Last night’s late, late concert at the Conservatory was basically a preview of Bicycle Opera Project’s 2015 season. It’s a bit hard to say what the final show will be like as we got mainly excerpts last night and it just feels really different to be in a formal concert hall compared with the usual venues for BOP.
Things kicked off with Chris Thornborrow’s Ride of the Bicycle Bells; BOP’s first commission. Yes, it’s scored for bike bells and it’s really quite witty and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Then we got a throwback to last season in Ivan Barbotin and Liza Balkan’s (What rhymes with) Azimuth? before moving into excerpts from this year’s show Shadow Box.
I guess the most anticipated piece here was The Dreaming Duet from Dean Burry and Lorna MacDonald’s The Bells of Baddeck; a piece about Alexander Graham Bell and his wife getting infatuated with Cape Breton and things kilty. With a subject like that the danger is always going to be that it will get a bit saccharine and on last night’s evidence I’d say that’s a very real risk. Still there are weeks of workshopping ahead where it could be dealt with.
The other works presented included James Rolfe and David Yee’s The Blind Woman and Cecilia Livingston and Nicholas Billon’s The Yellow Wallpaper. Both of these are products of the Tapestry LibLab and work well enough as short, stand alone pieces. And, of course, things wrapped up with Tobin Stokes’ punfest Bianchi.
The performances were to the usual high standard. Alexander Dobson and Graham Thomson were subbed in effectively for Geoff Sirett and Chris Enns who will feature on tour. The latter managed a rather remarkable somersault in Bianchi, perilously close to the lip of the stage. The ladies; Larissa Koniuk and Stephanie Tritchew, were their usual excellent selfs.
It was a fun show but I’m struggling to get a picture in my mind of what it will look like as a continuous narrative to, at least, “through themed”. How much of that was the show last night and how much that my brain really doesn’t function that late at night I’m not sure.