RCM 2017/18

The Royal Conservatory of Music announced their 2017/18 concert season last night.  There are over 100 concerts spread across just about every genre.  I think the following are likely of most interest to Operaramblings readers.

  • November 10th 8pm Koerner Hall – Barbara Hannigan with Reinbert de Leeuw in all Second Vienna School concert.  The pick of the season for me.
  • February 14th 8pm Koerner Hall – Ian Bostridge with Julian Drake in an all Schubert program.
  • April 22nd 3pm Koerner Hall – Gerald Finley with Julius Drake  with a mix of art song and British and American folksong.
  • April 6th 2018 8pm Koerner Hall – Bernstein@100; a celebration of Lenny with the ARC Ensemble, Sebastian Knauer and the lovely Wallis Giunta.

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And so, Mr. Riel…

So here is the promised review of last night at the Four Seasons Centre.  I have to phrase it that way because it was more than Somers’ opera Louis Riel though that of course was the major event.  The evening kicked off with a performance in the RBA by the Git Hayetsk Dance Group.  This is a west coast group and I’m not going to try and get into the complexities of nation, lineage and clan involved but it was a moving performance of traditional songs and dance with a brilliantly witty piece involving the trickster raven and a lot of stolen handbags. This was also the beginning of the public conversation about the use of the Nsga’a mourning song in Louis Riel.  That conversation continued when the same group made a brief appearance on the main stage immediately before the opera performance.  I understand that the intent is for the leader of the dancers to report back to the matriarch of the clan that owns the song on what happened and for the conversation to continue from there.

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Looking forward to Riel

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(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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Getting busier

We are moving into busy season for the next two or three weeks.  Next week, Tuesday sees a lunchtime recital in the RBA by Phillip Addis with song cycles by Maurice Ravel and Erik Ross.  Wednesday sees a concert staging of Salvatore Sciarrino’s The Killing Flower (Luci mie traditrici).  It tells the story of Carlos Gesualdo’s murder of his wife and lover.  Performers include Shannon Mercer, Geoffrey Sirett, Scott Belluz and Keith Klassen.  It’s at Walter Hall at 7.30pm with a pre-show with the composer at 6.30pm.  Sciarrino is involved in other events connected with the New Music Festival all week.  Thursday is opening night for the COC’s Götterdämmerung at the Four Seasons Centre with an early kick off time of 6pm.  Alternatively the TSO are doing the Fauré Requiem with Karina Gauvin and Russell Braun on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

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Music Theatre Wales’s touring production of The Killing Flower at Buxton Festival. Photograph: Clive Barda

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And now, the TSO

tso-music-director-peter-oundjian-photo-credit-sian-richardsHot on the heels of the RCM, the Toronto Symphony has announced its 2017/18 season, whih will be Peter Oundjian’s last as Music Director.  There’s lots of sesquicentennial stuff of course but here’s a summary of the interesting vocal stuff (rock and roll and other children’s music omitted).

September 27,28 and 30, 2017: Brahm’s German Requiem with Erin Wall and Russell Braun.

October 19 and 20, 2017: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Susan Platts and Michael Schade.  This is billed as a Maureen Forrester commemoration.

November 9 and 11, 2017: Jeffrey Ryan’s Afghanistan:Requiem for a Generation with Measha Brueggergosman, Alysson McHardy, Colin Ainsworth and Brett Polegato.

December 16, 19, 20, 22 and 23, 2017: Handel’s Messiah with Karina Gauvin, Kristina Szabó, Frédéric Antoun and Joshua Hopkins.

April 26 and 28, 2018: A concert performance of Bernstein’s Candide with Tracy Dahl, Judith Forst, Nicholas Phan and Richard Suart.

June 2 and 3, 2018: A concert called Water Music with Leslie Ann Bradley singing Dvorak, Schubert and Mozart.

June 28 and 29, 2018:  Peter Oundjian signs off with a Beethoven 9.  Soloists tba.

Full details here.

 

UoT Opera’s Orpheus in the Underworld

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Brittany Cann

French operetta is notoriously difficult to get right.  The genre treacherously combines a kind of humour that doesn’t always translate well in time or language, difficult music to sing and a need to be as “naughty” as the original seemed without being crass.  It’s a huge credit to Michael Patrick Albano and his student cast that they pretty much pulled off all of that last night with their new production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld.  One could nit pick details (I shall) but overall it was a well paced show with some good singing and acting and it was genuinely funny.  Unsurprisingly the audience lapped it up.  Continue reading

The week in prospect and other news

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There’s a lot on today.  Handel’s Ariodante opens at the COC at 2.30pm.  There’s also a concert featuring Russell Braun with the Amici Ensemble at 3pm in the Mazzoleni Concert Hall at the Conservatory.  The Elmer Iseler Singers and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir also have concerts.  Thursday sees the opening of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at Opera Atelier with Wallis Giunta and Chris Enns as the lovers which promises both eye and ear candy.  That’s at the Elgin at 7.30pm.  Then on Saturday there’s Singing Stars of Tomorrow, the result of a Sondra Radvanovsky intensive, at the Alliance Française at 7.30 pm.  The line up is Valerie Belanger,soprano; Stephanie De Ciantis, soprano; Natalya Gennadi, soprano; Beth Hagerman, soprano; Jessica Scarlato, soprano; Sara Schabas, soprano; Caitlin Wood, soprano; Danielle MacMillan, mezzo-soprano; Marjorie Maltais, mezzo-soprano; Asitha Tennekoon, tenor.  Quite a mix, from people I’ve never heard of to one who has already made her COC debut.

In other news, the COC and Show One Productions have announced a gala concert to take place at the Four Seasons Centre on April 25th next year.  It’s billed (modestly) as Trio Magnifico: The Ultimate Opera Gala and the big draw is the Canadian debut of Anna Netrebko.  She will appear with  her husband tenor Yusif Eyazov and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.  They will be accompanied by the COC Orchestra conducted by Jader Bignamini.  Given that Dima alone turned Koerner Hall into a frenzy of screaming Russian grannies, this could get interesting.