Ending on a High Note: Queen of Puddings

 “Press releases and announcements” are presented verbatim without comment.


For Immediate Release – Toronto, February 8, 2013: After twenty years of developing and producing new Canadian chamber opera, Toronto’s Queen of Puddings Music Theatre will conclude operations this year on August 31, 2013.

Founders and co-artistic directors Dáirine Ní Mheadhra & John Hess explain: “With Queen of Puddings, we’ve achieved what we set out to do, which was to commission and produce original Canadian opera to a high artistic standard, and to develop an international profile for this work. In this current season the company is thriving, with the great success and critical acclaim for our production of Ana Sokolovic’s opera Svadba-Wedding, touring nationally and internationally, and coming up on April 30th the premiere of a new vocal chamber work at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre by composer Chris Paul Harman. The end of our season in August 2013 feels like a very natural artistic ebbing point, and thus feels like the right moment to close the company. We want to conclude in a year like this, which is full of artistic pleasure, highlights, and fulfilment of our goals, with continued financial stability due to a deficit-free track record.”

After August 31, Dáirine will remain active in the contemporary opera world, while John will continue to teach at Western University and perform recitals.

The Toronto based Queen of Puddings Music Theatre was founded in 1994 by Dáirine Ní Mheadhra & John Hess. Acclaimed as a leader in the creation of original Canadian chamber opera/music theatre, Queen of Puddings’ aesthetic is a physical, singing theatre where the performer is the central force and the instrumentalists are integrated into the dramatic action. In addition to the award-winning production of Svadba-Wedding (2011), notable production landmarks include the world premieres of Beatrice Chancy (1999, Rolfe/Clarke), the first opera about black slavery in Canada which launched the career of soprano Measha Brueggergosman; The Midnight Court (2005, Sokolovic/Bentley), the first Canadian opera (and the first Canadian company) invited to the Linbury Theatre at England’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Inês (2009, Rolfe/Bentley), a chamber opera inspired by Portuguese Fado; Love Songs (2009, Sokolovic), declared the best production at the Zagreb Biennale and subsequently presented at the prestigious Holland Festival; Beauty Dissolves in a Brief Hour (2010, Klanac/Rea/Shi), hailed as “an exquisite piece of music theatre”; and Beckett: Feck It! (2012, Hamilton), acclaimed as “an entirely engrossing evening of theatre and song”.

In 2012 Dáirine was awarded the Canada Council Molson Prize in the Arts in recognition of her lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada.

“We are very deeply indebted to our dear friends and close colleagues, for their marvellous support, warmth, and collegiality during the life of our company”, add Ní Mheadhra and Hess.  “They have been integral to our work and we couldn’t have given the best of ourselves without their belief that we would do no less.”


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