Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation

Last night’s TSO program started off with a sort of Remembrance Day pot pourri; pipes, bugles, a bit of poetry, an excerpt of Vaughan Williams in between and finally a rather beautiful account of The Lark Ascending with Jonathan Crow playing the solo from high up in the Gallery.  Once upon a time the TSO would do Remembrance Day by performing an appropriate work or works, Britten’s War Requiem for example.  I think that might actually be a more effective way of remembering.

Jonathan Crow_The Lark Ascending (@Jag Gundu)

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Singing Stars: The Next Generation

Last night saw the culminating concert of the IRCPA’s Encounter program.  It wasn’t exactly a competition as the winner of the Career Blueprint Award had already been decided but not announced.  Still, it had the air of a competition with ten singers each offering an aria accompanied by the ubiquitous Rachel Andrist.  It was also being broadcast live on 96.3FM so we got the full on Zoomerplex treatment which is not far short of having flashing signs that say “Applaud Now!!”  It’s the price one pays for getting young singers media exposure I guess.

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Best shot I could get. Most of the singers are visible.

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On the radar

hoover_scruff_fight copyComing up this next week.  Tomorrow Toronto Operetta Theatre are performing Calixa Lavallée’s The Widow.  He’s the dude who wrote the music for O Canada! so no idea what to expect.  It’s at the Jane Mallett Theatre at 3pm.  Monday at 7pm at the Zoomerplex is the IRCPA Singing Stars of Tomorrow concert.  My interview with Brett Polegato about it is here.  And this is the link for ticket purchase.

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Encounter with Brett Polegato

modalAs previously noted the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is once again running its program for young professional singers in Toronto.  The program is in two parts.  There was an “Encounter” (career workshop) with Brett Polegato on October 20th and there will be a concert at 7pm on November 6th at the Zoomerplex which will be broadcast by Classical 96.3.  Yesterday I spent some time talking with Brett about the program, its rewards and challenges and, inevitably, we drifted off into some broader issues about careers in the opera world.

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Singing Stars: The Next Generation

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is running its Encounter program again this year.  10 young singers will get an all day career workshop with Brett Polegato on October 20th and there will be a concert on November 6th at Zoomer Hall (Liberty Village) at 7.30pm with Rachel Andrist accompanying.  One singer will be selected by Brett to receive a Career Blueprint Award.

Information on how to participate, how to sponsor a singer and tickets for the concert is available at  www.ircpa.net

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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.

 

Le travail du peintre

Yesterday’s concert in the Songmasters Series at Mazzoleni Hall featured Mireille Asselin and Brett Polegato with Peter Tiefenbach and Rachel Andrist in a program of songs more or less related to painting and painters.  The first half of the program was all French; Fauré and Debussy.  Mireille and Peter gave us two songs from Fauré’s Cinq mélodies de Venise plus three pieces from Debussy’s Fêtes galantes and Pantomime from Quatre chansons de jeunesse.  I thought the Debussy generally suited Mireille’s voice rather better than the Fauré.  The first three songs were beautifully and charmingly sung while Pantomime gave full rein to Mireille’s considerable comedic talents.  The highlight of the first half for me though was Brett’s singing of the Poulenc work that gave the concert its title.  Seven songs by Paul Eluard; each a brief portrait of a painter.  Written at the same time as Dialogues des Carmélites, these pieces have the same sort of intensity and drive (and decided non trivial piano parts!).  They were most expertly sung with fine diction and legato and a keen sense of the varied moods of each piece.

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