Wednesday, November 21, 2007

GRIMM Hits the Big 3-0-0!

This afternoon, I was thrilled to attend the 300th performance of The Brothers Grimm. It was a part of the Canadian Opera Companies annual school tour (for which the opera was commissioned back in 1999). I believe this was the sixth time that the COC has taken the opera out, and the show was just as fresh as the premiere. Alison Grant did a wonderful job directing this outing. It's interesting to note that her mother's maiden name was Grimm and she is related to the famous brothers.

This Grimm played up some of the darker elements and I found the witch and Rumpelstiltskin deliciously creepy...the kids felt the same way.

The performance happened at Britannia Public School in Mississauga, Ontario at 1:45, Wednesday, November 21.

Pictured above are Michael Spassov, Justin Welsh, Andrew Stewart, Lisa DiMaria, Adam Luther, Melinda Delorme and Joanna Barrota. They seem to be having a great time on the tour (22 shows left) and made me feel really welcome.

Friday, August 24, 2007

On Richard Bradshaw (1944-2007)

It has taken a few days to even process the fact that Richard is no longer with us. The moment I attempt to collect my thoughts the page is filled with so many clich├ęs (that RB would suggest I consider trimming) that one would wonder if I was talking about a man or some mythical hero. I suppose anyone looking at his list of accomplishments would wonder the same thing. It is humbling to read the heartfelt words of the opera community and realise how many of us he really touched – how much of an influence he has had on Canadian artists and therefore (as he had every right to proudly proclaim) the opera world.
So what is the proper role in which to cast Richard Bradshaw? Caped Avenger? Unscrupulous Diplomat? Crafty Salesman? Flamboyant Gambler? Wizened Seer? Rogue? Scallywag? One word continues to return to me and has been echoed in the words of my colleagues – Father.
Richard was father to the Canadian opera family, including all the rights and responsibilities, blessings and blights of that title. Like a good father, Richard cared about the passionate, dedicated people around him. Like a good father, Richard could become a bear when one of his charges was being threatened. Like good children, we all, at one time or another, have rebelled and thought him unfair, unreasonable or obstinate. That is part of being a child. Richard considered and genuinely cared. Richard did what he thought was best whether it made us laugh or cry. That is part of being a dad.
In 1999, Richard commissioned my first professional opera, The Brothers Grimm, which has really made all the difference in my career. He was proud of the fact that Grimm would be receiving its 300th performance this fall. And oh, to make Papa proud – that was a high that could keep a composer out of an IT career for a year!
I’m happy that I more recently came to know more about the man that was Maestro Bradshaw (an important realization for children to have about their fathers). Following the dress rehearsal of Isis and the Seven Scorpions, we had a chance to talk a bit more casually. We talked about the new canoe he was given and how to execute a proper J-stroke. We talked about golf and the Canadian outdoors. We talked about the things furthest from most people’s minds when that shock of white hair and beaming smile popped up from the orchestra pit, and yet, all parts of the man. The Father. The Maestro.
I guess the father image is an important one for me right now. My own two-month-old daughter was asleep in my arms for the dress of Isis and Richard commented that “she seemed to like it”. He told me that I had a lot to look forward to that he was anticipating, with great gusto, a meal made by his own daughter that very evening. I remember something about a killer pie.
Richard was so much more than a father, but he sure made an awful lot of us feel honoured to be “part of the family”.

Dean Burry

Friday, July 13, 2007


On June 29th, 2007, the Sarasota Youth Opera Chorus performed "Far Over the Misty Mountains" from The Hobbit at the Piazza dell Popolo in Montecatini Terme, Italy (in Tuscany). This performance was a part of an International Choral festival and marks my European debut. Now if I can just get MYSELF to Italy...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


The Sarasota Youth Opera performed a concert on April 21, 2007, which included Far Over The Misty Mountains from The Hobbit (see my website to listen to this chorus). This, ladies and gentlemen, marks my American premiere and I can't think of a nicer bunch of people to do it than the folks in Sarasota. Thanks so much.

The Hobbit in Sarasota

Well, it's official - Sarasota Opera in Florida will produce a brand new production of The Hobbit in May 2008. The Hobbit was commissioned by the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus in Toronto in 2004, but the rights were immediately locked up due to the Toronto mega-musical "The Lord of the Rings". Karl Hesser at Sarasota and myself remained commited, though, and in the fall of 2006, Tolkien Enterprises granted us permission. Not only that, the opera company has commissioned an orchestration for the work so in many ways it will feel like a premiere all over again.
I'll really looking forward to heading down to Florida on a few occasions and being more involved in the production.

Grimm hits 250!!!

Well, the Calgary tour of Grimm wrapped up on April 6 and from all accounts it was a tremendous success. I hear that it went over particularly well in parts of rural Alberta where they had previously had no exposure to opera. That's what I like to hear. There is a vast audience for this art form and I applaud Calgary Opera for taking to them. Calgary Opera's 8th show was Grimm's 250th! Very exciting, and with productions coming up in Saskatoon, Toronto and Ottawa, the numbers will keep climbing.
I'd like to make special mention of Mel Kirby (music director) and Rob Herriot (director) who did such a wonderful job with the Calgary production.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Brothers Grimm at Calgary Opera

The Brothers Grimm is currently on tour with a wonderful new productions created by Calgary Opera. The production was directed by Rob Herriot with musical direction by Mel Kirby. Artists of Calgary Opera's Emerging Artists Program will be travelling around Southern Alberta until April 6, 2007.
I traveled to Calgary for the premiere on March 19th and was made to feel most welcome. The prime rib and service at the Calgary Tower restaurant were wonderful.

Isis at the Four Seasons

Last June was the grand opening if The Four Season Centre for the Performing Arts, the new home of the Canadian Opera Company ( It is Canada's first purpose-built opera house and as far as the acoustics and sightlines go, it is one of the best theatres in the world.

My opera Isis and the Seven Scorpions was performed as part of the Gala Celebrations during the public open house on the last weekend in June. It was a thrill to see so many people exposed to opera in Toronto.

The New Blog!

Hi there, and welcome to the new blog. I do have a website at, but this seems to be a great way to keep anyone interested updated on my latest personal and professional info. I have been having a lot of performances of my operas lately and this is a great way to keep photos and reviews coming. So thanks for dropping by and look for things to come.