A few additions

centurysongThere are a few things I didn’t mention in my back half of April post.  Century Song opened a couple of nights ago at Crow’s Theatre.  It’s a live performance hybrid, inspired in part by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, Soprano Neema Bickersteth melds classical song (music by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Oliver Messiaen, John Cage, Georges Aperghis and Reza Jacobs) and movement to inhabit a century of women whose identities are contained within a single performer.  Details here.

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Season announcements

Bicycle Opera Project and Toronto Masque Theatre have announced plans for their upcoming seasons.  BOP will be touring Juliet Palmer and Anna Chatterton’s Sweat across Ontario in July and August (details in May).  It’s a work about sweatshop labour in the garment industry and is scored for nine voices and no instruments.  Sweat will be directed by Banuta Rubess, conducted by Geoffrey Sirett and designed by Sonja Rainey. The cast includes: Catherine Daniel, Caitlin Wood, Stephanie Tritchew, Christopher Enns, Larissa Koniuk, Justine Owens, Emma Char, Alexandra Beley and Cindy Won.  For more information, visit bicycleopera.com

sweat

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News and announcements

cherryblossomHere’s a round up of news and announcements from my mail box.

April 8th, at Roy Thomson Hall at 8pm, Show One productions have a show with the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, soprano Hibla Gerzmava and cellist Daniella Akta in a varied program including Mozart’s Divertimento No.1 in D major, K. 136, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in C minor Op. 110 and arias from Norma, I Masnadieri, and Adriana Lecouvreur.

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The rest of April

tapestrybcMarch was a curiously quiet month.  April starts to look busier, at least once we get past Easter.  Tonight, Against the Grain have their monthly pub night at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club.  Snow is forecast so you should all stay away and then maybe I’ll be able to get in.  On Saturday at 4pm there’s a free (or PWYC) recital in Ernest Baumer Studio featuring soprano Stephanie Nakagawa and pianist Peemanat Kittimontreechai.  They will be performing arias from contemporary Canadian operas.  On Thursday 13th Philippe Jaroussky and Les Violins du Roy will be appearing at Koerner Hall.  It’s at 8pm and features mainly fairly obscure Handel material.

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Looking forward to Riel

rielrehearsal

(left to right) Russell Braun as Louis Riel, Jani Lauzon as the Prison Guard, Allyson McHardy as Julie Riel and director Peter Hinton rehearsing Act III, scene v – Photo by Tanner Davies for the COC

Harry Somers’ Louis Riel was written to “celebrate” Canada’s 100th birthday and was performed at the COC in 1967 and 1968 and was given a studio TV broadcast treatment on the CBC in 1969.  Eventually that broadcast made it onto DVD and I reviewed it about four years ago.  The COC is now reviving it for Canada’s 150th in a new production by Peter Hinton, a director noted for his stage work with native artists and native themes.  Yesterday I spent an hour at the COC watching a working rehearsal of one of the scenes and this morning I took another look at the DVD.

I had hoped to be able to offer some real insights into what one might expect to see when this production opens on April 20th but, to be perfectly honest, the deeper I dig the less certain I become about anything to do with it.  I know that Hinton and the COC are taking enormous pains to recreate the work in a way that’s sensitive to 2017 and the different way that, we hope or aspire to, treat Canada’s original peoples (some of us do anyway).  But what a challenge it seems to be.  Let me try and explore some themes though you will find few conclusions.

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Dark Star Requiem

darkstarAn email just in from Tapestry informs me that:

Dark Star Requiem by Andrew Staniland and Jill Battson has been nominated for TWO JUNO Awards! Produced by Tapestry in the 2010 Luminato Festival, it is up for Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance (for Tapestry Opera, the Gryphon Trio, and the Elmer Iseler Singers), and for Classical Composition of the Year (for Andrew Staniland)! Congrats to all involved in this landmark recording!

I’d echo that.  Here’s the review that I wrote that appeared in a recent edition of Opera Canada. Continue reading

News, news, news

nataly gennadiThis just in.  Ukrainian Canadian soprano Natalya Gennadi will replace Ambur Braid in the title role in Tapestry’s Oksana G.  I should have seen that coming as I know that Ambur is singing in a Krenek’s The Secret Kingdom at Oper Frankfurt until May 21st and Oksana G. opens on the 24th!  I’ve only seen Ms. Gennadi sing once but she was impressive and she’s a protégée of Sondra Radvanovsky.

Sadder, Talisker Players are shutting up shop at the end of the season after eighteen years.  Likely another example of there only being so long any one person or team can keep up the funding grind.  Talisker’s concerts were an often interesting mix of music and related readings and no-one else really operates in that niche.