Yesterday I finally managed to do something bike related in conjunction with Bicycle Opera Project’s current tour of Sweat. I got an early train out to Aldershot, biked to Hamilton and joined up with the bike tour of historic Hamilton organised by the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre to complement the opera, before seeing the afternoon performance of Sweat at WAHC. I’ll add some bikey/historical observations at the end but since this is an opera blog let’s cut to the chase.
The Toronto Summer Music Festival continued last night with a one off performance of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at The Winter Gardens, the upstairs part of the Elgin Theatre that I had never before been in. The production originated in a Banff Centre/Against the Grain/COC joint project directed by Paul Curran but was recreated here in semi-staged form by Anna Theodosakis. It was on the “quite close to staged” end of the spectrum so, although the band was on stage behind the action and there was no scenery or curtain it came off as much more than a concert in costume.
Last night saw the latest evolution of the COC’s Ensemble Studio competition; a competition for cash prizes functioning as well as final auditions for next year’s Ensemble Studio. This year, for the first time, it was packaged as Centre Stage; a gala event featuring a cocktail reception and black tie dinner as well as the competition itself. Added to that, the singers got to perform with the COC orchestra under Johannes Debus on the main stage rather than in the RBA with piano accompaniment.