When poet/librettist Sharon Singer began envisioning Isis and Osiris as an opera in 2009, she founded ARIAWORKS to develop and co-produce it. The Art Gallery of Ontario enthusiastically partnered with ARIAWORKS for the production of a thirty-minute version of the opera in its first public performance on March 31, 2010 during the AGO’s major exhibition of ancient Egyptian art: King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs. Guillermo Silva-Martin, General Director of VOICEBOX : Opera in Concert, directed the production to a sold-out standing-room only house. His enthusiasm for the project brought VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert in as a co-producing partner for the AGO production and for the world premiere of the complete opera which will take place at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
Sharon Singer is a published Toronto poet, librettist, and spoken word performer. With an Honours B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Toronto, Sharon has been published since the early 1990s. At that time, still inspired by working with Glenn Gould as his assistant in the early 1970s, and her own mother Anne Singer, who was a songwriter, Sharon began collaborating with musicians and composers. Ottawa composer Colin Mack set three of Sharon’s poems to classical music resulting in the song cycle “The Names of Water,” sung by soprano Doreen Taylor-Claxton for the CD Hail: Canadian Art Song (CanSona Arts Media, 2006).
Sharon also collaborated with renowned New York jazz saxophonist Bob Mover for the jazz/spoken word CD Global Warming ( Wordsinger Music). In 2008, Toronto classical composer Philip McConnell composed music for Sharon’s short story The Museum and an excerpt from her book-length documentary poem, The Burning Book. Sharon performed these works with the Toronto Sinfonietta Orchestra at the Royal Ontario Museum. In 2006, Hamilton composer Marko Lukac commissioned Sharon to write lyrics for his CD Sunrise.
Sharon’s work has been published in poetry journals, anthologies, and as original art posters working with artists Ken Kirkby and Rolland E. Proulx. Her four published poetry books include Global Warming, LyricalMyrical Press (2008); Moses, Batsheva Books (2007); The Last Years of the Natural World, Rising Phoenix Press (2002); and Fire Rider, Fire Mountain Press (1996). Sharon’s more than thirty year study of ancient Egypt and her love for the beauty, harmony and noble solemnity of that unique culture resulted in the libretto for Isis and Osiris.
Award-winning composer, broadcaster, and performer Peter-Anthony Togni has written compositions that are kaleidoscopic in nature – deeply rooted in spirituality and contemplative, yet energetic and explosive. Togni has been heard everywhere from Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall, the Moscow Conservatory, the Oriental Arts Centre in Shanghai, to the Vatican in Rome for His Holiness Pope John Paul II. Togni’s music is broadcast regularly in Canada on the CBC, as well as internationally, including on the BBC, Classic FM, Deutsche Welle and Radio France. In 2006, Togni’s Illuminations (concerto for bass clarinet and string orchestra) was nominated for a Juno award as Classical Composition of the Year. In 2010 he was a finalist for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award, celebrating outstanding works of contemporary art that inspire and promote the development of artistic endeavour in Nova Scotia. Togni’s Lamentatio Jeremiah Prophetae (Lamentations of Jeremiah), a concerto for bass clarinet and choir, was recorded by bass clarinettist Jeff Reilly and the Elmer Iseler Singers and released on the ECM label, produced by Manfred Eicher. This recording brought two nominations, one for an East Coast Music Award in the Classical Music category, and one for a Juno award in the category Classical Composition of the Year. In 2012, Togni’s new work Missa Liberationis, the result of a project with the Latvian Youth Choir BALSIS was published by Musica Baltica. Also in 2012, Peter-Anthony was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in honour of contributions made to Canadian community life. That same year, the Togni Trio’s latest recording Spatium was released. Togni’s works have been released on nine CDs from XXI Records, CBC Records, Hänssler Classics, ECM, and Warner Classics UK. In 2013, Togni’s Responsio project, a work for 4 voices and bass clarinet, was performed live in Nova Scotia and recorded with the great English tenors John Potter and Charles Daniels, soprano Suzie Leblanc and mezzo-soprano Andrea Ludwig. With the Love Scene from Act One Scene 2 completed and performed at Heliconian Hall on December 2, 2013, Peter-Anthony Togni is deeply into writing the full score of the opera Isis and Osiris.
“I just heard a beautiful choral work on CBC’s Two New Hours – It was a small musical gem – full of feeling and humility, but also melodic, harmonic with structural clarity .” --Composer Christos Hatzis
Winner of the Ten Most Influential Hispanic-Canadians award of 2008, Guillermo Silva-Marin has achieved distinction as a performer, stage director, writer, set and lighting designer, teacher and producer. Following in the footsteps of his mentor and teacher Stuart Hamilton, Guillermo Silva-Marin has dedicated a great portion of his artistic endeavour toward advancing the career aspirations of talented young Canadians and to the promotion of daring and innovative artistic programming. His artistic curiosity and entrepreneurial drive have led to an impressive legacy that has been adventurous and productive for the last two decades.
His performing credits include engagements with major Canadian symphony orchestras, the Canadian Opera Company, New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Lyra in Ottawa and the Casals Festival in his native Puerto Rico. He became General Director of the prestigious Opera in Concert organization in 1994 and under his leadership the company expanded its repertoire to include the baroque and contemporary idioms. Mr. Silva-Marin is credited with two CBC Radio Broadcasts featuring Opera in Concert, three CD recordings for Opera in Concert under the Naxos label: Rameau's CASTOR ET POLLUX, Handel's RINALDO and Vivaldi's LA GRISELDA. Mr. Silva-Marin has staged a significant number of operas and operettas in Canada from the standard and non-standard repertoire. After a successful CARMEN FLAMENCO! with Arte Flamenco! Spanish Dance Co., he joined Opera McGill at McGill University in Montreal as stage director for Ravel's L'ENFANT ET LES SORTILEGES (1998), Ward's THE CRUCIBLE (1999), Mozart's
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (2001), Weisgall's SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR (2001), Handel's SEMELE (2002) and a semi-staged version of Verdi's FALSTAFF (2002). Mozart's IDOMENEO followed in 2003 as did Bernstein's CANDIDE in 2006.
Excited about producing Canadian works, he staged the world premiere of Canadian composer Frederic LaCroix's SNOW WHITE, Telgmann's LEO, THE ROYAL CADET and Lavalée's THE WIDOW for the Toronto Operetta Theatre and featured John Beckwith's THE SHIVAREE, Harry Summer's THE FOOL, Charles Wilson's THE SUMMONING OF EVERYMAN and Timothy Sullivan's FLORENCE, THE LADY WITH THE LAMP for Opera in Concert.
ISIS AND OSIRIS, Gods of Egypt is being produced in association with VOICEBOX:Opera in Concert
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