Recent History – 2002
March 1, 2002
By Yose Cormier, Daily News Staff
Ben Heppner has to find a place for a few pieces of hardware in his Toronto home.
The Dawson Creek native won two Grammy awards on Wednesday for his performance in the London Symphony Orchestra recording of Hector Berlioz’s rarely staged opera Les Troyens for best opera recording and best classical album.
That means Heppner has to add these two trophies to his expansive collection on his mantelpiece, one that includes an earlier Grammy, an Emmy and a Juno.
“There’s always room. It’s not as crowded as you might think. And a grouping of three sounds inviting,” said Heppner, explaining that “a few pieces and awards that I have” are on display in Ottawa.
He was also nominated for another performance, but in one of the categories he won.
“The Grammys are such a big deal. It’s a beautiful award, but these tend to favour North American products so I was surprised because the disc I won it for is almost an indi by the London Symphony Orchestra,” Heppner said while stuck in a traffic jam in Toronto yesterday.
Heppner wasn’t at the Grammys, but admits he would like to go if he is nominated again, and if he can squeeze it into his busy schedule.
“At some point it would be a lot of fun. I’ve been at the Junos and that was lots of fun. I just have to have the time to do it,” said the father of three.
Heppner is currently on a hiatus from performing, recuperating from a throat ailment that forced him to cancel an Edmonton show before Christmas. But he will be getting back to work fairly soon, with a European tour slated for the end of April and the beginning of May.
He cancelled performances of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at Royal Opera Covent Garden in London in April.
“I’ve decided that’s not the piece to start back with. It’s too difficult,” said Heppner, who is one of the world’s foremost heldentenors, a tenor with a voice large enough to tackle the heavy dramatic, usually Wagnerian roles.
Instead the trip will take him to Madrid, Rome, Paris, Manchester and Vienna before three Canadian dates and then off to London.
Heppner is trying to reschedule the Edmonton concert but so far hasn’t been able to coordinate a date with the concert hall.
“We are still working on that. I want to go back. For the Edmonton show, there was a whole busload from Dawson Creek that was supposed to come down, so it would have been great,” he said, adding his greetings to everyone in his hometown.
Heppner was named one of the world’s top 10 opera singers of the 1990 and, he’s an officer of the Order of Canada.
He won his first Grammy in 1998 for the Sir Georg Solti recording of Die Meistersinger von Nurnburg and he has recorded Lohengrin and Der fliegende Hollander. He sang his first Tristan in a much acclaimed Seattle Opera production in 1998, and then repeated it in opera houses around the world.