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March, 2006 - Nr. 3


The Editor
Guten Morgen lieber Frühling
Ball Austria 2006
Two by Puccini
KW & Beyond
Scholtes Donates Organ
Zonta's Extravaganza
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Mendelssohn Choir Presents
COC's Norma
Berg's Wozzeck
Kafka and Son
COC Inaugurates Opera House
TSO March Events
Celebrate Mozart Tour
German Events
Kerry Straton Conducts
Cologne Literature Festival
Students Get Active
Mozart in Augsburg
Successful Gardening Show
German World Alliance
Killam Research Fellowships
Munch In Hamburg
International Student Study
Operation Clean Sweep
World Cup Info Shop
Europe's Fastest Computer
Merkel: Equality

End of Season Gala

  At the end of each social season, just before spring officially arrives, there is a flurry of galas to signal that new beginnings are in the making. One of those events is the fundraising gala of Opera York, which usually takes place at the Famee Furlane. The well-rounded evening offers a complete delightful Italian dinner with wine, an extensive silent auction, a lively and superb concert, and it closes with the opportunity to dance away the rest of the night.

Opera York's Board of Directors

Founders Philip Trow & Joan SaxWe like attending for several reasons. Firstly, of course, we enjoy meeting the board and volunteers who work so hard to make opera and operetta accessible Philip Trow welcomes Mayor Michael Di Biaseand affordable to the York region. We love seeing how so much diversity can come together and work together Mayor Michael Di Biase's addressto build a creative nucleus for the communities north of Toronto. The arts give spirit to communities, which would otherwise be missing.


...and the volunteers

Secondly we like to celebrate the showcased talent, be it new or familiar to us.

Thirdly we enjoy the silent auction and the thrill of the "hunt". I can report that the items up for auction are so versatile that there is something for everyone. This year the Finkelstein Estate donated 70 pieces of Swarovsky crystal. Some of the pieces were famous and much sought after collector items. And then there are practical items, including designer sunglasses or custom made golf clubs, paintings and other decorative items.

I ended up with 2 very special things: A Chinese collage, which will enhance my art collection, and a book about Canada donated and signed by none other than Belinda Stronach. She wrote: "Go Canada". My sentiments exactly, especially since the Winter Olympics were just on. The book was also signed by the multi award winning writer and creator of the book.

Thus everyone can tell a story that has personal significance after participating in one of Opera YorkMC Geoffry Buttler’s fundraising galas.

The evening’s MC was Geoffry Buttler, who we know as a fine musical director. He introduced some extraordinary talent that night.

Nearly everyone is familiar with the multitalented Gisèle Fredette, who put in several appearances, including one as Carmen, an all time favourite, and her other love of French chansonette with folkloric roots. Trim and slim and effervescent she energized everyone in the room with her performance.

Gisèle Fredette charmes her audience

And then there were a few young singers, still in training and school, just beginning to contemplate their future as performers, yet they sounded very confident.

Lucia CesaroniLucia Cesaroni possesses a soprano voice not unlike that of Maria Callas, with a bit of a metallic bell edge to it. That such a huge voice can come from such a slight body was a total amazement to everyone. A few of her arias caused enthusiastic bravo shouts from the audience, which obviously liked an Italian style of singing. Adam Luther

For that reason tenor Adam Luther also won much favour with the crowd. His Pavarotti style of singing gripped us all.


Lucia Cesaroni & Adam Luther

 Sara Papini

Sara Papini delighted witA star studded stageh a big and sultrier soprano. All were accompanied by Kate Carver, a singer’s dream accompanist, since she is also a vocal coach and repetiteur.

What a delightful evening it was! Everything was so perfect right down to the last roses donated and arranged by no other then the wife of Michael DiBiase, Mayor of Vaughan, who is also an honorary board member.

Curtain call

The evening was called "Jewels of the Opera" and truly reflected that theme in all ways.

Congratulation to co founders Philip Trow and Joan Sax and their fine board and volunteers!


TSO Tour de Force

There certainly are other galas we attended, some too late for this issue. Stay tuned for more good news in the arts. Perhaps we see you at the TSO, which already announced its next season, including all Beethoven symphonies! What a treat! Go to to learn more.

I just had my socks knocked off in a concert conducted by Gunther Herbig. He had a 90-piece orchestra perform the amazing "Music for Heaven and Earth" by Vancouver composer Alexina Loui. Simply fabulous! I had heard this piece from 1990 performed before, but in this setting, with the composer present and explaining her sentiments and the history of the work, it was even more impressive then ever before.

And then there was Jon Kimura Parker on the piano with Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano concerto NO. 3 in C Major, Op. 26. Kimura Parker is one of those unforgettable pianists that inspire awe for their strength and engagement. He does not just interpret the score, which he has in his head, but he recreates it as though he was the originator. There is total understanding of the original intention, and then he goes a step further, he ads something of himself, is not afraid to take a chance. His bravura knows no bounds and the standing ovations he received were more than well deserved, they were also well earned.

Just to pay us for our realizations of his incredible craft he chose to give us a little extra. He played something "quiet" as he put it, composed 20 years earlier for him by that night’s special composer Alexina Loui.

This generation of artistic talent has become our current elite. We are fortunate to have them in our midst and look forward to many more years of exquisite performances.

More Mozart

If you are craving Mozart then you must come to Roy Thomson Hall March 29, 2006 at 8 pm. The Vienna Mozart Orchestra will perform, what else, Mozart, in Rococo costumes of course! Call 416-872-4255 or go to for reservations.

There are other Mozart performances. Please go to our website at to learn more.


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