Sunday, 17 June 2012 11:34
Norman-Illis ReintammMAY 26, 2012
P.C. HO THEATRE
Rosenkavalier is a quintessential piece of music, which in many musicians' eyes is the pinnacle of music making.
Norman Reintamm (Conductor of the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra in Toronto), together with Helga Tucker (a leading singing teacher in Toronto) mused about the possibility of doing a concert performance of this work a couple of years ago. Norman and Helga (working very closely within the context of an informal "opera studio" under the auspices of the C.B.S.O.) realized that they had all of the elements in place to put Rosenkavalier on stage.
Together they decided to take the plunge and Norman programmed "Rosie" into the 2011-12 season of his Orchestra.
With the help of Michael Rose (guest repetiteur for this production), Norman and Helga spent much of this season working with their charges in preparing their parts. Evenings, Sunday afternoons, and lunch hours were spent in practise studios. It was essential that the singers not only understood the notes, but also the technique and music behind the notes in order to feel totally comfortable in bringing this music to the stage. Not only were there moments of tears, but also many unique "Ah-ha" moments when a phrase of a few notes would suddenly take shape.
The Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra is the resident orchestra at the P.C. Ho Theatre in Toronto. At full strength it consists of 90-100 musicians. Recent performances have included Verdi Requiem, Mahler 2, and Mahler 5. One of its mandates is to encourage young musicians to aspire to the best of their abilities. Der Rosenkavalier not only would inspire the musicians of the Orchestra, but also give a chance for young Canadian singers to aspire to a piece, which is so rarely done.
The three leading ladies were Iris Rodrigues (Sophie), Chelsea Säuer (Octavian), and Marion Samuel-Stevens (Marschallin). On stage they worked as a wonderful musical team within the ebb and flow of live
opera. The feeling after the performance was one of joy, but with a touch of sadness. When such a massive piece of work is done and consigned to the ethers after one performance, it is really tough on all of the performers.
There was a very well known jazz musician sitting in the audience. At the break he was heard to have said that maybe jazz musicians don't really have the market cornered with chromaticism. He was inspired by the brilliance of the chordal progressions in this score, stuff that jazz musicians should take a closer look at. The orchestra was also delighted to bring this piece to fruition. Something for them that was quite out of the ordinary and a challenge, to which they could aspire.
Rosenkavalier is a piece full of emotions. Hopefully these were transmitted from the musicians on stage to the audience. And, as a result, new lovers of Richard Strauss and the Rosenkavalier may have been born.