I was talking to Leslie Barcza of barczablog at a concert yesterday. He asked me what I was most looking forward to in the upcoming season and I was a bit stumped for an answer because there’s lots of good stuff in Toronto this season but nothing that really sets my pulse racing. Finally I answered with the TSO’s Dream of Gerontius, which, it turns out, is not exactly high on Lesley’s bucket list. This led to a brief discussion about how origins affect our reactions; that is until the actual concert interrupted our talk.
Leslie, as you might suppose from his name, has Magyar roots whereas mine are very English, indeed Anglican. There’s a special place in my musical universe for Anglican church music, Purcell, Britten and, yes, even Elgar. And today I’m realising just how integral to that tradition Handel’s oratorios are. I’m watching Luc Bondy’s production of Hercules and I’m reacting in just the same way I did to Peter Sellars’ production seen here last season. I just can’t see how anyone could find this music boring. It’s really messing with my head, as in I’m an emotional wreck and I’ve only made it through Act 1 thus far. Sellars’ Theodora does the same thing to me. Very little non English music does. I thoroughly enjoy it, am even moved by it, but rarely does it wreck me (OK so Strauss and Mozart occasionally maybe).
Proper reviews of yesterdays concert and Bondy’s Hercules will follow in due course.