concert at Beth Tikvah in March, we experienced a multitude of technical difficulties which prevented the concert from being broadcast. There are a few snippets online (such as this one!) and we hope to bring the concert to more Jewish centers throughout the GTA in the coming months.

As I was preparing for my concert, Opera Sustenida received the exciting news that we had retroactively received a grant to which we had applied last summer! We are thrilled and honored to receive a “Digital Now” grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, which will help us to bring our very first opera production to life this September! We will be creating a hybrid multimedia-enhanced live production of Verdi’s Il trovatore which will incorporate all of the elements you’ve come to love from our “Divas” concert series…with the benefit of live performers and audiences! The grant will enable us to create a professional-grade quality video recording which will be released on Vimeo Pro later in the fall for long-term on-demand streaming (something we have always wanted to do, but had been limited by funds).

To prepare for the opera, we are running an 8-week summer opera chorus workshop here in Toronto, which involves A LOT of prep work! Like many Romantic operas, Il trovatore is a goldmine of choruses, so I’ve had my hands full preparing scores and recording guidetracks for those selections. It’s a lot of work, but we’re so excited to finally be able to work with live singers again. We’ve also been running virtual auditions for covers and chorus ringers (that is, professional singers to act as choral leads) and have been staggered by the amount and variety of applicants! We’ve even received applications from Europe, the UK, and South America! It seems that after two years of restrictions, the world is fully ready for live musical collaboration again!

So I’ve got my work cut out for me the next few months. I’ll also be working on creating an original and modernized English translation of the opera libretto and while translating isn’t foreign to me (pun intended), I’ve never done it on such a large scale! My plan is to tackle the arias first, then ensembles, then choruses, and then all the fiddly bits in between. Sounds like a good plan, right? 😉

In the meantime, I have to learn a few Ukrainian pieces for a benefit concert St John’s is producing to raise funds for Ukraine. As our wonderful Music Director hails from that country, it is a particularly poignant cause for us. The concert will be on Saturday, June 4th (online and live) and will feature local Canadian-Ukrainian musicians, alongside St John’s soloists. Tickets are available at Eventbrite – all proceeds will go towards the United Church of Canada’s relief fund for Ukraine.

I wish you an easy transition into June and enough time to stop and smell the lilacs!

With love and gratitude,