You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Opera’ category.

Michael Kaiser,

I concur with the last sentence of your post

“Wouldn’t the future of the arts in America be brighter if we dedicated our efforts to creating more and better art rather than bigger and fancier buildings?”

It is a burning question; and “build it, and, they will come”, IMO, is no longer relevant.


Adding to this, #IndieOpera is leading the way in presenting Opera in venues other than the “palaces” you mention; such as #divebars, parks, barges on lakes, rivers, city streets, farmers markets, train stations and the list goes on.

Start-Ups for live streaming such as is actively striving to connect the performing arts to people globally.

Just another example that compliments going to a movie theatre to see the performing arts live, delayed, simulcast etc.

And certainly less expensive than building a new state of the art #ArtsPalace too.

Thank you for this post!

PS: We still need the live performing arts to thrive; and in existing #ArtsPalaces too! Without the live performing arts there will be nothing to beam up to a #VirtualArtsCommunity wherever, whatever and whoever they may be.

Now, bring on the discussion! Keep it nice, please and ThankYou!


From me to Carol Lazier: Four words: BRAVA! and, thank you!

Here is Lazier’s statement:

“Other companies of our size like Dallas Opera have been able to re-make themselves into successful companies without drastic steps like closure or bankruptcy. My gift is being given as a challenge to the Board of Directors in order to give us some time and resources to consider and explore realistic options from experts in the field who we can find through Opera America.

“I gave the money to encourage us to rescind the dissolution vote as soon as possible. Having four full-scale productions is clearly unsustainable in our community. What would a re-tooled and financially stable season and company look like? A company with new fundraising methods, new repertoire, new cost saving measures and an inspired future? One supported by a community already now broader, more innovative, and more emotionally committed than I have ever seen?

“This money is not being given to restart raising financial support from the community for the company as it exists today. Raising public support can only come after we have a workable business plan. Opera is the greatest of the performing arts. It’s a culmination of all the other arts – music, drama, voice, dance, theater. The stories are timeless. The arts nourish our souls and connect us as human beings. With the arts being cut in schools, arts education programs such as the ones San Diego Opera supports are critical to help fill the gap. This gift is to be used to explore other options, anything other than ceasing operations after 49 successful years.

“ If we close, 400 jobs will be lost and all our assets, including our profitable scenic studio will be sold off. Our city’s reputation will be tarnished. How can ‘America’s finest city’ not have an opera company? Perhaps this is the blessing of a near death experience – the capacity to nurture this new life we have been given.”


Blog post by

First off the opera spectrum, I think Mori’s comment: “Opera has the best chance out of all the performing arts to engage those new audiences, because it’s at the extreme end of the live performance spectrum.” is misleading.

“Extreme end” of What? Why? How?

Really? What about all the #FringeFestivals that also present the performing arts? Mori, you need to expand your spectrum view of the all live performing arts, #getagrip!

IMO, ALL the performing arts have the chance to engage new audiences; and they do, on a grand scale.

Here are a few who are actively engaging new audiences in big numbers and adding new revenue streams too!:

Margaret, I know TO thinks it is the classical music hub of Canada, and, (IMO it most likely is).

BUT, for Canadian #IndieOpera companies you might explore: #CowtownOpera, Calgary; #CityOperaVancouver and #VancouverOpera – Opera Train and World Premiere of #StickBoy (Just a few other suggestions, because you asked.)

We in the #IndieLivePerformingArts in the west of Canada get just a bit bent out of shape when we are, more often than not, left out of the #Indie scene being written about by bloggers in TO, Canada.

Margaret, thanks for the post and bringing to light #IdieOpera in Toronto, Canada

To the President of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Opera:

Was the original gift invested and at what ROI?

How is it possible that the Board of Directors of the San Diego Opera, for so many years, passed deficit budgets? Was that prudent for the sustainability of the institution?

If, yes, why?

The Board of Directors of the San Diego Opera are the guardians of the society.

IMO, as guardians of the society, the Board of Directors of the San Diego Opera might/should sell the Society for $1 to all the hard working employees who will lose their jobs, (when the San Diego Opera plans to cease operation on April 13, 2014.)

Let these people move forward with dignity; they will do a better job(s) than the individual who planned the consecutive budgeted deficit seasons that were approved by the Board of Directors of the San Diego Opera.

This suggested action to be followed by the 30+ members of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Opera who voted to dissolve the company, all resign, without dignity, but, drinking watered down beer!

The first of many celebrations to be sure! And such a joyous celebration this will be. ENJOY!

The Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, The Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, on Sept. 26, 2013 at 12noon.

Lotfi Mansouri and Alexander Neef.

The season begins with a special recital dedicated to the late Lotfi Mansouri, the COC’s former General Director, featuring members of the 2013/2014 Ensemble Studio


and a special guest appearance by Ensemble Studio graduate Simone Osborne.

Here is a link to the program:


The Four Seasons Centre is located at 145 Queen St. W. Enter through the main doors at the corner of Queen Street and University Avenue. Doors open 30 minutes before the performance begins, and seating is limited. Latecomers will not be seated.

I have known Lotfi Mansouri as a mentor, colleague and friend for 46 years.

Lotfi actually was the Stage Director for the opera Girl of the Golden West, (the first opera I ever worked on), as Assistant Stage Manager for Vancouver Opera.

Over this passed week many friends, colleagues, and even people I do not know have asked on Twitter and Facebook to know more about Lotfi.

For me, the best way to get to know Lotfi is to listen and watch him speak about his career/life in opera in “his own words”.

Here we go “kiddo”: (Lotfi always called me “kiddo”)

Lotfi’s passion was “bringing opera to people and people to opera”, and especially showcasing young up and coming opera talent which we did together with his last production of VIVA VERDI at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland.

Please celebrate Lotfi’s amazing legacy by donating to the San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program  and/or to Canadian Opera Company’s COC Ensemble Studio,

VERDI LEBT IM HALLENSTADION WIEDER AUF Freitag, den 14. Dezember 2012 Daniel Fischer.So toll die Idee ist, von der Kanadierin Susan Weiss eine Opernshow in einem Stadion zu veranstalten, so viel Erfolg sie hat…. Daniel Fischer VERDI LIVES ON IN THE HALLENSTADION “Such a remarkable idea, is the concept of Canadian Susan Weiss to stage an opera show that achieved success…”


Imagine bringing together 11 different cultures with all the different languages, plus the “culture of opera”; and, then, performing in a hockey arena in Zurich, Switzerland!

I have been blessed, (and I am still blessed), to have Lotfi Mansouri, a giant of the world of opera, as my mentor, former boss, and friend.

Lotfi you inspired and guided me, and in a very large way, contributed to making a dream of mine come true: “Bringing opera to people and people to opera”.

Along this three year journey, (and yes I agree with you, we both could have staged and produced several operas in this three year time period), you stuck with my original concept, and with the participation of so many talented singers, conductors, musicians, designers, and production personnel, together we succeeded in creating history with VIVA VERDI, an opera show that had never been done before.

There where many stones along the road in this journey, and you inspired all of us to kick the stones aside and aspire to achieve the dream.

The artistic talent you brought to the show can be measured at least one hundred fold.

The seasoned opera singers, Rubén Amoretti, Spain/Switzerland; Mardi Byers, USA/Switzerland; Tiziana Carraro, Italy; Jorge Lagunes, Mexico/Germany and Noëmi Nadelmann, Switzerland headed a cast of 186 in the VIVA VERDI show.

You worked your magic sharing your vast operatic knowledge and experience with young up and coming opera talent: Christopher Bengochea, USA; Evan Brummel, USA; Valentina diCola, Italy; Alexandra LoBianco, USA; Simone Osborne, Canada and Thomas Yun, South Korea. What a joyful experience to watch you in action directing this new opera talent!

You brought Maestro Edoardo Müller, an indisputable Verdi expert, a consummate musician and a wonderful supporter of young talent to the production. “Maestro” he truly is; what an honour for me to have worked with him for the last two years. It was my pleasure to have Maestro Eduardo Álvarez, Mexico, Artistic and Music Director of the Acapulco Philharmonic on the music team of the show. The “Maestros” did an outstanding job and respected the music of Giuseppe Verdi.

In costume design, your addition to the artistic team of Marie-Luise Walek, Austria, was a stroke of genius! Marie-Luise you are a treasure!


Your costumes dazzlingly built by Peter Holub, Austria, owner of Tailors Unlimited, in Vienna are gorgeous, spectacular and impressive!

Peter, it was indeed a privilege to know and to work with you, thank you! A special mention to Alkis Vlassakakis, Greece, of Tailors Unlimited, for his superb management of the costume build – on budget, delivery and onsite coordination; Alkis thank you so very much! In Make-Up and Hair Design and execution, my hat goes off to Volker Dahlmann, Germany, who valiantly and professionally jumped into what at the time seemed to be chaos and created an exquisite look to compliment the costumes of Marie-Luise Walek. Congratulations Volker, you are a trouper!

In lighting design, Steve Ross, Canada, you gave us a picturesque color palate that reflected ever so magically on the four gigantic mirror elements. The subtle and romantic lighting of each scene succeeded in creating a tremendous artistic look for the show.


Stage Manager and Show Caller, Mary Peters, USA, commanded with a “steel will” drawing upon her vast experience; she guided and mentored Assistant Stage Manager and Assistant Show Caller, Lois Dawson, Canada, (who, singled handedly managed all the backstage entrances/exits, props etc). The Swiss runners team headed up by Evalina Stampa, assisted both Mary and Lois in a fine manner. Mary you piloted this show with professionalism, dedication and fortitude. I congratulate you!

The Mexican contingent of twenty actors, with Ragnar Conde as their Stage Director; Roberto Duarte as the acting coach, added to one of the many cultures, and not just by simply filling the vast stage of ramps. Alejandro Figueroa’s graphic design of the projections added the element of location to each scene in the show.

The Swiss contingent of 100 from the Akademisch Chor Zürich and the Camerata Schweiz augmented to 52 musicians, complimented the innovative production elements.

On the Swiss side there were so many individuals and companies in sound, lighting, wardrobe management, venue(s) management, logistics, general management and administration, ticket sales, transportation, marketing and press relations who helped realize the dream with true Swiss German style, (like their trains that run on time); to each and everyone, (and you know who you are), and big thank you.

Freddy Burger, Producer and Heinrich Nüssli, Executive Producer of Mobile Productions GmbH, thank you for your courage, passion and your willingness to take a risk, I congratulate you!

To the Zurich audience, without you, the realization of the dream would have come to a full stop. Thank you for the many comments, critiques and the standing ovations!


Lotfi Mansouri, sitting with you in the audience on opening night, you reminded me of the tremendous amount of work, planning, creativity and collaboration that went into mounting this show, and then, with the performances, “pouf” it is gone.

Lotfi, you have inspired and instilled in so many of us your passion for opera. You made my dream come true; thank you my friend, you truly are the “Wizard of Opera”, bless you!

Susan C. Weiss, Canada

Image 4

Attending the launch of Lotfi Mansouri’s book in Toronto today Oct. 10, 2012! True Tales from the Mad, Mad, Mad World of Opera | Dundurn.

Stunningly superb singing from an all-star cast of Canadian opera singers. WOW! Moved me to tears of joy!

Nancy Hermiston’s UBC Opera Ensemble shone so brilliantly as the chorus and also in many of the character parts in this concert version of this Canadian Opera! They all ROCK!!!

The Vancouver Symphony soared to great heights in this adventure into opera conducted by the composer and current Music Director of the VSO, Bramwell Tovey.

Bravo tutti!

Here are the main cast members:

Erin Wall soprano

Laura Whalen soprano

Roger Honeywell tenor

Judith Forst mezzo-soprano

Roger Honeywell tenor

James Westman baritone

Phillip Ens

UBC Opera Ensemble

Maestro Bramwell Tovey’s recently premiered spectacular opera The Inventor opened at the Calgary Opera in January 2011 to critical acclaim. John Murrell’s libretto tells the tragic story of Alexander (“Sandy”) Keith Jr., nephew of the famous brewmaster, with Tovey’s spectacular, dramatic score. The VSO presents the concert version of this new opera, featuring the original cast and, of course, Maestro Tovey conducting.

Please click here to read the full synopsis of The Inventor.

There is one more concert on Monday June 11, 2012 at 8pm at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver; not to be missed.

(Rumour has it that the next staged version of The Inventor may be in Germany!!!)

Here is a link to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s website for more information:

A picture is worth at least one thousand words:

Do not disturb till the “fat lady/guy” sings!

GO,  Vancouver Canucks, GO!


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 821 other followers


Recent Tweets