Adieu to Charlotte and Clarence

Each year, round about now, the COC stages a lunchtime concert or two featuring departing members of the Ensemble Studio singing music that has special meaning for them.  Yesterday we heard Clarence Frazer and Charlotte Burrage with Jennifer Szeto at the piano.

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Dido and Aeneas in Trinity College Chapel

Last night the UoT’s early Music program presented Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in the chapel at Trinity College.  It was a bit of a strange experience.  The work was semi-staged with dancers doubling Dido and Aeneas and a few extra as “chorus dancers”.  With a twelve person chorus and all the soloists plus the small band this made for a lot of people in the space.  Trinity College Chapel is long, narrow and high with traditional pew seating and a minimally raised platform for the altar.  All of which meant that only the first few rows and , maybe, people on the aisle had much of a view of anything.

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The Harnoncourt show

Unusually, the Theater and der Wien’s 2011 production of Handel’s Rodelinda features a father and son team.  Philipp Harnoncourt directs and Nikolaus conducts.  It’s an interesting production with great acting, very decent singing and the always excellent Concentus Musicus Wien in the pit. 1.wardrobe Continue reading

Future ROH broadcasts at the Bloor

mahagonnyFollowing on from yesterday’s Der fliegende Holländer showing at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema I followed up with them about future plans for the ROH opera broadcasts.  Here’s the scoop though dates may change.

June 28th.  Brecht/Weill The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.  This is a new production by John Fulljames with Mark Wrigglesworth conducting.  The cast includes Anne-Sofie von Otter, Willard White and Christine Rice.  It’s going to be sung in English.

July 26th.  Puccini La Bohème.  It’s the old John Copley production dating from 1975 (which in turn replaced an 1896 production) and it was intended to be “traditional” and it is!  Joseph Calleja and Anna Netrebko headline with Dan Ettinger conducting.

August 30th.  Rossini Guillaume Tell.  This is another new production , this time by Damiano Michieletto.  Gerry Finley sings the title role with Malin Byström as Mathilde.  Antonio Pappano conducts.

So, some decent fillers for the traditionally quiet summer season.

The Flying Welshman

BrynAdrianneThe Royal Opera House production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer finally made it to Toronto yesterday with a showing of the film at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.  There areva couple of Toronto connections.  The production was created by Tim Albery, although Daniel Dooner directs this revival, and the Senta is sung by Adrianne Pieczonka who was present with her family and introduced the film.  The Dutchman, of course, is played by hulking Welshman Bryn Terfel who wasn’t there.  He was probably crying into his beer somewhere at Wales coming up short in the Six Nations. Continue reading

Turning the Tables

Not Alfred Hitchcock

Not Alfred Hitchcock

Last night’s Tap:Ex Tables Turned lived up to the hype.  It was a pretty incredible experience but extremely difficult to describe.  The first half consisted of Nicole Lizée’s reprocessed clips from classic films (The Shining, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Birds, The Graduate and, of course, The Sound of Music but there were others).  It was mostly short loop stuff; for example, the ball bouncing scene from TSoM over and over again.  Beside the sound from the film there was live accompaniment from Ben Reimer on a variety of tuned percussion instruments and Carla Huhtanen with a variety of vocal effects and weirdly disturbing acting, helped along by the fact that she does look a bit like Julie Andrews, especially exploding Julie Andrews.  I think there may have been more electronics from Nicole in the mix too.  It was weird and fascinating and very enjoyable.

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