Category Archives: Essays

A reception experiment: Lucia last night

I remember from Psych 100 that one of the ways scientists learned about the brain was from what they called natural experiments.  In the war, sometimes a man would suffer a catastrophic wound to part of his head, allowing scientists … Continue reading

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Pageants of Power

Whenever a new pair of presenters come out onto the stage at the Academy Awards, the pit band begins to play something suitable. Nobody does that when I walk into a room. I was thinking about this after reading some … Continue reading

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Canadian Pride

It’s the day before the Academy Awards, which means Canadians can indulge in our favourite sport.  No I don’t mean hockey, which is more of an obsession than something you could dismiss as mere fun.  It’s too much of a … Continue reading

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Psychological portraits: Tito’s Rome

La Clemenza di Tito is not known the way the major operas of Mozart’s maturity are known and loved.  When I say Don Giovanni or Marriage of Figaro or Magic Flute there are tunes that instantly pop into my head … Continue reading

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Sellars interviewed

I watched a wonderful interview tonight at the Toronto Public Library, presented in co-operation between the Canadian Opera Company and the Toronto Star. Richard Ouzounian of The Star interrogated opera director Peter Sellars, in anticipation of tomorrow’s opening night of … Continue reading

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From Troyens to Tristan

December seemed to be a month obsessively occupied by Hector Berlioz, particularly Les Troyens in versions onstage at the Met, the High Definition transmission, DVDs, plus the score at home.  It’s January, and Berlioz is still echoing through the corridors … Continue reading

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Pollyanna’s picks for 2012

This is a look back at 2012 through the rose-coloured glasses of someone who prefers to avoid negativity. Most impressive singer: Jane Archibald.  I’d already been persuaded by her Zerbinetta in the recent COC Ariadne, then I heard her Haydn CD … Continue reading

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