Season announcements

adrianluciaBy an odd coincidence two season announcement pressers hit my in box today; Toronto Operetta Theatre and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.  Toronto Operetta Theatre have four shows:

  • The Waltz Rivals (November 6th at 3pm) is a Léhar and Kálmán greatest hits show featuring Lucia Cesaroni, Adrian Kramer, Holly Chaplin, Stefan Fehr and Greg Finney with Michael Rose at the piano.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance runs from December 27th to January 8th, 2017.  Colin Ainsworth sings Frederic, Vania Chan is Mabel and Curtis Sullivan is the Major General.  Derek Bate conducts and Guillermo Silva-Marin directs.
  • Oscar Straus’ The Chocolate Soldier, based on George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man, runs on April 26th, 28th, 29th and 30th, 2017. Peter Tiefenbach leads the orchestra and the cast includes Jennifer Taverner, Anna Macdonald, Michael Nyby and Stefan Fehr.
  • Finally there’s an Offenbach tribute concert on June 4th 2017.

All performances are at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.

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The Romans, being wanton, worship chastity

Continuing my struggle with Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia I got hold of the Blu-ray recording of Fiona Shaw’s 2015 Glyndebourne production.  I’m beginning, I think, to see my way to understanding the problems inherent in the libretto and some of the strategies that can be used to overcome them.  The more minor problem is Junius and the odd scene early in Act 2 where he seems to be inciting the Romans to revolt while acting as a general in Tarquinius’ army while, also, apparently, been in some sense complicit in the rape.  So we have a two faced power hungry schemer who is oblivious to the consequences of his mischief making; whether rape or rabble rousing (a sort of Roman Boris Johnson).  Most productions ignore this aspect of things and probably rightly.

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The Rake at 35

David Hockney and John Cox’s production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress first saw the light of day at Glyndebourne in 1975 and there’s a video of it from back then.  It’s been revived umpteen times since, all with Cox directing rather than an overawed revival director.  It was done again in 2010, with Vladimir Jurowski conducting, recorded and issued on Blu-ray and DVD.  It’s fascinating.

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The Met’s Maria Stuarda on DVD

Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda featured in the MetHD series in January 2013 and has now been released on DVD.  My review of the cinema broadcast is here.  It’s always a bit different watching the DVD rather than the cinema version but in this case I think my somewhat different reaction has a lot to do with having recently seen various versions of the other Schiller/Donizetti Tudor queen operas, especially Stephen Lawless’ Roberto Devereux at the COC.

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The Flying Welshman

BrynAdrianneThe Royal Opera House production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer finally made it to Toronto yesterday with a showing of the film at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.  There areva couple of Toronto connections.  The production was created by Tim Albery, although Daniel Dooner directs this revival, and the Senta is sung by Adrianne Pieczonka who was present with her family and introduced the film.  The Dutchman, of course, is played by hulking Welshman Bryn Terfel who wasn’t there.  He was probably crying into his beer somewhere at Wales coming up short in the Six Nations. Continue reading

When the Sun Comes Out

tkIt’s World Pride Week in Toronto and as far as I know Tamar Iveri isn’t in town.  What is, is the Toronto premier of When the Sun Comes Out by Leslie Uyeda and Rachel Rose presented by Queer Innovative Theatre; a group of LGBTTIQQ2SA (WTF BBQ!) performers.  Unsurprisingly the piece treats of same sex relationships.  It’s a love triangle with a twist.  Solana (Teiya Kasahara) is a foot loose wandering lesbian who has fallen in love with a married woman, Lilah (Stephanie Yelovich) who, unfortunately, lives in a dystopia where same sex relationships are a capital offence.  Their relationship, and their lives, are threatened by Lilah’s jealous husband Javan (Keith Lam).  But he too has a secret in his past.  They also have a daughter who neither will give up making simple resolution of the relationship issues impossible.

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First, the sound quality

The MetHD broadcast of Strauss’ Capriccio has been issued on Blu-ray.  I enjoyed the original broadcast but found watching it again on disk rather unsatisfying.  The main problem is the production.  It’s a John Cox effort from 1998.  The period is updated from ancien régime France to just after WW1, apparently to make the people more contemporary while allowing an opulent, old style Met “all the things” production.  Peter McClintock’s direction of the revival emphasizes the most obvious comedy (the ballerina falling over with her legs in the air, for example) while doing little or nothing to bring out the sheer cleverness of this opera, about an opera, within an opera.  It all seems very heavy handed, in fact the word that popped into my head several times was “vulgar”.

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