Osborne and Haji

SONY DSCYesterday’s free lunchtime concert should have been the first opportunity to see Simone Osborne and Gordon Bintner in recital together but, sadly, Gordon had the lurgy so, if you want to see them perform together you will just have to go and see L’elisir d’amore at the COC.  Fortunately Andrew Haji was able to jump in at short notice.  Not such a bad guy to have on the bench!

Andrew started out with Santoliquido’s I canti della sera.  I had heard him sing these before at Mazzoleni but it was good to hear them again.  Genuine Italian art song isn’t all that common and these show the voice off nicely.  There was both some lovely limpid singing and plenty of power when needed.  He’s a pretty good story teller too.  He also gave us the three Duparc songs that he and Liz Upchurch, once again at the piano,  gave us earlier in the year.  Again the standout was Le manoir de Rosemonde, a most beautiful and haunting song given the full treatment here.

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A Tribute to Maureen Forrester

Last night’s TSO concert was billed as a Tribute to Maureen Forrester with Ben Heppner MCing.  Inevitably the main even was Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde but first there was a sesquie and the premiere of a new piece; L’Aube, for mezzo and orchestra by Howard Shore (he of Lord of the Rings etc).  This was a setting of five poems by Elizabeth Cotnoir. It was retro, lush, tonal and, in a sense, well crafted but with very little variation between the movements, all of which were very slow.  Susan Platts rich mezzo added to the rather soporific effect. Call me an unreformed modernist if you like but I’m really not sure what a piece like this adds to the symphonic repertoire.

Susan Platts, Peter Oundjian (@Jag Gundu)

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A crazy week

MusikfurdasEnde-v1It’s a bit of a crazy week coming up.  On Monday at 8pm there’s the first in a series of young artists concerts presented by Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu and Yamaha Canada.  This one features pianist Cindy Liu in an all Prokofiev program.  It’s at Rosemarie’s atelier at 310 Davenport Road and tickets are $20 ($10 student).

Tuesday is a double header with Erin Wall performing at noon in the RBA in a program of Korngold, Debussy and Duparc.  Then at 5.30pm at the Canadian Music Centre there’s a CD launch concert for Sing Me at Midnight; the latest recording from CASP featuring songs by John Greer.  Both these events are free.

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Back to the future with the Toronto Consort

Fantasticus-Website-Image.jpgThe Toronto Consort has recently announced leadership changes concomitant on David Fallis stepping back his involvement as Artistic Director.  I have to admit that although I’ve attended and enjoyed Toronto Consort shows from time to time I’ve been a bit hazy about what they were about so it seemed like a good time to put that right.  Yesterday I set down with David Fallis and Laura Pudwell to talk about the Toronto Consort; past, present and, especially, future.

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COC 2016/17

AlexanderNeefThe Canadian Opera Company released its annual report and accounts for 2016/17 last night.  The big news was the extension of General Director Alexander Neef’s tenure to the end of the 2025/26 season.  The financial news was basically “same old same old”.  Ticket sales once again showed a small decline which was compensated for by record fundraising performance to yield, essentially, a break even.

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Four seasons in one day

erinwallAnd that wasn’t just the weather that went from balmy to barmy round about verse five of Fauré’s Dans le forêt de Septembre as a cold front hit Mazzoleni Hall with, literally, a bang.  Meanwhile the sheltered audience was being treated to a skilfully curated program of art song on the theme of the four seasons sung by Erin Wall and Asitha Tennekoon with Rachel Andrist and Robert Kortgaard at the piano.  There were French chansons, German lieder and English songs with a decent injection of CanCon, with Derek Holman, John Greer, Jean Coulthard and Matthew Emery all represented.

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Modern Ruin

There’s always something a bit new and different from Against the Grain Theatre and often it’s a pleasant surprise.  So I was prepared to take a punt on a collaboration between them and “baroque-pop” artist Kyrie Kristmanson around the launch of her new CD Modern Ruin.

modernruin

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