Signal boosting

charlotte-poster-dots-600I didn’t actually see anything much in the Luminato line up that got my juices flowing but my attention has now been drawn to CHARLOTTE: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music.  It’s a Singspiel about a young female Jewish artist struggling with her identity and art during the early 1940s.  She ends up in Auschwitz.  You get the picture.  The title role is being played by Adanya Dunn and the musical director is Peter Tiefenbach which, frankly, are reasons enough to go see it.  It plays June 16th to 18th at the Theatre Centre on Queen Street West.  More details here.

On a completely different tack, Jane Cooper is trying to raise funds to publish her biography of Bertha Crawford, a Canadian soprano who enjoyed a very successful operatic career in Poland and Russia in the early 20th century but who has been largely forgotten.  You can find out more at Jane’s Kickstarter page.

A haunt of demons now

I suppose it’s appropriate that R Murray Shafer’s Apocalypsis should be in part based on the Revelations of St. John.  Is Revelations divinely inspired genius or the drug addled ravings of a half starved monk?  I find myself asking similar questions about Shafer’s massive stage piece.

Apocalypsis at Luminato Festival. Photo by Bruce Zinger. 31545 Continue reading

Rehearsing the Apocalypse

R. Murray Shafer’s 1980 “musical pageant”, Apocalypsis, is being restaged this year by Luminato.  It’s currently in rehearsal and yestrday I got to see part of a staging rehearsal.  It’s an unusual work requiring massive forces (500-1000 performers depending who you read) and combines spoken word, dance, singing and other things I’m not sure I have the vocabulary for.  Oh, and yes, it depicts the end of the world!  It’s big, loud, exciting and a bit mad.  Part ego trip, part acid trip perhaps?

Continue reading

It’s that time of year

atg_dandd_webposter_revisedIt’s that time of year when the musical calendar kind of grinds almost to a halt in Toronto.  Looking ahead to June there’s not a whole lot on offer, at least in the opera/choral/artsong departments.  The big event is Against the Grain’s Death and Desire show, of which I saw the first half previewed in the RBA.  It’s on at the Neubacher Shor Gallery (Queen and Dufferin) on June 2nd to 5th at 8pm.  Tickets are going fast so if you plan to go, head here soon. There’s a Mahler 2nd (Resurrection) Symphony at the TSO on June 10th (8pm) and 12th(7.30pm).  Erin Wall, Susan Platts and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir will join the orchestra with Peter Oudjian conducting. Then it’s Luminato.  The big deal for opera fans here is R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis.  David Fallis will direct what sounds like a Cecil B. DeMille scale extravaganza.  It’s at the Sony Centre on June 26th and 27th (8pm) and the 28th (2pm).  At your own risk…