Cher Public

Ali Kashani

Based in Toronto, Ali Kashani caught the opera bug as a young teen and has progressively and obsessively grown his love of the art form through recordings, magazines and participation in on-line groups. He proudly tries to insert opera into the lives of all he touches. He has been reading parterre.com for over a decade and began contributing reviews in 2015.
Ali has given opera talks and moderated discussion panels for the Canadian Opera Company and used to be regular panelist on the now-defunct CBC Opera Quiz with Stuart Hamilton. Though he has musical training, his goal of taking vocal lessons is still, regrettably, on the to-do list.



Woman on the verge of a repertoire breakthrough

First, an admission. I do not love Elina Garanca’s voice. I admire it a great deal—the fluidity of tone across her registers, the effortless technique. But I only like the basic timbre; I cannot say I love it. What makes Garanca special to me is less the quality of her voice than the way she deploys her instrument.

In recent years, the voice has grown, transitioning from lyric to spinto. Revive is a manifesto of sorts, declaring her intentions for the new direction in her career. The aria choices are eclectic. Garanca covers both familiar ground and roads less travelled, even a couple of rarities. She offers tantalizing roles like Eboli, Dalila, and Charlotte, but not “O don fatale,” “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” or Charlotte’s Letter Aria. Read more »

Harmony of contrasts

didonatoProgramming in solo CDs can range from the banal to the fascinating. On the one hand, one cannot fault the record companies for releasing single-composer arias discs that they know will move copies. After all, who doesn’t want to hear Anna or Jonas sing their way through Verdi and Puccini’s greatest hits?

On the other hand, singers like Joyce DiDonato repeatedly mine the repertoire for rarities which have not already been recorded dozens of time. And DiDonato always thinks thematically in putting a CD program together. Even her all-Rossini album focused on roles associated with Isabella Colbran, Rossini’s muse and wife. There was no Barbiere or Cenerentola to be found on that disc.  Read more »

Stop me if you’ve heard this one

Ghosts amazonIn 1991, the Metropolitan Opera gave a lavish production of a new commission many years in the making: John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles with a libretto by William M. Hoffman. At the time, I was a teen who had recently caught the opera bug and had seen my first live opera only the year before.

In the intervening 25 years, I’ve only known the opera by name, never having heard a note. So, when La Cieca asked me to write a review of the new audio recording, taken from live performances at L.A. Opera, I said that I’d only be able to approach it from a fresh, newcomer’s perspective.  Read more »

Sag, welch wunderbare Träume

First seen in 2005, Siegfried makes a welcome return as a stand-alone production this season.

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Myths, matched

“CanCon”, or Canadian Content, is always a concern in Canadian cultural discourse.

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Awakenings

There is a simple elegance to the single-composer recital album format. For the listener in the mood for, say, Puccini, it’s a chance to delve into his music without any pesky interruptions by those other guys like Verdi or Massenet. And if one is also in the mood for a particular singer’s art, then the choice is even more straightforward. For the singer, it is an opportunity to showcase and explore the variety and nuance that a single composer offers to his/her voice type, while also displaying his/her own skill at presenting a varied recital experience within narrow confines.  

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A desert breeze whispering a lullaby

The studio opera recording is a rare beast these days and its arrival always a cause for celebration.

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From the depths

I was greatly anticipating Karita Mattila’s recital on Friday in Toronto’s Koerner Hall.

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