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sm26-3_EN_p46-47_Brott festival + Opera University_sm23-5_BI_pXX 20-11-03 11:46 Page 46

THROUGH HARDSHIP TO THE STARS


BROTT MUSIC ADAPTS TO THE PANDEMIC
by CAROL XIONG
ing in business, career advice, stage movement,
dance, simulated swordfighting and Italian.
The BrottOpera virtual program culminated
in a virtual production of Mozart’s Don
Giovanni on July 30 on the festival’s Facebook
and YouTube pages.
Soprano Stephanie DeCiantis says of her
experience: “Not only did [the festival] decide
to do a full opera, but they hired the
professionals necessary to really explore this
medium. They cut and crafted a well-loved
opera, Don Giovanni, into something that
stayed true to the original intention of the
music, was more accessible online, and some-
thing that would appeal to large audiences. I
was so happy to be a part of this this summer,
this show is innovative, brand new, and most Brott Music Festival w as started by Ardyth
importantly I think it will turn out beautifully.” and Boris Brott 33 years ago in Hamilton,
Ontario. Since then, w hat eventually
PERFORMANCES IN WINTER 2020 became Brott Music has expanded to
Brott Music continues at full momentum as it include not only Brott Music Festival, but
prepares to present two operas in November and also BrottOpera and the National Academy
December 2020: John Estacio’s historical opera Orchestra of Canada. It has become Cana-
Filumena, starring soprano Sydney Baedke, da’s largest not-for-profit orchestral and
tenor Ernesto Ramirez, and baritone Gregory opera music festival and is the only festival

I
n a world shaken by COVID-19, Brott Music has Dahl, as well as a world premiere of Odawa First w ith a full-time, professional orchestra-in-
responded with courage and an inventive spirit. Nations and Canadian composer Barbara Croal- residence. More than 1,800 musicians have
“When faced with the possibility of closing l’s Hide and Seek with an all-Indigenous cast. graduated from its apprentice programs.
its doors this summer, the Brott Music Fes- Brott Music will be presenting its annual
tival saw the crisis as an opportunity to in- performance of Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 2 at Canadian artists between 18 and 30 are
novate,” says artistic director Boris Brott. “It St. Anne’s Catholic Church (Ancaster, encouraged to apply to the National Academy
was felt the show must go on. Ontario). Soprano Shantelle Przybylo, alto Orchestra (June 14 to Aug. 15) and BrottOpera
“This year, our motto might as well be ad Andrea Ludwig, tenor Bud Roach and baritone (June 14 to Aug. 15). All members receive full
astra per aspera, which translates as ‘through David Pike will perform with the Arcady chorus.tuition and a scholarship.
hardships to the stars.’ We are going to A limited audience of 50 observing social Says Brott of the ideal candidate: “We are
pass through some rocky times trying to reach distancing will be available, health conditionsseeking the most accomplished professional
the outer limits of what we want.” permitting. All performances will be available musicians recently graduated from university
online at brottmusic.com. or conservatory programs, who are seeking
A SUCCESSFUL SUMMER practical knowledge and experience in areas
Since the pandemic hit, Brott Music has often not available in educational institutions.”
already accomplished much in the face of He adds: “I am most looking forward to
adversity. This past summer, Brott Music not making live music for an appreciative audi-
only ran a highly successful National Academy ence. However, though I am optimistic I am
Orchestra online virtual training program, but also practical. The safety of our participants
also staged a full-scale virtual opera with the and of our audience is paramount.”
BrottOpera emerging artists program. To be ready for all possible scenarios in
Testimony from both instructors and 2021, Brott Music has “triple prepared,” having
participants highlight the success. explored every possible means of making and
Pinchas Zukerman, who reigns as one of PINCHAS ZUKERMAN sharing music, ranging from online livestreams
PHOTO : PAUL LABELLE
today’s most sought-after and versatile musi- to outdoor performances for audiences in cars.
cians, says, “I had the pleasure of teaching All this reinvention has already paid off. On-
members of the National Academy Orchestra “TRIPLE PREPARED” FOR SUMMER 2021 line performances at Brott Music have garnered
on July 10. The virtual experience with the “I am hoping that by the time July rolls around 1,000 views per performance, and have reached,
young musicians was wonderful. I found that we will have found a way to return to a more collectively, audiences in 46 different countries.
the level of playing was excellent and their normal existence,” Brott says. “We have been “I would like to encourage all music lovers
enthusiasm remarkable.” invited to appear live at the Toronto Summer and all musicians to embrace this new world,”
In addition to the NAO online program, Brott Music Festival, the Festival of the Sound in Brott concludes. “More than ever, we musi-
Music continued its 2020 plans for BrottOpera. Parry Sound, and the Collingwood Festival. cians have something special to give the
The singers participated in the same vital Our opera will be Mozart’s Così fan world: optimism, beauty, an international
professional development activities those that tutte. The Festival will close with a full language, a communication between heart
had been originally scheduled, including train- production of The Sound of Music.” and head.” www.brottmusic.com LSM

46 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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