Canadian Art Song Project has just issued its second CD; Cloud Light. It’s a collection of four contrasting works by Polish-Canadian composer Norbert Palej. The first, Three Norwegian Songs (2011) was composed for baritone Peter McGillivray, who sings them here. The settings are of English translations of Norwegian texts. Maybe it’s because the texts are translations or maybe because this seems the most American/Broadway inflected piece on the disk I found it the least effective but, as we shall see, it has serious competition. In any event Peter sings it very well even when it goes cruelly high. Continue reading
For those of you who won’t be glued to the underwater cycling at the Pan-Am games there is actually music on in Toronto over the summer. The tenth Toronto Summer Music Festival features a wide range of events in many genres. The ones likely to be of most interest to AR readers follow.
Upcoming gigs that haven’t made it onto the page here yet include Tapestry Songbook V which will include highlights from works such as: The Perfect Screw (Abigail Richardson/Alexis Diamond), a cheeky comedy about a woman in search of the perfect screw—a Robertson or a Philips; The Shadow (Omar Daniel/Alex Poch-Goldin), a melodrama where a mailman disguises himself as a suave bachelor at the turn of 20th century Barcelona; In this World, George is Heartbroken (Lembit Beecher/Hannah Moscovitch), a psychological exploration of the demented imagination of a middle aged couple paralyzed in routine; and Noor over Afghan (Christiaan Venter/Anusree Roy), a story of a woman who, upon discovering her terminal illness, begs her sister to take her place at the altar as she flees on her own wedding day. The performers will be (now fully bipedal) baritone Peter McGillivray and pianist Stephen Philcox. It’s at 8pm at the Ernest Blamer Studio and the $24 tickets include a reception afterwards. The snag? The COC’s Don Giovanni opens that evening.
Also coming up is The Whisper Opera, a Soundstreams presenetation in partnership with New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). The venue, The Theatre Centre at 1115 Queen Street West only seats 52 and there are only six performances and we are promised it will never be recorded or done on a bigger scale. Sounds intriguing. Anyway, right now, the first three performances are being discounted 40% (regular $57.50 – do the math) from the Royal Conservatory Box Office using promo code LISTEN. Good until January 16th.
More details have been announced on Tapestry Opera’s season. This week sees Tapestry Briefs: Booster Shots; previously previewed here. January 24th, 2015 sees Tapestry Songbook V with baritone Peter McGillivray and young Canadian singers in concert performing the beautiful and absurd repertoire from Tapestry’s 35 year old Canadian collection.
Toronto Operetta Theatre and Toronto Masque Theatre have announced their respective 2014/15 season line ups. TOT will present three shows. The first is a zarzuela; Federico Chueca’s La gran via. Jose Hernandez conducts and the cast includes Margie Bernal, Fabian Arciniegas, Pablo Benitez and Diego Catala. There’s one performance on November 2nd. The Christmas show will be Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Singers include Lucia Cesaroni, Mia Lennox, David Ludwig and Giles Tomkins with Derek Bate conducting. There are six performances scheduled between December 27th and January 4th. Finally, and perhaps most exciting, is a revival of Victor Davies’ 2008 piece Ernest, the Importance of Being. It’s based on the Wilde play and will star Jean Stilwell as Lady Bracknell. Larry Beckwith conducts. There will be four performances on April 29th and May 1st to 3rd. All three shows will be directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin and will be staged at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. (www.stlc.com)
Toronto Summer Music will run from July 22 to August 12. There’s a wide variety of programming but the highlights for opera and song fans are as follows:
Sondra Radvanovsky is in concert on Thursday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. at Koerner Hall. The programme is “favourite Italian opera arias”.. Whether it’s orchestral or piano accompaniment I don’t know.
Christopher Maltman accompanied by Graham Johnson will be at Walter Hall on Wednesday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m.with a programme titled The Soldier: From Severn to Somme which will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. It will include songs by Mahler, Mussorgsky, Butterworth, Ives, Finzi and Poulenc.
On Thursday, August 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Walter Hall, Peter McGillivray and pianist David Louie will join TSO principals Jonathan Crow and Etsuko Kimura (violin), Eric Nowlin (viola), David Hetherington (cello) and Yao Guang Zhai (clarinet) to perform a Viennese programme featuring Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer and Waltzes by Strauss, all in arrangements by Schoenberg and Berg.
The annual TSM Academy Art of Song Recitals will take place on Friday, August 8th (my birthday, send cake) at 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. at Walter Hall. These are the showcase recitals for the 12 young singers who were awarded TSM Academy scholarships and who will have prepared with French baritone François Le Roux and pianist Graham Johnson. Naturally, no programming has yet been announced.
Festival, Weekly and Flex passes ($202 -$592) are on sale as of April 3, 2014. Individual concert tickets ($20 to $99) will be on sale as of April 17, 2014. To purchase festival passes and single tickets visit www.torontosummermusic.com , call 416-408-0208 or visit the Weston Family Box Office at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Tapestry Briefs is the product of the Composer-Librettist Workshop run annually by Tapestry. Four composers and four librettists come up with sixteen ideas for a new opera and work up a scene from each. Last night twelve scenes from the most recent workshop were presented in a fully staged format with piano accompaniment in Ernest Balmer Studio and adjacent Distillery spaces. The quartet of singers for the evening was made up of some of Toronto’s top singer/actors; Carla Huhtanen, Krisztina Szabó, Keith Klassen and Peter McGillivray. Piano accompaniment was from Gregory Oh and Jennifer Tung.