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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La Cecchina

Niccolò Piccinni’s La Cecchina or La buona figliuola is an opera buffa in two acts written for the Teatro delle Dame in Rome where it premiered in 1760.  The libretto is by Carlo Goldini and, while said to have been inspired by Richardson’s Pamela, is actually a fairly straightforward masters and servants story of a similar nature to Pergolesi’s La serva padrona or even Mozart’s La finta giardinera; all, of course, firmly rooted in the conventions of the commedia dell’arte.  Being written for Rome it was, originally, played by an all male cast.  Last night at Koerner Hall the Glenn Gould School Opera presented it with female singers in the high roles.

Photo: Nicola Betts

Kendra Dyck as Sandrina and Asitha Tennekoon as the Marchese

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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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Cendrillon in Viardot’s salon

The Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music opened a two performance run of Viardot’s Cendrillon last night at Mazzoleni Hall.  The conceit was that we and the performers were all guests in Mme, Viardot’s salon and to this end we were all given a slip of paper with our character name on it but I promptly lost mine and it wasn’t actually needed for anything,  Cute idea though.  It also allowed for a production that fitted with the acutely limited staging resources of Mazzoleni.  The piece is heavy on dialogue and it was presented in English, in an updated translation that had its moments.  I doubt the Viardot household had ever heard of “organic, non GMO, fair trade” coffee.

Photo: Nicola Betts

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Underdone Alcina

There’s not that much Handel on offer in Toronto so it seems really rather odd that Alcina should get two productions within eighteen months.  The attraction of the piece for Opera Atelier was obvious.  It’s Handel’s only opera that incorporates dance.  Why the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory should think it’s a good choice for a student production is less clear.  Dance aside, it’s classic Handel; written for an audience who expected great virtuosity from the star singers (in this case Giovanni Carestini and Anna Maria Strada) plus the very latest in analogue SFX.  Neither of these could reasonably be expected at Koerner Hall.

Photo: Nicola Betts

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The week in prospect

alcina_365sqBack to relative quiet!  The main event in the coming week is the GGS spring production.  They are doing Handel’s Alcina.  The cast includes Meghan Jamieson, Irina Medvedeva, Christina Campsall, Lillian Brooks, Joanna Burt, Asitha Tennekoon and Keith Lam.  Leon Major directs and Ivars Taurins conducts.  The publicity material suggests a 1920s setting.  Anyway it’s at Koerner Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday and Friday.

There are a couple of kid friendly March break concerts in the RBA.  Tuesday sees what seems to have become an annual event; Kyra Millan’s Opera Interactive.  This year she is joined by Tina Faye and Charles Sy.  Then on Thursday Cawthra Park Chamber Choir and conductor Bob Anderson, one of the GTA’s leading school choirs, present various choral traditions and styles from the Renaissance to contemporary Canadian works.  Charles Sy, a Cawthra Park alumnus also features in this one.  Both at noon of course.

Then at the  Newmarket Theatre on Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm opera Luminata are performing.  This is a rather odd spectacular thing with taped orchestra and pyrotechnics.  I haven’t seen them but they got a rather more positive reception than I expected last time around.  www.operaluminata.com for details.

GGS Vocal Showcase

campsallThe Glenn Gould School Vocal Showcase at Mazzoleni Hall last night was a chance to see twenty of the school’s singers in action.  It was a curious mix actually; one bass, one baritone, a handful of tenors and mezzos and a lot of sopranos.  There was a huge range of age and experience too from 18 year old first years to quite seasoned post-grads.  As usual with these things I’m not going to attempt to be comprehensive but instead focus on the highlights as I saw them. Continue reading