Monthly Archives: December 2017

Barbara Suhodolčan 1

CROATIAN CLASSICAL SINGER BARBARA Suhodolčan TO PERFORM @ NYE GALA IN THE GTA

Thanks to my friend and local musical promoter, Katica Visic, I’ve been introduced to the talented young classical singer and flutist from Croatia, Barbara Suhodolčan. Barbara (pictured below) is making a special guest appearance this coming New Year’s Eve, performing at the Holy Trinity Croatian Catholic Church in Oakville for an audience of Croatian Canadians. Barbara will be sharing the entertainment bill with her father, Rajko, a much-loved singer/celebrity known to Croatians around the world.   barbara s 2The multi-award winning, classically trained young singer made her debut in 2010 with the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin as Hanna in Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow, and has performed as a guest soloist with many Croatian and international orchestras including the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Tambura orchestra and Symphonic orchestra of HRT (Croatian Radio Television), Varaždin chamber orchestra, Croatian Military Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Nova Philharmonic Orchestra (Slovenia), Symphony Orchestra of Ravensburg (Germany), and Suzhou Symphony Orchestra (China). Barbara has appeared in concert at many international music festivals both as vocal soloist and as an accomplished  flutist, an instrument on which she excels.

In costume, as part of renowned renaissance ensemble 'Marco Polo' from Zagreb

In costume, as part of renowned renaissance ensemble ‘Marco Polo’ from Zagreb

Thanks again to Katica, I was able to conduct a brief online interview with the beautiful and talented artist, asking her questions about her career to date, her inspirations and aspirations for continued success. I will be sitting down for a video chat with Barbara and possibly her dad, too, just before the New Year’s concert.

Here is what Barbara shared with me….

You play flute as well as sing – can tell us a little about your music training?   My first contact with music was singing, it all started in children’s choir and music TV shows for kids. At the age of 8, I started my musical education as a flutist. Later, I continued with both singing and flute in high school, and then at the Zagreb Academy of Music where I got my Master’s Degree in opera last year.

What was your first professional performance and how excited were you to take the stage?  First professional performance was at age 16 when I made my debut in Croatian National Theatre as “Hanna” in Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow. I have to say that I got rid of stage fright long before that, because my dad encouraged me to do a lot of solo concerts and public appearances. He said it’s the only way to fight stage fright, and he was right. I was really excited on the day of the operetta’s premiere, I couldn’t sleep for a few days before and I couldn’t wait to perform on the stage! It all went pretty well; I was happy and overwhelmed the days after it!23472158_773097032875327_1211366736741281643_nYour father, Rajko, is a well-respected music professional – how has he influenced your career and future aspirations?   It’s all his fault! [laughs] I don’t know if I would ever be a professional musician if it wasn’t for him, and now I wouldn’t change it for the world! I think I’m blessed to be able to have such a wonderful job. My father taught me about all the cruelties and beauties this “music world” can bring. Although we’re not in the same music genre, he really knows a lot and was always very supportive and open minded about my ideas and aspirations.

Are there any classical (or other) music performers who have inspired you?  There are so many. I don’t want to name them individually, because my “inspirations” changed over the years of my musical development and personal maturation. In fact, I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes those who are not classical musicians have inspired me to do some things in classical music, and visa versa. I think one should be open to music of all genres.

 Are you looking forward to performing for a Canadian audience on New Year’s Eve? And is this your first visit to North America?   I can’t describe to you how excited and honored I feel to be singing for this special Canadian Croatian audience, bringing them a little piece of their homeland to Ontario. It’s going to be my first time visiting North America and Toronto – I know it’s going be great and I can’t wait.
36630850410_8dfc3daa1e_bTo date, what has been your most exciting (or surprising) performance around the world, and why?  It’s really hard for me to single out just one, but If I have to choose the most exciting one, that would definitely be this summer in China. I performed several concerts there, and what made it so special is the fact I was singing Mandarin songs in the Mandarin language, so it was quite an experience!

Are you planning any recordings in the near future that your fans around the world can purchase?  Actually I do. I haven’t recorded any albums yet but I have a few projects planned for 2018 and if everything goes well, at the end of the year I should have not just one, but two albums. I’m really looking forward to that.23472222_773095142875516_7660755816930456776_nWhat’s next for you – any big performances with symphony orchestras or other collaborations?  I have a big solo concert on January 26th that I’m currently working on with the Croatian Armed Forces Symphony Orchestra, and collaborating with other artists in two shows with the same orchestra earlier that same month. I also have a number of recitals planned, accompanied by an organist. But the big concert on January 26 will be something that hasn’t been presented to Croatian audiences before – a concert of greatest opera, operetta and musical numbers, jazz and pop songs. As I’ll be singing all of the numbers, we are practicing really hard now as we want it to be a spectacle.

You can follow Barbara on Instagram: www.instagram.com/barbarasuhodolcan

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Barbara, and just to tease Canadian audiences a little bit, here’s a music video from a recent recital:

For details & tickets to the NYE gala concert in Oakville, Ontario….

Svecani docek Nove 2018. godine
(Croatian New Year’s celebration)
Holy Trinity Croatian Catholic Church
2110 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, ONDoors open @ 6pm
Gourmet dinner, midnight buffet, bottle of champagne on each table
Tickets: $120 
For info & tkts, please contact: Leo 905-602-9178, Stjepan 416-436-1215 or Ivan 905-308-8038

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DONNA WISE TAKES US FOR “FLIGHTS OF FANCY” @ URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

I spent a second day surrounded by beautiful artwork, this time at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen st East, Toronto) where accomplished painter DONNA WISE (pictured below) launched her solo show, FLIGHTS OF FANCY, which runs until Dec. 30th, 2017.  20171202_135335Amid the excitement of the launch, Donna shared with me the fact that a local (and very gracious) fashion designer, Annie Thompson, reached out to her with an offer to outfit her for the launch today so here’s Donna wearing one of Annie’s outfits also called “Flight of Fancy” which perfectly matches her paintings and style (www.anniethompson.ca). Here’s Donna describing her show and talking about her inspirations….

Here are a few of the pieces gracing the gallery walls…20171129_134921 20171129_135028 20171129_134821 20171129_13494320171129_135014 20171129_135039Fine arts blogger Mark Hasan of KQEK.com stopped by for an interview with the artist (below) then enjoyed viewing her work along with the crowd of friends and family who started filing in…20171202_142548 20171202_141704A friend and long-time collector of Donna’s (below L) put the first “red dot” of the day beside one of the stunning paintings, purchasing one of my personal favourites: this delicate image of what, to me, looks like a Japanese geisha. What do you think?20171202_142520Donna’s husband (below L) posed with another family friend in front of this giant pastel hued canvas…..
20171202_141618(0)…and here are more gallery guests enjoying Donna’s work and the fine catering courtesy of www.UrbanCatering.com20171202_140427 20171202_141647 20171202_140244 20171202_140253If you can’t make it down to the gallery in person, here’s a quick virtual trip around one section of the gallery…

Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen St East, just E of Parliament, in Toronto. Visit the website for directions and gallery hours:  www.UrbanGallery.caUG-Logo-url

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STOCKYARDS GALLERY DELIVERS KNOCK-OUT SHOW WITH 3 EXCITING ARTISTS!

Last night I attended the opening reception for “East Meets West” at Stockyards Gallery owned and curated by my friend, Lola Livingston. She’s been presenting unique showcases for artists since opening a year ago and this time, she knocked it outta the ballpark.  Jean Paul Langlois, based in BC, has been charming the critics with his innovative neo-expressionist paintings incorporating images from 70’s cult films and pop culture, embellishing with bright, bold swathes of colour. I must admit I am in love with these works and only wish it wasn’t rent day yesterday as I would have grabbed my favourite (Gen’l Urko – below, left – from the original Planet of the Apes).20171201_19282520171201_200217 20171201_211946Jean Paul busied himself signing prints of his work for new fans (above). For 2 1/2hrs, gallery guests gathered around him, learning more about these exciting, vibrant paintings, the artist’s inspirations and techniques. Check out more of his work at www.jeanpaullanglois.ca20171201_195811Above, actors Bruno Verdoni (L) and Tatum Lee (R) discussed art and their upcoming film projects.

Al “Runt” Currie, who is well-known to Toronto audiences for his giant street murals on places like Lee’s Palace exterior, delivered a selection of 3D paintings (below) as well as a new series of glow-in-the-dark, black-light images…wow!   www.alrunt.com20171201_192831 20171201_192851_001 20171201_193007Recording artist and music historian Greg Godovitz (below L) was quite taken with Al’s work, posing here with the artist (2nd from L) and other friends/fans. Fingers-crossed we see some of Al’s work hanging in the legendary El Mocambo when it re-opens next spring.20171201_195828 The third artist, Darren Hyde, paints under the name Mr. Hydde and he delivered some extraordinary, detailed works of art that were reminiscent of my previous client, Johnny Deluna (Toronto’s king of pointillism-meets-surrealism). I really wanted to purchase the small orange painting (below, bottom) but friends beat me to it. Grrrrrrr…but I guess I can at least visit my painting..along with a second one they also purchased (the middle one with a big X)20171201_193552 20171201_215558Mr Hydde (above) seemed quite happy with the night’s activities, especially with all the sales!  You can find more of his work on his Facebook fan page: Facebook.com/MisterHydde

Congratulations to Lola and all three artists – there were so many sales last night I lost count of all the red dots (I think Al sold 6 or 7 pieces, a new record for Stockyards Gallery).  East Meets West runs until Jan. 2nd so I recommend you hurry down to Stockyards Gallery at 1611 Dupont Street, Toronto, to experience the art yourself.  www.stockyardsgallery.ca20171201_221336 20171201_221251 20171201_221300There was obviously an old time Hollywood movie fan there last night, buying up 2 of Jean Paul’s paintings showing Judy Garland and Desi Arnaz in costume for roles where each portrayed a native American (from Jean Paul’s “Fake Indians” series).