Ludwig van Toronto: THE SCOOP | Tapestry Opera Shines With 13 Nominations At 2020 Dora Awards

By Michael Vincent June 8, 2020

Tapestry Opera, Shanawdithit
Tapestry Opera and Opera on the Avalon’s production of Shanawdithit. (Photo: Dahlia Katz)

Even with a COVID-19 lockdown, the 41st Dora Mavor Moore Awards are taking the “show must go on” maxim to heart with an all virtual presentation this year. 

Announced today, the 2020 Dora Awards has released a total of 243 nominations across six divisions.  

Leading the pack in the Opera Category is Tapestry Opera with a whopping 13 nods. Tapestry’s Shanawdithit (co-produced with Opera on the Avalon), accounting for eight nominations, and Jacqueline with five.

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Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts: Nominations Announced for 2020 Dora Awards – Virtual Edition

June 8, 2020

18 productions receive nominations in General Theatre Division with Soulpepper’s The Brothers Size in the lead with 

10 musicals receive nominations in Musical Theatre Division with Musical Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre’s Caroline, or Change in front with 8

20 shows receive nominations in Independent Theatre Division with Coal Mine Theatre’s Marjorie Prime in prime spot with 6

10 operas receive nominations in Opera Division with Tapestry Opera’s Shanawdithit on top with 8

17 dance performances receive nominations in Dance Division with National Ballet of Canada’s Angels’ Atlaswith Chroma & Marguerite and Armand in the lead with 6

8 presentations receive nominations in Theatre for Young Audiences Division with Young People’s Theatre’s The Mush Hole and Théâtre français de Toronto’s Les Zinspiré.e.s : Infiniment Éveillé.e.s in tie for top spot with 6 each

Toronto (June 8, 2020) – At an online media announcement – pre-taped in front of Meridian Hall with physically distanced protocols in place – streamed June 8 on the Dora Awards YouTube channel, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA)announced 243 nominations for the 41st annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards which recognize excellence in professional theatre, dance and opera in Toronto. 

With 85% of productions registered for the Dora Awards successfully produced during the 2019-20 season, TAPA previously announced that the award show would be going virtual this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the 2019-2020 season was truncated, there were still 135 producing companies that presented 160 eligible productions.

The 2020 Dora Awards – Virtual Edition, written by Emmy, Gemini and Dora-nominated Diane Flacks and directed by award-winning theatre director, actor and writer Ed Roy, will be presented on the Dora Awards YouTube channel (as well as on other TAPA social media outlets) beginning at 7:30pm on June 29, where 46 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, the Silver Ticket Award and the Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award will be bestowed. 

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Schmopera: Review | Jacqueline: Come for the music, stay for everything else

By Michael Zarathus-Cook February 23, 2020

Tapestry Opera continues their 40th anniversary season with Jacqueline, a commission for Canadian librettist Royce Vavrek and American composer Luna Pearl Woolf; the end result, directed by Tapestry Artistic Director Michael Mori, is something of a living retrospective of the life and times—and plight—of seminal cellist Jacqueline du Pré. A living retrospective because one-half of the two-person show is cellist Matt Haimovitz, who in his teens enjoyed a relationship with an ailing du Pré, at the invitation of her husband and music partner Daniel Barenboim. His presence on stage and behind his instrument added a silent narrative to the work, adding equal parts gravitas and relatability. There’s an ambiguous line of separation between his performance from the fact of the personal memories he was sharing through music.

Marnie Breckenridge and Matt Haimovitz in Jacqueline, Tapestry Opera, 2020. Photo: Dahlia Katz.
Continue reading “Schmopera: Review | Jacqueline: Come for the music, stay for everything else”

Opera Going Toronto: Jacqueline Review

By Ian Ritchie February 22, 2020

Above: Marnie Breckenridge as Jacqueline, Matt Haimovitz as The Cello Photo: Dahlia Katz

Jacqueline du Pré, legendary golden-haired young cellist, unrivalled heir apparent to Casals and Rostropovich, inhabited a life transformed by multiple narrators after her death in 1987 into an almost mythical saga. A relentless surge of rumours and anecdotes still swirls around her memory. Stories of locked practice rooms from childhood. Of utter nervelessness as a fearless teenage prodigy on show at the Royal Festival Hall. Of her alleged feverish affair with sister Hilary’s husband. Of her willing surrender to her own husband, conductor Daniel Barenboim’s taxing, single-minded plans for her spectacular latter day career.

Almost five decades after forced to abandon the world of performance, a cruel, agonizing decision imposed by the relentless progress of Multiple Sclerosis shockingly diagnosed at the age of twenty-eight, fascination with Du Pré’s legacy has continued to peak with each passing decade. Two books, one by Hilary and brother Piers later adapted to film, the still controversial biopic, Hilary and Jackie; a West End play, Duet for One; plus a new upcoming ballet, The Cellist, currently in development by London’s Royal Ballet, have, if not spawned, then certainly solidified Jacqueline du Pré’s status as an enduring 20th century classical icon. Her music and spirit live on both in recordings and streaming video, her playing a passionate denial of all that is mortal and evanescent, her presence dazzlingly resurrected on the World Wide Web.

Continue reading “Opera Going Toronto: Jacqueline Review”

Definitely the Opera: Jacqueline: Tapestry Opera’s new production

February 21, 2020

Marnie Breckenridge and Matt Haimovitz in Jacqueline. Photo by Dahlia Katz

Would the much too short and music-filled life of the late cellist Jacqueline Du Pré make for a good opera? Yes, it turns out: this Wednesday, Feb 19th, Tapestry presented Jacqueline, a chamber biopic opera composed by Luna Pearl Woolf and written by Royce Vavrek in which two performers play the title character. Soprano Marnie Breckenridge and cellist Matt Haimovitz covered, respectively, the verbal, physical side of the musician and her cello and cello-playing. This doubling worked extremely well. Haimovitz, silent and serious but always alert to Jacqueline’s demands and confessions, remained stationary on the soloist podium, while Jackie moved free-range till the very last act. Occasionally I found myself wondering if perhaps a dark mezzo would have been a better voice to have for du Pré to match the cello timbre, but the contrast too makes sense. She is light if chromatic, with musical lines spiky and not exactly beautiful; very playful, spirited, often silly. The musical line on Haimovitz’s cello on the other hand has gravitas; it seems to come out in one smooth, seemingly endless line, and has a dark beauty and no sense of humour.

Continue reading “Definitely the Opera: Jacqueline: Tapestry Opera’s new production”

barczablog: Jacqueline

February 20, 2020

Tonight a rapturous audience welcomed the world premiere of Jacqueline, a new opera from Tapestry Opera at the Betty Oliphant Theatre.

It’s a deceptively simple piece exploring the relationship of cellist Jacqueline du Pré and her instrument.

She was a prodigious talent who had to abandon her performing career at the age of 27 when she developed Multiple Sclerosis, and died at the age of 42. What if that story were told by a singer & a cellist, where the cello were represented as if it were an actual character, given that the instrument was one of the great passions of her life?

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The Globe and Mail: Tapestry Opera’s Jacqueline strips away the inessential to reveal a moving story free from ego

By Jenna Simeonov February 20, 2020

Only after finally seeing the world premiere of Tapestry Opera’s latest brand-new opera, Jacqueline, is it crystal clear: Jacqueline du Pré is a perfect opera heroine. Even if her life is presented in the series of glimpses we get in this biographical work by Luna Pearl Woolf and Royce Vavrek, there’s still an opera-sized thrill in the story of an ambitious and unique woman whose career – whose true love, really – is stamped out before the age of 30 with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

It’s great tragedy, this opera. Du Pré becomes a character distilled into snapshots: the young girl boasting to her mummy that her cello isn’t too big, the 20-year-old woman caressing the vinyl on her first recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, the delighted lover in the lusty beginning of her marriage to Daniel Barenboim, the professional cellist in love with her life. And inevitably, the strange acceptance of her illness, which came only after the acute fear and confusion of a woman in her 20s losing dexterity, eyesight and memory. The heights from which Jacqueline du Pré fell – or from which she was pushed – are operatic in scale.

Continue reading “The Globe and Mail: Tapestry Opera’s Jacqueline strips away the inessential to reveal a moving story free from ego”

Ludwig van Toronto: SCRUTINY | Emotional Power And Bravura Performance In Tapestry Opera’s Jacqueline

By Joseph So February 20, 2020

Marnie Breckenridge in Tapestry Opera's Jacqueline (Photo : Dahlia Katz)
Marnie Breckenridge in Tapestry Opera’s Jacqueline (Photo : Dahlia Katz)

Woolf: Jacqueline / Marnie Breckenridge, soprano; Matt Haimovitz, cello. Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis St., Toronto. 8 p.m. February 19, 2020.

For devotees of the cello, few artists past or present capture the imagination quite like Jacqueline du Pré (1945-1987). In a performing career that lasted barely a decade before she was struck down by multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, du Pré left an indelible imprint on the musical world with her dazzling artistry and incandescent personality.

Arguably the work most associated with her was the Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85. I didn’t have the good fortune of hearing her live, but her recorded performances and interpretations of this work, both in the studio and in live performances, remain the gold standard. In the various video clips, one is struck by the radiant expression on her face, one that exudes the purest joy of music-making. The musical world is fortunate to have her art preserved for posterity.

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Opera Wire: Tapestry Opera to Present World Premiere of Opera Inspired by Jacqueline Du Pré

By: David Salazar February 19, 2020

Tapestry Opera is set to present the world premiere of “Jacqueline: A Portrait of Virtuosity” starting on Feb. 19, 2020 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in Toronto, Canada.

The opera, which is written by Royce Vavrek with music by Luna Pearl, tells the story of iconic cellist Jacqueline Du Pré and her battle with the multiple sclerosis that ultimately took her life. The piece is written for soprano and cello with Marnie Breckenridge performing alongside cellist Matt Haimovitz, who will play Du Pré’s own instrument.

The piece’s structure is deeply indebted to Elgar’s famous cello concerto, a piece for which Du Pré was most famous, her interpretation heavily imitated for decades since she first played the work. The opera also includes Haimovitz’s popular recollections of the cellist.

There will be a total of five performances of the work running through the 23rd.

Read it at Opera Wire

The Canadian Jewish News: OPERA EXPLORES THE TRAGIC LIFE OF FAMED CELLIST

By Toby Saltzman – February 17, 2020

“Luna is a story-teller, completely immersed in the operatic world. She was inspired by the depth of my relationship with Jacqueline to tell the story of Jacqui before it’s too late.”

-Cellist Matt Haimovitz

When Matt Haimovitz performs at the world premiere of Tapestry Opera’s Jacqueline: a portrait of virtuosity, the audience can anticipate music that resonates with the poignant timbre of the famed cellist’s intimate association with Jacqueline du Pré as her young protégé.

Rising from a young prodigy herself, to peak fame as one of the world’s greatest virtuosi and ultimately succumbing to a tragic finale, English cellist du Pré was recognized in her prime as an exquisitely talented female soloist.

At the heart of du Pré’s life, strings a loving relationship with celebrated pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim that blossomed in Israel. The story goes that in 1967 – while the couple were performing concerts before, during and after the Six-Day War – du Pré felt such an overwhelming connection to Judaism as a musician that she converted to Judaism to marry Barenboim. Tragedy struck in 1971 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She died at 42 in October 1987 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Golders Green in London. 

Continue reading “The Canadian Jewish News: OPERA EXPLORES THE TRAGIC LIFE OF FAMED CELLIST”