Monday, April 29, 2013

The Question, April 29, 2013

Falling into a Niche (a bit by mistake...)
by Estelle Rosen

Hawaiian pianist Maika'i Nash is a vocal coach and accompanist at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music (Glenn Gould School) and collaborates with a number of young singers throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe. In addition to coaching at an institutional level, Mr. Nash is also the Resident Musical Director for Opera 5 in Toronto and has been the Music Director and pianist for the Coleman Lemieux & Co. (From the House of Mirth), Summer Opera Lyric Theatre (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Opera Tchai (Eugene Onegin), Opera West (Il Trovatore) and Cowtown Opera (Hansel and Gretel) in Calgary. Mr. Nash is a graduate of the Schubert Institute in Austria and has studied at the University of Hawaii and at McGill University. He debuted with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra at the age of 11 and was a regular soloist with them for a number of years. This summer, Mr. Nash will be on faculty at the COSI Opera Festival in Sulmona and in the Fall, he will be one of the official accompanists at the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions.

CHARPO: Opera 5 is ending its season with Bésame Òpera, a double bill of Spanish Operas.  As Musical Director,  which operas have you selected and why? 

NASH: We've known for a while that we wanted to put "Goyescas" by Enrique Granados on a program, but we needed a great pairing for it. We thought about some Latin American operas by Ginastera, Piazzolla, (FUTURE SEASONS!), but settled on having two mainland Spanish composers. While our Artistic Director, Aria Umezawa was in Boston earlier this year, she heard about de Falla's "El retablo de maese Pedro" and fell in love. She convinced us that it was a great pairing with the Granados - so we went with it! I have to admit, I had my reservations, but now I have also fallen in love with it. 

We found a great place in the industry and look forward to continually revisiting these kinds of pieces.

The opera is quirky and funny and a great juxtaposition with the Granados which is pure lushness and, quite honestly, melodic and harmonic orgasms on every page. They both have a distinct sound and style but fit really well together, and are both operas that are rarely performed internationally. We also can't lie when we say the thought of having some Spanish heat at the beginning of Spring helped to push us in this direction (that and the wonderful Sangria and food that will be served at the show!)

Opera 5 has found a niche in presenting rarely performed operas either because they are no longer as popular as the regular canon, or because they are fairly new and still gaining momentum. We fell into this niche a bit by mistake by following each other into passion projects by composers we loved. We found a great place in the industry and look forward to continually revisiting these kinds of pieces.

With Aria at the helm - both operas have been so much fun to work on. We're looking forward to inspiring some spicy flavours. 

Bésame Ópera will be taking place at Gallery 345 April 29th, May 1st - 2nd  in Parkdale (345 Sauroren Avenue). 

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