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Monday, December 15, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Interview: Dancer Emma Hawes, on The Nutcracker, National Ballet

(photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic)

Plumming in The Best Nutcracker
by Ramya Jegatheesan, Senior Contributor
Emma Hawes was born in Delaware, Ohio and trained at the BalletMet's Dance Academy in Columbus, Ohio and Canada’s National Ballet School. She joined The National Ballet of Canada as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2011. Ms Hawes’ repertoire includes Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, La Fille mal gardée, Cinderella, Nijinsky, The Seagull, The Four Seasons, Theme and Variations and Carmen. In 2012, Ms Hawes represented the National Ballet in The Tenth International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize with Second Soloist Brendan Saye and won the Audience Choice Award. The Charlebois Post - Canada Senior Contributor Ramya Jegatheesan spoke with Emma Hawes.
CHARPO: When was the first time you ever saw The Nutcracker? 

HAWES: I was probably around seven-years-old. The first one I’d ever seen was actually one I was involved in. So it’s been a lifetime of Nutcrackers. 

CHARPO: What was that experience like, and what role were you playing?

HAWES: At that point, in my very young career, it was the most exciting thing I had ever been involved in. I was a party girl. I got to wear a really frilly and glam big dress. I was the Mother Ginger’s child. That was the highlight. It was really really exhilarating. To this day, when I hear the music I still think of the first time I ever danced The Nutcracker and it still brings that excitement back. I’ve been involved in a couple of different productions of The Nutcracker. That one was in Ohio, and I was in a couple of other ones. From then until now I was actually never involved in The Nutcracker until after I was in the National Ballet Company so this is kind of exciting.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: (Toronto / Opera) #UncleJohn

(photo by Darryl Block)

Mozart a Little, Mozart a Lot
by Beat Rice, Editor

#UncleJohn is the title character of Against The Grain Theatre’s modern  translation/adaptation of Mozart’s Don Juan. The well-known story of the womanizer who causes trouble and eventually pays for it in the end, has had its libretto re-written in English by Joel Ivany. Ivany, who is also the stage director, has envisioned the opera to take place in the here and now-literally, in the Black Box theatre, on Queen West in Toronto, the day before a winter wedding. Mozart’s complex score, with new musical arrangement by Stephen Hargreaves, generally remains the same, with a few hilarious pop culture interludes in the second act. The characters and the story also do not veer far from the original, sharing the same Italian names and relationships. Uncle John (Cameron McPhail) arrives to crash the wedding of young couple Zerlina (Sharleen Joynt) and Masetto (Aaron Durand) with his wingman Leporello (Neil Craighead), and runs into two ex-lovers, Elvira (Miriam Khalil)  and Anna (Betty Waynnne Allison). Sexual tension, miscommunication, and chaos ensue. 

Review: (Dance / Montreal) The Nutcracker

(photo by John Hall)
They Should have Called This “The Nutcracker’s Friends”
by Aleksandra Koplik, Senior Contributor

Perhaps I am not the best person to critique this performance as The Nutcracker is my all-time favourite winter ballet and holiday activity, so I take it very close to heart when a classical piece is done differently.

First off, I have to mention the incredible design that was created on and for the stage by Peter Home. It was absolutely breathtaking. Everything from the owl clock to the growing Christmas tree, to Clara’s dream world was done beautifully. The locations and acts were carefully layered with thin themed veils and the lighting (by Nicholas Cernovitch) really did its work in making them transparent or opaque.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

First-Person: Soprano/Director Robin Eder-Warren on Hansel and Gretel, Opera Mariposa

(photo by Kathryn Nickford)
Entering the enchanted forest
making opera magic with Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel
by Robin Eder-Warren

Robin Eder-Warren is an award-winning soprano and critically acclaimed stage director, as well as the managing director of Opera Mariposa, a Vancouver-based company for emerging artists. She made her operatic direction debut in 2013 with Pergolesi's La serva padrona, which was hailed as “a masterpiece of controlled mayhem” (Review Vancouver). She went on to direct Donizetti's Don Pasquale, which was praised as “well-honed,” “delightful,” and “an excellent harbinger of more well-cast and well-directed operas to come” (Opera Canada magazine). As an award-winning soprano, Robin has sung on stages around the world, from Germany to New York to Disneyworld, and has been described as “a talent beyond words” (Life in the ‘burbs). Select role highlights include Musetta (La bohème), Despina (Così fan tutte), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Laurey (Oklahoma!) and Cunegonde (Candide) among many others. As well as directing Hansel and Gretel for Opera Mariposa, she is currently performing as Meg in the Broadway musical Little Women with Fighting Chance Productions.

I have a confession to make: directing a fairy tale is not as simple as it seems.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: (Montreal / Dance) Winnin'

(photo by Frédéric Chais)

No end in Sight
by Caitlin Murphy, Senior Contributor

Winnin' is a compendium of gestures that, like its truncated title, are reluctantly reaching towards completion. Choreographed and performed by the brilliant Dany Desjardins, who has previously created All villains have a broken heart (2008), On Air (2009) and POW WOW (2011), it's an accomplished and powerful piece that explores our obsession with winning, and encourages us to lay down our tools of self-inflation.

News: Opera News Awards announced, include Canadian soprano Teresa Stratas (Press Release)