Listening: The ghosts of Wagners future and past hover over Gluck, Elgar and Schoenberg

Susan Graham starred in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Iphigénie en Tauride, desolately staged by expat Torontonian Robert Carsen.

Grabbing the heart with text and music takes many forms. This weekend, we have a chance to sample opera reduced to its essence, and two very operatic ways of crafting oratorio and cantata.

The first comes via CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, which broadcasts the Canadian Opera Company’s critically praised production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 1779 masterpiece, Iphigénie en Tauride, featuring American mezzo Susan Graham in the title role. Continue reading


Weekend listening: Andrianne Pieczonka, Jane Archibald and other operatic riches

CBC listeners get to relive the vocal fireworks as Jane Archibald sings role of Zerbinetta in the 2011 Canadian Opera Company production of Ariadne auf Naxos (Michael Cooper photo).

CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera allows us to relive the vocal glories of the Canadian Opera Company’s spring 2011 production of Ariadne auf Naxos, by Richard Strauss. Continue reading

Canadian Opera Company Tosca one of today’s weatherproof highlights

Adrianne Pieczonka in the Canadian Opera Company’s Tosca, airing this afternoon on CBC Radio 2 (Michael Cooper photo).

Four musical suggestions to brighten up the first Saturday in June: Continue reading

Today’s listening: CBC Saturday Afternoon at the Opera sets course for Calgary production of Moby-Dick

Calgary Opera’s Moby-Dick

Now that the Metropolitan Opera brodcast season is over, CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera turns its attention to Canada, starting today with Calgary Opera’s production of Moby-Dick. Continue reading

CBC announces cuts to 650 jobs, need to advertise on Radio 2 and Espace Musique, in face of Harper budget cuts

Thanks to the Harper government’s decision to cut $115 million in funding over the next three years, the CBC has just announced that it will cut 475 jobs this year, growing to 650 over the full three years.

It has also applied to the CRTC to allow advertising on Radio 2 and its French-language ounterpart, Espace musique.

In making the announcement, CBC CEO Hubert T. Lacroix said the government funding cuts, inflation and other costs put the real need for revenue over the next three years at $200 million. Continue reading

Good listening: Royal Conservatory piano student Lucas Porter gives fine solo recital for CBC

The more I visit the CBC’s new online community for classical music, the more I see the threadbare efforts of a public broadcaster stretching itself thin in new media. But I’ve also found some fine listening in their Concerts on Demand — which is not a new service, just more difficult to sort through and find useful information.

Today’s treat was listening to a very fine solo recital by 20-year-old Royal Conservatory of Music Glenn Gould Professional School student Lucas Porter, who is originally from Port Williams, N.S. Continue reading

CBC goes live with new online classical channels and completely redesigned website

250 Front St. W. after the 2008 protest against cuts to CBC classical programming

The CBC has quietly gone live with a totally revamped website and online music offerings at, ahead of tomorrow’s scheduled official launch.

This is a huge change, meant to do several different things, starting with bringing CBC Radio, TV and web offerings together under one easy-to-navigate tent. The new site integrates the latest in social media tools, offers all manner of on-demand programming, video and audio as well as community tie-ins, like concert calendars by artist or city. Continue reading